Fruit Desserts That Are Easy to Make

In the spring and summer, consumers start getting back on the healthy eating bandwagon, and all of a sudden, cravings for heavy, rich desserts drop off. More orders are put in for refreshing treats at the end of meals, and many of these revolve around fruit, especially as the fresh produce comes back into season. Healthy fruit desserts are the way to go if you need to round out your meal with something sweet but still want to stay conservative with your choices. Check out these 7 examples of naturally sweetened treats and pick one to make for the beginning of a warmer season.

1. Raspberry Vanilla Pudding Parfaits

yogurt and fruit parfait

Fruit and yogurt parfait | iStock.com

Up first is a dessert from Taste of Home that is less than 160 calories per serving. These raspberry vanilla pudding parfaits are no doubt sweet, but they won’t put you in a sugar coma and they don’t come with a side of guilt. Layers of vanilla pudding and fresh raspberries make up the dessert, and thanks to an easy short-cut, it only requires 4 ingredients to make. No one needs to know you went the instant vanilla pudding route, as they’ll be too busy digging into their parfaits that are both easy on the eyes and the stomach.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cold 2% milk
  • 1 package instant vanilla or French vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup whipped topping
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries

Directions: In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in 1 cup whipped topping. Spoon a third of the pudding into six parfait glasses.

Set aside six raspberries for garnish; divide half of the remaining berries over pudding. Repeat layers. Top with remaining pudding and garnish with the reserved berries.

2. Cherries with Ricotta and Toasted Almonds

Whole, pitted, halved cherries

Pitted cherries | iStock.com

Next up is another healthy dessert that tastes indulgent but still won’t kill you in the fat and calorie department. Eating Well’s recipes for cherries with ricotta and toasted almonds couldn’t be easier, but your guests will still be impressed with the sophisticated nature of the sweet treat. Pairing fruit and cheese is nothing new, but the combination of warm cherries with rich ricotta cheese never ceases to blow consumers away. Add toasted almonds to the dish for a little extra crunch, and you have yourself a 3-ingredient dessert that will satiate your sweet tooth and your stomach.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup frozen pitted cherries
  • 2 tablespoons part-skim ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon toasted slivered almonds

Directions: Heat cherries in the microwave on high until warm, 1 to 2 minutes. Top the cherries with ricotta and almonds.

3. Grilled Pineapple with Ice Cream and Rum Sauce

grilled pineapple, ice cream

Grilled pineapple | iStock.com

If you’re ready to fire up the grill, this next recipe from Food Network is for you. For your after-dinner dessert, you won’t be throwing meat on the hot grill, but rather, fruit. Pineapple is our produce of choice and you’ll be pairing it with vanilla ice cream and a homemade rum sauce. The warm pineapple, cold ice cream, and rich rum sauce come together to yield a dessert you won’t want to be done with, and once again, the recipe for this goodness only requires a handful of ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) pineapple
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup rum
  • 1 pint light vanilla ice cream

Directions: Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple, peel and cut it crosswise into 8 rings, about ½-inch each. Use a spoon or apple corer to carve out the center core of each ring.

Spray a large grill pan with cooking spray and heat over a medium flame. Grill the pineapple, in 2 or 3 batches, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until it is nicely brown and grill marks have appeared.

While the last batch of pineapple cooks, heat the butter, sugar and rum in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat.

Place a pineapple ring on each plate, scoop ¼ cup of ice cream into the center of the ring, and drizzle about 2 teaspoons of sauce on top.

4. Vanilla-Roasted Peaches with Raspberries

peach sundae, ice cream

Peaches and ice cream | iStock.com

Another warmed fruit recipe is up next, but this time, the food formula from Martha Stewart has you roasting your produce rather than grilling it. If you like peaches, you’ll learn to love them even more after you have one bite of this dish of vanilla-roasted peaches with raspberries. To perfect the peaches, you’ll first marinate them in a mixture of butter, lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla bean. After roasting them in the oven for 20 or 25 minutes, they’re ready to be served warm with raspberries, vanilla ice cream, and what’s leftover from your buttery baking liquid.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scraped, or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 firm, ripe peaches (1 to 1 ½ pounds total), halved and pitted
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 package (5 to 6 ounces) raspberries

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large, shallow baking dish, combine butter, lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla bean. Add peaches, and turn to coat with butter mixture; arrange, cut side down, in a single layer.

