Just berries on top of an oatmeal cooky; and three other simple fruit desserts Essay

Simple embellishments turn summer’s fresh fruit into quickdesserts.

Consider a tart made with a buttery oatmeal crust topped withcustard and strawberries. Or saute papaya with ginger to serve with icecream. For a cobbler-style dessert, bake peach havles with aground-almond batter.

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Or broil a sugar crust over peaches filled withblueberries. Strawberry Oat Tart 1 quart strawberries Oat crust (recipefollows) Vanilla custard (recipe follows) Rinse strawberries, trim off stems, and pat berries dry. Place oat crust on a serving platter. Spread with vanilla custardand top with berries, stem side down. Cut into wedges. Makes 8servings.

Oat crust. In a bowl of food processor, stir together 2/3 cupall-purpose flour, 1 cup regular quick-cooking rolled oats, and 1/2 cupsugar. Cut in 3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine until crumbly.Press dough together with hands.

Press in an even layer in a 10- or11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake in a 375[deg.] oven untilgolden all over, about 20 minutes.

Let cool on a rack just until itbegins to set up, about 3 minutes. Carefully slide a long, thin spatula under crust to loosen. Cool 5 minutes; slide onto serving platter.Cool completely. (If made ahead, cover and store at room temperature upto 1 day.) Vanilla custard. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, stir together 1tablespoon cornstarch and 3 tablespoons sugar. Gradually stir in 1 cupmilk; stir over medium-low heat until mixture boils.

Remove from heat;stir in 3 egg yolsk and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Return to low heat andstir constantly for 1 minute. Stir over ice water to cool quickly. (Ifmade ahead, cover and chill up to 1 day.) Gingered Papaya with Ice Cream1 firm-ripe papaya 2 or 3 large limes 2 tablespoons butter or margarine2 tablespoons candied ginger, cut into thin strips 1 tablespoon firmlypacked brown sugar Vanilla ice cream Peel, seed, and cut papaya into about 1/2-inch-thick slices. Paresome thin outer green peel from 1 lime and cut into thin strips to make1/2 teaspoon.

Ream juice from lime to make 2 tablespoons. Thinly sliceremainign lime for garnish. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Addpapaya, ginger, and sugar.

Gently turn papaya until heated through, 2to 4 minutes. Stir in lime peel and lime juice. On 4 or 5 salad ordinner plates, arrange papaya, pan juices, and a scoop of ice cream;garnish with lime slices. Serve at once.

Serves 4 or 5. Peaches withAlmond Crust 3/4 cup unblanched almonds 5 medium-size firm-ripe peaches,peeled, pitted, and cut in half 2 eggs 1/3 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon almondextract Sweetened softly whipped cream Place almonds in a 9- or 10-inch pie pan. Bake in a 350[deg.] ovenuntil light gold under skin, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then whirl ina blender until nuts are finely ground. Increase oven to 375[deg.]. Set peach halves cut side down in a buttered shallow 1-1/2-quartbaking dish.

In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and almond extract untilthick; mix in nuts. Pour batter over fruit and bake in a 375[deg.] ovenuntil golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve warm with whipped cream.Serves 10. Peach Brulee 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine 2tablespoons lemon juice 3 large pipe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut inhalf 1/2 cup blueberries 6 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar 1/3 to1/2 cup sour cream Mix together butter and lemon juice; turn peach halves in buttermixture and set, cut side up, on a 9- by 13-inch or larger broiler pan.Fill each peach cavity with 1 tablespoon or blueberries. Line a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet with foil and butter generously.

Push about 1 tablespoon brown sugar through a wire sieve onto bakingsheet to make an even layer about 3 inches square; repeat, making 6squares. Broil about 6 inches from heat until sugar melts, 1 to 2minutes. Watch carefully to avoid scorching. Let cool until set butstill pliable, about 30 seconds.

(Store airtight up to 2 hours.) With a wide spatula, set each sugar square on top of a peach half.Broil about 6 inches from heat, just until sugar crust drapes aroundpeach, 10 to 30 seconds. Transfer to small bowls. Garnish with sourcream and remaining berries. Serve at once.

Makes 6 servings.

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