A cool and light dessert is a perfect finale to a summer supper, especially when the scale betrays no great indiscretion the next morning.
Fresh fruit is the sensible ending when the summer crops fill the produce stands. What could be nicer than a plate of assorted melons or of sliced papaya and pineapple, sprinkled with lemon or lime juice, freshly grated ginger, chopped mint or shredded coconut?
Or, if you are of the pudding or parfait persuasion, fresh fruit combined with dairy products and honey add a nice elegance to the evening. Even the dieter can't have too much grief over the following recipes-- especially the first one. STRAWBERRY PARFAIT (6 to 8 servings) 2 packages unflavored gelatin 1/2 cup cold water 2 tablespoons lime juice 3 cups fresh strawberries, washed and culled 1 quart buttermilk 1/3 cup honey 6 large, fresh, strawberries for garnish
Combine gelatin and water over low heat and stir until gelatin dissolves and mixture is clear. In blender combine gelatin, lime juice, strawberries and buttermilk and honey until smooth. Pour in tall parfait glasses. As mixture sets and chills, place one strawberry on top of each dish. RASPBERRY CREAM (4 to 5 servings) 1 package unflavored gelatin 1/4 cup orange juice 2 1/2 cups fresh (or thawed frozen) raspberries 1/3 to 1/2 cup honey 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream Fresh mint springs
Combine gelatin with juice over low heat and stir until gelatin dissolves and mixture is clear. Put in blender with raspberries and puree. Blend in honey to taste. Beat cream stiff and fold into berry mixture.Pour into dessert dishes and chill firm. Garnish with mint sprigs.
Boysenberries, blackberries, or blueberries can be substituted. (Add more honey if necessary.) PEACH MOUSSE (6 servings) 2 packages unflavored gelatin 1/3 cup cold water 3 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced 1/2 cup honey 1 cup plain yogurt 1 cup each light cream (half-and-half) and sour cream 2 tablespoons lemon rind Freshly grated ginger
Combine gelatin with water over low heat and stir until gelatin dissolves and mixture is clear. Combine peaches (reserving some for garnish), honey, yogurt, cream and sour cream and lemon rind and blend in blender. Add gelatin and pour into dessert dishes and chill until set. Before serving, top with thinly sliced peaches and a sprinkling of freshly grated ginger. BANANA COCONUT CUSTARD (6 servings) 1 quart lowfat milk 6 eggs, beaten 1/3 cup honey 2 teaspoons vanilla 2 ripe, but firm, bananas 2/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
Heat milk slightly and stir into beaten eggs with honey. Cook over low heat, stirring until thickened. Do not boil. When thickened, stir in vanilla and set aside to cool slightly.
Slice 1/2 banana in bottom of each dessert dish and pour over custard. Toast coconut in heavy bottom frying pan or in the oven until golden brown. Sprinkle over each dish and chill.