Time to satisfy your sweettooth with delectable summer desserts. The sweetest fruits are in season so it’s only natural to peruse them to make the most decadent and colorful combinations. Here are a few of our favorites:
1 cup finely ground graham crackers (5 ounces; about 8 sheets)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 ounces raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
Boiling water, for roasting pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap exterior of a 9-inch springform pan (including base) in a double layer of foil; set aside.
Stir together cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Process raspberries in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pass puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar, and set aside.
Put cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a slow, steady stream. Add salt and vanilla; mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing each until just combined (do not overmix). Pour cream cheese filling over crust.
Drop raspberry sauce by the teaspoon on top. With a wooden skewer or toothpick, swirl sauce into filling.
Set cake pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 65 minutes.
Transfer cake pan to rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around edge of cake
4 cups sliced strawberries, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup amaretti cookie crumbs (about 8 cookies)
1/2 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
Place 2 cups of strawberry slices and granulated sugar in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Set strawberry puree aside.
Combine ricotta and next 4 ingredients (ricotta through vanilla) in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk. Spoon 2 tablespoons cookie crumbs into each of 4 parfait glasses. Top each portion with 2 tablespoons strawberry puree, 1/4 cup strawberry slices, and 3 tablespoons ricotta mixture; repeat the layers. Drizzle the remaining strawberry puree over each serving. Chill for 2 hours. Top each parfait with 2 tablespoons whipped topping and 1 1/2 teaspoons almonds.
Cherry Topped Ice Cream Cake:
For chocolate sauce
2/3 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces imported milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For ice cream cake
3 pints cherry or cherry-vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
3 cups coarsely crushed amaretti cookies (about 9 ounces) or almond macaroons
Make chocolate sauce:
Heat 2/3 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; let stand 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate melts and sauce is smooth. Mix in vanilla extract. Cool sauce to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Make ice cream cake:
Line bottom of 9 x 5 x 2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on long sides. Using back of spoon, spread 1 pint ice cream over bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup cookie crumbs. Spread another 1 pint ice cream over cookie crumbs. Freeze until ice cream is firm, about 20 minutes. Spread with 3/4 cup sauce; freeze 20 minutes. Spread with remaining 1 pint ice cream; sprinkle with 1 cup cookie crumbs, pressing crumbs into ice cream to adhere. Cover pan and freeze ice cream cake until very firm, at least 4 hours. (Can be prepared 5 days ahead. Keep cake frozen. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce. Store remaining 1 cup crumbs airtight at room temperature.)
Stir remaining sauce in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until warmed through; pour into small pitcher or bowl. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto platter. Peel off parchment. Sprinkle top of cake with remaining 1 cup crumbs.
Cut cake crosswise into slices. Serve immediately with warm sauce.