Keeping it cool: The best summer desserts often require no oven

07/16/2012 5:00 AM

07/18/2012 7:06 AM

Fire up the oven? Seriously? During a summer of record-setting highs?

The searing temperatures mean that this is high season for no-bake desserts. We’ve compiled easy recipes that don’t require you to turn on the stove, let alone the oven. In addition to the recipes, here are some simple ideas for improvising your own quick, easy and pleasing no-bake desserts:

•  Terrific trifles: Pick up fruit at the farmers market or grocery along with a large container of plain or vanilla yogurt. Peel the fruit if necessary, cut into bite-size pieces and puree some of it in a blender. Stir the pureed fruit into the yogurt. Taste; if it’s too tart, add a bit of honey, maple syrup or another sweetener. Alternate the rest of the fruit with the flavored yogurt in a glass bowl or individual glasses.

Or for a more sophisticated trifle, grab some gingerbread or another hearty sweet bread from a bakery. Cut it into cubes, drizzle it with rum, liqueur or fruit syrup, and layer it with whipped cream and store-bought lemon curd.

•  Cheese and honey: Put a scoop of ricotta or another soft, mild cheese on a plate, drizzle with honey and garnish with nuts and pieces of fresh or dried fruit.
•  Custom ice-cream sandwiches: Start with a favorite ice cream — perhaps chocolate chip. Pick a complementary large cookie from the cookie aisle — maybe chocolate chip cookies. Let the ice cream soften a little, then stir in crushed crispy cookies — such as chocolate wafers. Now assemble the sandwiches and stick them in the freezer in sandwich bags for about an hour or until they firm up.

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