12 Summer Desserts to Keep You Cool

I don't know about the weather where you live, but here in Virginia it is definitely summer. And that means that it's time for cool desserts. Over the next few weeks, we'll be featuring these desserts. Give them a try. You might be surprised at how good they are!

1. Granitas

Granitas are just like sorbets (Dairy-free and egg-free, sorbets are made from fruit juice or flavored water and simple syrup. They're churned like ice cream to give them a soft and snowy texture.) but they are made by hand. The Kitchn has a great granita primer. You can really use any fruit. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Cantaloupe Granita

Source: The Kitchn

1 ripe cantaloupe, seeded, rind trimmed off, and cut in chunks
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1/4 c. sugar - you could halve this amount if you want less sugar, or substitute your favorite sweetener
Optional: fresh chopped mint, basil, or tarragon

  1. In a blender or food processor, purée the cantaloupe until smooth.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the lemon juice, water, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add to the cantaloupe and mix well.
  4. Pour in a non-reactive dish, like a Pyrex casserole dish, and freeze.
  5. When frozen, scrape with a fork and add to a serving bowl.
  6. You can experiment by sprinkling with fresh chopped herbs like mint, basil, or tarragon.
  7. If you wanted to add a little alcohol to this, about 1/4 a cup of prosecco mixed into the cantaloupe and sugar water would work nicely.

Berry Orange Sorbet

Source: Disney Family Fun

According to the website, "You can make it in an ice-cream machine, too--just follow the manufacturer's directions."

1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed raspberries or blackberries
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  1. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the water and all of the sugar. Bring the liquid to a simmer and continue simmering it for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool.
  3. Put the berries and the remaining 1/4 cup of water into the bowl of a food processor and puree them for 30 seconds.
  4. Strain the puree to remove the seeds.
  5. In a pitcher, stir together the cooked syrup, the orange and lemon juices, and the seedless berry puree.
  6. Pour the mixture into two ice-cube trays and freeze until firm (generally 6 or more hours). A pitcher or a mixing bowl with a spout will make filling the ice-cube trays easier and neater.
  7. When you're ready to serve the sorbet, chill serving dishes in the freezer and briefly chill your food processor bowl and blade as well.
  8. Then transfer the fruit cubes to the food processor and pulse them, in short bursts, to make a smooth sorbet.
  9. Spoon the sorbet into the chilled dishes and serve immediately. Makes about 6 servings.

Watermelon Sorbet

Source: Disney Family Fun

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups watermelon chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer it gently for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour the liquid into an 8-inch square glass baking pan.
  3. Puree the watermelon chunks in a blender, then strain the puree into a large bowl.
  4. Measure out 2 cups of the watermelon juice and stir it into the sugar syrup along with the lemon juice.
  5. Place the pan in the freezer for 1 hour.
  6. Then stir the mixture with a wooden spoon and allow it to freeze for another 45 minutes.
  7. Repeat this process once, and then allow the mixture to freeze through (another couple hours or so).
  8. Thaw the ice slightly so that you can transfer it to a chilled blender.
  9. Pulse the machine just until the ice is slushy, periodically scraping down the sides.
  10. Spoon the sorbet into chilled bowls and serve at once. Makes 6 servings.

The Frugal Chef's Watermelon Sorbet

Lemon Cups

Source: Disney Family Fun

2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 to 5 lemons
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from the lemons)
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
Mint leaves and lemon zest for garnish

  1. Scrape the 2 teaspoons of zest from one of the lemons, then cut all of the lemons in half and juice them.
  2. Measure 1 cup, reserving the rest for another use.
  3. Use a melon baller to remove any remaining pulp.
  4. Slightly trim the bottom of each lemon cup so it sits flat, then set them on a plate, cover, and place them in the refrigerator.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Bring the water to a boil, then add the lemon juice and zest and boil for 2 minutes.
  7. Transfer the liquid to a mixing bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  8. Place the bowl in the freezer until the mixture begins to freeze, several hours or overnight.
  9. Use a fork to break up the ice, then stir it until fluffy.
  10. Spoon 1/2 cup of the slush into each lemon half, then cover them and freeze until you're ready to serve.
  11. Garnish with a mint leaf and lemon zest before serving, if you like. Serves 8 to 10.