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

Simple embellishments turn summer’s fresh fruit into quick

Consider a tart made with a buttery oatmeal crust topped with
custard and strawberries. Or saute papaya with ginger to serve with ice
cream. For a cobbler-style dessert, bake peach havles with a
ground-almond batter. Or broil a sugar crust over peaches filled with
blueberries. Strawberry Oat Tart 1 quart strawberries Oat crust (recipe
follows) Vanilla custard (recipe follows)

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Rinse strawberries, trim off stems, and pat berries dry.

Place oat crust on a serving platter. Spread with vanilla custard
and top with berries, stem side down. Cut into wedges. Makes 8

Oat crust. In a bowl of food processor, stir together 2/3 cup
all-purpose flour, 1 cup regular quick-cooking rolled oats, and 1/2 cup
sugar. 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- or
11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake in a 375[deg.] oven until
golden all over, about 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack just until it
begins 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 up
to 1 day.)

Vanilla custard. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, stir together 1
tablespoon cornstarch and 3 tablespoons sugar. Gradually stir in 1 cup
milk; stir over medium-low heat until mixture boils. Remove from heat;
stir in 3 egg yolsk and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Return to low heat and
stir constantly for 1 minute. Stir over ice water to cool quickly. (If
made ahead, cover and chill up to 1 day.) Gingered Papaya with Ice Cream
1 firm-ripe papaya 2 or 3 large limes 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons candied ginger, cut into thin strips 1 tablespoon firmly
packed brown sugar Vanilla ice cream

Peel, seed, and cut papaya into about 1/2-inch-thick slices. Pare
some thin outer green peel from 1 lime and cut into thin strips to make
1/2 teaspoon. Ream juice from lime to make 2 tablespoons. Thinly slice
remainign lime for garnish.

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add
papaya, ginger, and sugar. Gently turn papaya until heated through, 2
to 4 minutes. Stir in lime peel and lime juice. On 4 or 5 salad or
dinner plates, arrange papaya, pan juices, and a scoop of ice cream;
garnish with lime slices. Serve at once. Serves 4 or 5. Peaches with
Almond 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 almond
extract Sweetened softly whipped cream

Place almonds in a 9- or 10-inch pie pan. Bake in a 350[deg.] oven
until light gold under skin, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then whirl in
a blender until nuts are finely ground. Increase oven to 375[deg.].

Set peach halves cut side down in a buttered shallow 1-1/2-quart
baking dish. In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and almond extract until
thick; mix in nuts. Pour batter over fruit and bake in a 375[deg.] oven
until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.
Serves 10. Peach Brulee 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine 2
tablespoons lemon juice 3 large pipe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut in
half 1/2 cup blueberries 6 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar 1/3 to
1/2 cup sour cream

Mix together butter and lemon juice; turn peach halves in butter
mixture 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 baking
sheet to make an even layer about 3 inches square; repeat, making 6
squares. Broil about 6 inches from heat until sugar melts, 1 to 2
minutes. Watch carefully to avoid scorching. Let cool until set but
still 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 around
peach, 10 to 30 seconds. Transfer to small bowls. Garnish with sour
cream and remaining berries. Serve at once. Makes 6 servings.


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