It's been that kind of summer! The days are steamy, the fruit is luscious and easy and desserts are IT. For the pizza, the muffins and the pie, fresh blueberries are a joy to use. But once they're cooked, no one will know the difference, so go ahead and substitute the frozen blueberries if you want to.

For the cherry cobbler, the jars of Morello or Montmorrency (sour) cherries in the stores are great -- and they'll save you getting out the cherry pitter. But watch it on the Granitas: Only fresh-squeezed juices, pureed fresh fruits or freshly brewed (and cooled) coffee will do!

Fruit Pizza
© 2003 Debby Segura
(serves 12)

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 package Rapid Rise Yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
Cooking spray
2 cups thinly sliced fresh fruit (plums, nectarines, white or yellow peaches)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons red currant or apple jelly

In a large bowl, combine the flour with 3 tablespoons of the sugar, yeast and salt. Add the water, oil and egg and stir to combine. Knead until very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a floured surface, lightly roll out the dough into a 12" round and place on a 12" pizza pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Decoratively arrange the fruit slices, pressing them gently into the dough. Sprinkle the fruit slices with the sugar and top with the blueberries. Bake the pizza at 425 degrees until puffy and the edges are well-browned. Cool on a wire rack, and cut with a pizza cutter to serve.

Berry Muffins
© 2003 Debby Segura
(makes 12 muffins)

1 corn muffin recipe (to follow)
6 ounces fresh or frozen berries, mixed or all one kind
non-stick cooking spray
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Prepare the corn muffin batter as per the recipe. Spray the muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and divide the batter evenly between the tins. Place an equal amount of berries on top of the batter of each muffin and press most of the berries into the batter gently with a spoon. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the turbinado sugar and bake 25 (if using fresh berries) to 30 minutes (if using frozen berries), or until a test toothpick comes out clean.

Corn Meal Muffins
© 2003 Debby Segura
(makes 12 muffins)

1 large egg
1 cup milk (or milk substitute)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a rack just below the center shelf. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk and the oil and beat until combined. Add the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until no longer lumpy. Spray a 12 muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and divide the batter evenly between the tins. Place the muffin tin into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until a test toothpick stuck into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Do not over-bake. Peach or plum Variation: Add 8 ounces of cubed fruit to batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a test toothpick comes out clean.

Cherry Cobbler
© 2003 Debby Segura
Serves 18-24

3 24 ounce jars Morello (sour) cherries
4 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon mace
1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup margarine or Crisco, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk, Rice Dream or soy milk
1 egg
turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Empty the jars of cherries into a colander held over a large bowl and reserve the cherries. Pour 1 cup of the liquid into a small mixing bowl and pour the rest of the liquid into a saucepan. To the cup of liquid in the mixing bowl, add the corn starch and 1 cup sugar. Stir until the corn starch is completely dissolved. Add the corn starch solution and the mace to the juice in the sauce pan and cook over a medium flame, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and boils. Continue boiling one minute. Turn off the flame and fold the reserved cherries into the thickened mixture. Pour the hot fruit mixture into a 9 by 13" Pyrex pan and place in the oven.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the shortening. Mix in the "milk" and egg and form a soft dough. On a floured surface, knead the dough 4 or 5 times and then roll to a uniform ½" thickness. Cut the dough with a biscuit- or cookie-cutter into 2" rounds, or other shapes. Remove the Pyrex of hot cherry filling from the oven and distribute the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush the top of the biscuits and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until the biscuit are golden, about 15 minutes, or so. Cool at least 45 minutes, to allow the filling to set, before serving.


© 2003 Debby Segura
(serves 8)

3 pint baskets of cold, clean, ripe strawberries, hulled
6 individual packets Splenda, or other sweetener

Add the strawberries to a blender and puree until all lumps are gone. Sweeten to taste. Blend briefly. Pour the mixture into a small metal bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the freezer and allow to freeze about 1 ½ hours until the mixture becomes icy around the edges. With a fork, quickly shave this ice and stir the mixture. Repeat every 1 ½ hours until the mixture is uniformly icy. Cover tightly with the plastic wrap and keep frozen until 5 minutes before serving. Shave the ice into small, chilled glass bowls and garnish with a whole strawberry, a blackberry or two, and a mint leaf.

Variations: Pink grapefruit juice Coffee and cream Grape juice Lemonade, etc.


© 2003 Debby Segura