Growing up, we did not have dessert every day. It seems like that is the "norm" now: something sweet and decadent after a big dinner. Even if you aren't hungry.
But, when we did have dessert as kids, it was often just fruit. Especially in the summertime. A slice of watermelon, a peach or nectarine, or some fresh picked berries. Or sometimes strawberry shortcake or baked apples - on a special occasion.
Fruit is sweet and full of natural sugar. It really is the perfect dessert. I think with the overabundance of diets/dieting and always feeling guilty, we have made fruit an obligation food and forgotten what a treat it is. My husband calls it "nature's candy". And it really is! BUT - it is also an amazing whole food that is full of nutrients and fiber. See, I said fiber, and you were immediately thinking "oh, right, that sound delicious and desserty", right?? I think we might need to separate the health benefit trivia facts from fruit and just enjoy it again.
One of our favorite summertime dinners as children was what we called "fruit for dinner". Mom would slice up 8-10 different fruits and arrange them on a huge platter and we'd dive in. It was so fun and seemed a little naughty to be eating just fruit for dinner. It's crazy that something so incredibly healthy could be considered a treat to a child. And to the grown-ups too!
June into early July is one of my favorite times of year, living in New England, because we get fresh local strawberries. The strawberry season comes and goes so fast, you can miss it if you blink too long, but there is nothing like them. My husband Mark and I will sometimes get a quart from a farm stand and go sit somewhere in nature and eat the whole thing. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon! The berries do not survive until dessert time, but they fill that craving for sweets.
When I do want to make something more decadent, I try to keep it healthy. Whole grain strawberry shortcakes, "raw" banana cream pie, or a berry parfait made with fat free Greek yogurt and chopped toasted pecans. These things are all truly delicious, but also healthy. Did I ruin it for you with the "h" word?
It's long past strawberry season in Connecticut, but buying frozen strawberries is a great alternative, especially for making a warm mixed berry compote or a fruit crumble. Most berries are frozen right at the farm, preserving them at their peak freshness.
I found this strawberry tea cup at a neighbors tag sale for $0.50! I couldn't resist filling it with fresh berries I had just picked up at the farm. This photo is the only evidence of their existence, we ate them minutes later!
What are some of your favorite fruits to have for dessert?