Summer treats

Its summer, which means oily rag orchards are about to get into full swing. Here are some ideas for summer treats using in-season and plentiful fruits. 

Fruit popsicles are wonderful for those hot summer days and can be made with any ripe fruit. Blend a cup of chopped fruit, a cup of yoghurt, and some honey until smoothe, then pour into ice block moulds and freeze for at least 6 hours. Enjoy!

Fresh fruit smoothies are a convenient and healthy snack as well as a wonderful thirst quencher. Put fresh summer fruit, yoghurt, ice, and milk into a blender and whizz until smooth and frothy. Lots of extras can be added – ice cream, honey, a dash of cinnamon, or over-ripe bananas for an extra smooth taste.

Fruit rollups are also an excellent stand-by for the festive season. Blend fresh fruit with a little honey to taste then spread thinly on baking paper lined oven trays. Fan bake for 2½ hours at 80 C until shiny and no longer sticky. Roll the fruit sheets up in the baking paper while still warm and store in a sealed container in the fridge. When ready to use, cut into thin strips, unroll and discard the paper.

For a cheap and very filling pudding, try a fresh fruit cobbler (this has nothing to do with holes in your shoes!). Preheat the oven to 200 C. Take 650g of any type of fresh fruit, 300ml water, 100g sugar and 25g chopped almonds (optional). Place fruit and water in saucepan and simmer until soft. Remove and place in a greased baking dish with half the cooking liquid, plus the sugar and almonds. Rub 75g butter or margarine into 175g self-raising flour and add 25g sugar and enough milk to mix into soft dough. Roll dough out to 10ml thick, cut into rounds. Place rounds on top of the cooked fruit. Brush the rounds with a little milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the lot for 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden. Serve hot with cream or custard.

For a really gorgeous and dead simple fruit pudding to show off to dinner guests, take 450g seasonal fruit, simmer in a little water and sugar until soft, then drain and place in a shallow heat proof dish. Sprinkle over with 50g blanched or toasted almonds or sunflower seeds and leave to cool. Whip 300ml of cream until thick, and spread over the fruit to completely cover it. Sprinkle 100g soft brown sugar evenly over the cream and place under a hot grill until the sugar melts and caramelise. Remove and serve at once.

Banana treats – An oily ragger from the sub-tropical North has been skiting about their crop of Goldfinger bananas. One of their plants has about 100 fruit that are sweeter than the shop varieties. They are delicious when sliced and spread on a piece of toast with a sprinkle of brown sugar and grilled.

Banana split. Slice a banana lengthwise. Place two halves on a plate.  Place two scoops of your favourite ice cream in the middle of the banana slices and add a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and pour over your favourite topping.

A reader from Napier has this one. “To make banana ‘ice cream’, cut up ripe bananas into chunks and freeze.  Take them out of the freezer and straight into the food processor and pulse till smooth and creamy, then serve.  You would never be able to tell that it was just frozen banana.  It has a beautiful creamy consistency. My kids are dairy and gluten intolerant and they think this banana ice cream is fantastic.  I also add other fruits when in season – strawberries go very well with the banana.”

Wanda from Auckland says American style pancakes are a great favourite – for breakfast, lunch, or as an after dinner dessert. “All you need is 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk, 1 egg, a couple of tablespoons of sugar, a teaspoon of baking powder, a tablespoon of melted butter, and a pinch of salt. Mix the egg, milk and butter, and add to the dry ingredients. Blend to form a creamy batter, then pour about a quarter of a cup of the batter into a hot, lightly greased frypan. Cook until bubbles break the surface, flip, and finishing cooking. Pile the hot pancakes on a warm plate, with a dot of butter between each. Pile lots of fruit on top, then serve with maple or golden syrup, and yogurt or cream poured over.”