5 Flavors to Add to Your Summer Fruit Desserts

July 18, 2014

Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga, the lovely ladies behind Ovenly, are sharing their favorite flavors to add to summer fruit desserts. Now start baking, and keep an eye out for their new book, coming out in October.

Ovenly Cookbook  Ovenly

One of our favorite pastimes is sitting on Agatha's rooftop garden on warm nights, drinking rosé, and dreaming up flavors to pair with our most-loved seasonal fruits. Like everything at Ovenly, our summer baked goods all include a mix of sweet and savory, with a touch of spice.

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After a wine-filled evening (or two), we go to the kitchen and toy with those combinations; we always start with farmers market ingredients, and then get creative by matching them up with herbs, citrus, and booze in unexpected ways. We still surprise ourselves with how successful unconventional flavor combinations can be, and we encourage you to experiment on your own. Start with these tips for making seasonal fruit desserts more sassy and more delicious -- just don't wait too long to try them. Summer will be gone in a snap!

Basil Mint Chip Ice Cream

1. Chopped fresh herbs add fragrance and flavor to any simple frozen custard recipe (buttermilk is our favorite!). Earthy, pungent sage or sweet, herbal thyme enliven custardy ice creams and pair well with desserts like apricot galettes or a blackberry crumble.

More: Churn some basil into your mint chip ice cream.

2. Cracked black pepper adds a kick to any basic pie or tart dough. Try it in the crust of your favorite apple or concord grape pie recipe, or use it in a savory quiche. It makes for a simple but unique twist on a classic.

Strawberry Champagne Cocktail on Food52

3. Dry Champagne and Prosecco both pair beautifully with summer fruit. The minerality and clean acidity of the fizzy wine adds depth, balance, and zing to juicy raspberries or sour rhubarb. Try soaking any summer fruit in 2 cups of Champagne and 1/4 cup sugar, then add as a topping to panna cotta, vanilla pudding, or your favorite cake (we especially love boozy strawberries with our vanilla bean cake).

More: Mix strawberries and Champagne together for a fun seasonal drink.

Roasted Plums on Food52

4. Citrus juice breaks down fruit, helps to coax out juices, and brightens any dessert. We love adding in the zest for even more flavor. Try mixing the zest and juice of a lime with sweet bing cherries, and let them macerate for an hour to accompany pretty much anything (they're delicious with mild but rich savory cheeses like mascarpone or ricotta). 

Peach Crisp

5. Add spicy-sweet grated ginger to stone fruit fillings for shortcakestarts, or crisps. We especially like ginger paired with Italian plums, peaches, or apricots.

More: Stock up for stone fruit season -- we have everything you need on Provisions.

If you're looking for a starting point for your summer fruit experimentations, try this rustic tart -- and add whatever flavors strike your fancy.


Rustic Nectarine, Blueberry, and Vanilla Bean Tart


Makes one approximately 10-inch tart

For the pâte brisée:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
1 teaspoon salt
cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons ice water

For the filling and egg wash:

2 large, ripe nectarines (about 2 1/2 cups sliced)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk, for brushing
1 tablespoon water, for brushing


See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.


What are your favorite summer dessert pairings? Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • aslanford
  • AntoniaJames
Erin & Agatha are owners of the celebrated wholesale bakery in Brooklyn, Ovenly. Check out their first cookbook, Ovenly: Sweet & Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery, on sale October 2014.


aslanford February 2, 2015
That was really a great recipe .Thank you.
AntoniaJames July 18, 2014
Excellent advice here. Thank you. The combination of bay + vanilla + blueberries works particularly well: ;o)
aslanford February 2, 2015
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