Cobbler, cake, clafoutis, and all the ice cream.

By Betty Gold
Updated July 01, 2019
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Fact: desserts just taste better in the summertime. We love a good spice cake or Christmas cookie just as much as the next person, but there's something so inexplicably satisfying about that first bite of fresh fruit pie—extra points if there's a mountain of melty ice cream on top. Add in some ripe berries, juicy watermelon, and maybe a boozy popsicle of two and you've got our vote.

Produce is at its peak at this time of year, so be sure to keep an eye out at your farmer's market (and talk to vendors) to find what fruit options are the most ripe and ready to be baked into sweet, sugar-packed perfection.

Here, we've rounded up some of the best (and most beautiful) fruit dessert recipes. They're all incredibly easy to make and celebrate the season's finest produce offerings, from homemade papaya ice cream to easy nectarine cake, trifle, and more. We promise your heart will melt—hopefully before that extra scoop of ice cream does.

Kelsey Hansen

The warm, fluffy biscuits are the real star here, and have uses far beyond cobbler. Scoop them onto a baking sheet and bake until golden, then build strawberry shortcakes or serve with warm stone fruit.

Get the recipe: Mixed Berry Biscuit Cobbler

Greg DuPree

At first glance, this might seem like a simple cake, but it’s so much more than that. The cake batter is made doubly tender with a complex flavor, thanks to olive oil and puréed nectarines. Then you’ll double down on that delicious olive oil-nectarine combo with a topping of sea salt-flecked fruit. It’s not only pretty, but it draws out the flavors from the cake for an elegant, bakery-worthy treat. If you don't come across nectarines, peaches will do. The flavor of the olive oil comes through, so it’s worth splurging on something nice that has grassy or peppery undertones. Offer up some vanilla ice cream to go with, a scoop definitely can't hurt.

Get the recipe: Nectarine Olive Oil Cake

Victor Protasio

This banana split recipe is so good. You’ll start by caramelizing bananas in a nonstick skillet, which allows them to develop a delicious, sugary crust without using any fat. The result is a golden-brown slice of heaven, all topped off with ice cream and a sprinkling of salty-sweet caramel corn. For a dinner party, serve the bananas, ice cream, and caramel corn family style and let everyone build their own sundaes.

Get the recipe: Brûléed Banana Splits With Cashew Caramel Corn

Kelsey Hansen

Have you ever roasted or broiled strawberries? It brings out their natural sweetness and softens them to an almost spoonable consistency. We used the technique to add flavor to our whole wheat clafoutis, which is a sweet addition to any summer menu.

Get the recipe: Honey Whole Wheat Clafoutis

Victor Protasio

What is there to say about no-churn papaya ice cream? So much. First of all, it’s way easier to make than regular ice cream, since all you have to do is whip up heavy cream with sweetened condensed milk and fold in some papaya. No special equipment needed! Not to mention, it’s delicious, too. Scoop right out of the freezer or turn into decadent sundaes with roasted pineapple, toasted coconut flakes, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

Get the recipe: No-Churn Papaya Ice Cream

Greg DuPree

A great trifle is all about distinct layers. This is no exception. There’s a cloud of elderflower-spiked whipped cream to draw out the layers of fresh summer berries, and crushed cookies, which soak up the berry juices until they’re perfectly soft. With only five ingredients, the result is a gorgeous sculptural delight. Trifles are a classic English dessert, so put on your best British accent and serve this garden party style.

Get the recipe: Summer Berry Trifle With Elderflower Cream

Victor Protasio

Here’s a fun twist on your average quick bread—a not-too-sweet loaf that folds in fresh chopped mango, while a blend of coconut oil and melted butter makes for a perfectly moist texture. Not only does coconut oil add delicious tropical flavor, it draws out the floral notes of mango. If you by some miracle have leftover cake, griddle up thick slices in melted butter. Bonus points for topping with a scoop of ice cream or mango sorbet.

Get the recipe: Mango Pound Cake

Victor Protasio

A great dessert hits many different flavor notes. Case in point: this refreshing granita recipe. You’ve got your sweet and floral pineapple, a tart spike of lime, and a fiery ginger syrup to tie it all together. If you’ve never had a granita, think of it like a grown-up snow cone. The key is to let the mixture freeze and then rake it with a fork to create melt-in-your-mouth icy flakes. The next step is cueing up hot summer night, beach, or fun barbecue to enjoy your frosty treat.

Get the recipe: Salted Pineapple-Lime Granita

Brie Passano

Imagine eating a giant bowl of banana pudding, except it’s served atop a Nilla Wafer crust and comes topped with toasty, fluffy, marshmallow-y meringue. The homemade vanilla pudding is a star on its own, so save the recipe and serve it with warm fruit or layered in a trifle.

Get the recipe: Banana Pudding Pie Bars With Meringue