Roast until peaches are tender and cooking liquid is syrupy, 15 to 25 minutes, brushing with cooking liquid halfway through. Serve peaches with ice cream and raspberries; drizzle with cooking liquid.

5. Blueberry Crisp

Fruit Crisp

Blueberry crisp | iStock.com

We can’t forget about the wide variety of crisps and cobblers you can also make. Blueberry crisp is a favorite, and this recipe from Cooking Light helps you indulge without overdoing it. Crisps are easy to make and they’ll be ready to eat in less than an hour. The hardest part is waiting for them to bake and cool, because before that, all you need to do is assemble the crumble and spoon the topping over the blueberries.

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2.25 ounces all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cornstarch evenly in dish.

Combine remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, vanilla, and blueberries in a large bowl; toss. Place in prepared baking dish.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor; pulse twice to combine. Add butter; pulse 5 times or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Spoon topping evenly over blueberries, packing down lightly. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden.

6. Blackberry Custards

Cherry Clafoutis, dutch baby pancake

Blackberry custard | iStock.com

Our next recipe from Food & Wine teaches you how to make your own custard. It’s easier than you may think, and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor with these blackberry custards. When you combine fresh blackberries with warm dishes of homemade custard, you have yourself a dessert that even those with no sweet teeth will be able to resist.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups blackberries (2 pounds)
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread ½ cup of the blackberries in each of twelve 4-ounce gratin dishes. Arrange the gratin dishes on 2 baking sheets.

In a bowl, whisk the milk with the cream, eggs, brown sugar, flour, vanilla, lemon juice, and orange zest until smooth. Ladle ¼ cup of the custard into each dish; bake for about 15 minutes, until the centers are set. Transfer the custards to wire racks and let stand for 30 minutes. Serve.

7. Mango Sorbet

lemon sorbet, ice cream

Mango sorbet | iStock.com

Last but not least: mango sorbet from King Arthur Flour. Serve the sweet treat alongside cake, pie, or on its own, and you’ll walk away from the dinner table feeling satisfied but not stuffed. All you need to make the sorbet are 3 cups of mango puree, water, corn syrup, and lemon juice. A few tablespoons of vodka or Grand Marnier are also optional as they enhance the texture of the dish. This recipe makes 3½ cups of the good stuff.

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 3½ cups mango purée, from about 4 large mangoes
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup or honey
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vodka, Grand Marnier, or Cointreau, optional; for texture

Directions: Peel the mangoes, discard the pits, and process in a food processor or blender until nearly smooth; a few small lumps can remain. Measure to make sure you have 3 to 3½ cups purée.

Add the water, syrup or honey, lemon or lime juice, and salt, stirring to combine. Place the mixture in the refrigerator, and chill thoroughly; overnight is best. Next day, pour the mango mixture into the bowl of the ice cream maker. Flip the switch, and let the sorbet freeze for 20 to 25 minutes, until thickened to the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. If you’re using the vodka or liqueur, add it at the end.

Transfer the sorbet to a freezer container, cover it, and place in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator until it’s as hard as you like; this will probably take a minimum of several hours.

To make the sorbet without an ice cream maker: Place the mango mixture in a shallow pan. Place the pan in the freezer. After 2 hours, use a fork or spoon to stir it around, bringing the frozen edges into the center. Return to the freezer.

Continue to stir every hour or so, until the sorbet is nearly as firm as you like. This may be as little as 4 hours total, start to finish; or it may take longer, depending on the temperature of your freezer.

Once the sorbet is entirely icy, add the alcohol, if you’re using it. Rather than add the alcohol while the sorbet is still in its shallow pan, transfer the sorbet to a lidded storage bowl. Stir in the alcohol, then cover the bowl and place it in the freezer. Let the sorbet “ripen”, undisturbed, for several more hours, until it’s as hard as you like.

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