Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Cool Creamy No-Cook Fruit Desserts

The easiest and best no-cook summer desserts are simple combinations of whipped cream and fruit.

Rich, softly whipped cream is the perfect background for juicy berries, toothsome peaches, and sweet-tart mangoes. Add a complementary flavoring -- red wine, crystallized ginger, lime zest -- and you end up with a surprisingly sophisticated treat.

I prefer to sweeten cream with confectioners' sugar rather than granulated sugar so that there's no unpleasant grit. A little vanilla extract added to the cream adds another flavor dimension.

When possible, I buy organic, pasteurized cream (available in the organic section of my supermarket dairy department). I find that it whips up higher and tastes fresher than the easier-to-find ultra-pasteurized cream.

Whipping cream is not difficult as long as you take care not to over-whip it. Beat with a handheld or standing mixer, just until it holds soft peaks. A minute and a half will probably do it.

1) Strawberries, Red Wine and Cream:
Hulled and sliced strawberries soaked in a little dry red wine acquire a ruby-red glow and are wonderful when topped with a dollop of softly whipped cream.

2) Blackberry Fool:
To make this simple dessert, combine blackberries with a little sugar in a bowl. Mash some, but not all, of the berries with a fork. Let stand and stir a couple of times, and then fold most of the juicy fruit into some whipped cream. Top each portion with some of the reserved ''sauce.''

3) Peaches with Ginger Cream:
Peeled and sliced peaches are topped with whipped cream. Each portion is sprinkled with some chopped crystallized ginger to add some spice and crunch.

4) Pineapple with Lemon Cream:
I like to mix whipped cream with a little sour cream and lemon zest for a slightly tart topping that contrasts nicely with sweet chunks of pineapple.

5) Rum-Sprinkled Mango with Cream:
Slices of mango sprinkled with dark rum are set atop pillows of vanilla-flavored whipped cream for a no-cook dessert with a tropical flavor.

6) Plums, Cream and Brown Sugar:
Brown sugar, with its subtle molasses flavor, is sprinkled on top of mounds of whipped cream and sliced plums for a wonderfully simple but surprisingly complex dessert.

Source: DianasDesserts.com
Date: September 6, 2002