Festive and Fresh Fourth of July Desserts

It’s time to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day! We certainly have no trouble finding plenty of red, white and blue decorations for our picnics and barbeques. Why not decorate with what’s on the menu, too? During the summer there are so many fresh berries and fruit that almost beg to be part of your table on the Fourth of July.

These recipes shared here are not only festive in color, they’re fresh and even refreshing! Take advantage of all the delicious fruit we have available to us this season.

Read the full article and so much more in our upcoming July issue. Look for it soon on stands around town!

Raspberry Sherbet with Blueberry Compote
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon freshly chopped mint leaves

For the compote:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 or 3 mint leaves
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Wash the raspberries then place them in a blender or food processor. Puree the raspberries then press through a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth over a large clean bowl to remove the seeds. Discard the seeds. You should have about a cup of raspberry puree left. Whisk in the sugar, milk, half and half and mint until blended.

If you have an ice cream machine, pour the raspberry, sugar and cream mixture into the machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on your machine, you may need to freeze the sherbet awhile longer in the freezer. If you do not have an ice cream machine, you can freeze the sherbet in a metal loaf pan, covered with plastic wrap, for about 5 or 6 hours or until firm. Stir the mixture occasionally, if needed. Makes about 3 cups sherbet.

While the sherbet is freezing, rinse the blueberries. In a medium sauce pan, heat water, sugar and lemon juice to boiling and sugar is dissolved. Carefully add blueberries and mint leaves. Return to boiling and simmer stirring often for 10 minutes to 15 minutes or until berries break down. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest. Chill for 2 to 3 hours then pour over raspberry sherbet just before serving. Makes about 1 and 1/2 cups compote.

Fresh Berry TartsBerryTart1
1 sheet frozen puff pastry or shells
1 cup light sour cream
8 ounces light (Neufchatel) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup apple jelly
2 cups fresh mixed berries

Allow the puff pastry to come to room temperature then cut into nine even squares. Butter the bottom of a muffin tin. Invert the pan so that it is facing down; place each square of dough over the outside of a cup. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the pan completely.

Beat the sour cream, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice just until incorporated. Too much will curdle the cheese. Place each pastry onto a plate and press down gently so that it sits evenly. Spoon a tablespoon or two of the cream mixture into the well of each. Pile on the fresh berries of your choosing. Whisk the apple jelly until smooth. Brush the jelly over the berries to brighten their color and sweeten them slightly. Serve immediately. You can make each component ahead of time and assemble before serving. Makes nine desserts.

WaterMelonDrinkWatermelon Bourbon-ade Punch
3 pounds watermelon chunks, seeded
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup Sprite
1 can frozen pink lemonade concentrate
Pinch of salt

Puree watermelon a blender. Add bourbon, Sprite, lemonade and salt. Pulse just once or twice more. Pour over ice, or pour into a freezer safe pitcher and freeze for 3 hours. Take the punch out of the freezer a half hour before serving or just long enough for it to be slushy. Serve in Mason jars or jelly jar glasses garnished with festive paper straws or fresh berries.

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