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Cooking | Magazine

Recipes: Three desserts for berry season

Mixed berry crostata, raspberry-pistachio meringues, and whipped cream biscuits make for fresh fruity desserts.

Mixed berry crostata.
Mixed berry crostata.Connie Miller/of CB Creatives

Nothing signals summer like fresh berry season, so at Milk Street we’ve put together our favorite ways to take advantage of this bounty. Lightly sweetened mixed berries and a rustic, free-form crust make our Italian crostata even easier than pie. Raspberries tossed with a lemony purée brighten a cardamom-scented trifle that’s easy to make with store-bought meringues and toasted pistachios. And we lighten biscuits with whipped cream in the dough, then top them with more tangy whipped cream and strawberries macerated with lime zest.

Mixed Berry Crostata

Makes 8 servings

Avoid frozen berries; they will turn soft and mushy with baking. Serve warm or at room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream.

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Before making the dough, toss together the butter, flour, sugar, and salt and freeze for 10 minutes. Combining these before adding to the food processor helps prevent clumping and ensures more even butter distribution while processing; thorough chilling guarantees the butter won’t become too soft.

1¼ cups (163 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2½ tablespoons white sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled

3 cups mixed raspberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries

3 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided

1 large egg white, beaten

¼ to ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, white sugar, and salt. Add the butter and gently toss, evenly coating the cubes with the flour mixture. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Transfer the flour-butter mixture to a food processor. Pulse until the butter chunks are about the size of peas, 10 to 12 pulses. Add 3 tablespoons cold water and process until the mixture clumps together, but does not form a cohesive ball, about 15 to 20 seconds.

Turn the dough onto the counter and press into a disk about 5-inches wide and 1-inch thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, smoothing any crumbly or ragged edges. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

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About 1 hour before baking, heat the oven to 450 degrees with a baking steel or stone on the lower-middle rack. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. Lightly flour the counter, unwrap the dough, and set it on top. (If the dough is very firm, let it soften for 10 minutes.) Dust the top with flour and roll it into a 12-inch round about ¼ inch thick, rotating frequently to prevent sticking and dusting with flour as needed. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Mound the berries in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar. Working with a 3-inch section at a time, fold the border of the dough onto the berries, leaving about ¼ inch of space between the berries and the inside of the fold. Pleat the dough as you go, then gently press the pleats to seal. Lightly brush the dough with the egg white, smoothing over any cracks, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar. Sprinkle the flaky salt (optional) over the crostata, then refrigerate uncovered for 10 minutes.

Bake until the crust is deep golden brown and the berries are bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully slide a metal spatula under the crostata to loosen it from the parchment.

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Serve warm or at room temperature.

Raspberry-Pistachio Meringue With Spiced Whipped Cream

Makes 4 servings

For ease, we use store-bought meringue cookies which work just as well as homemade, although they benefit from a brief broil to enhance texture.

Stay close to the oven while the meringues are under the broiler, as they can scorch in a matter of seconds.

3 6-ounce containers raspberries

5 tablespoons white sugar, divided

Kosher salt

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest plus 4 teaspoons lemon juice

2 ounces vanilla meringue cookies, broken into rough ½-inch bits (about 2 cups)

2/3 cup heavy cream

½ cup sour cream

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ cup roasted, salted shelled pistachios, chopped

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, mash together half of 1 container of raspberries (about ½ cup), 4 tablespoons of the sugar, and a pinch of salt. Heat, stirring, just until the berries have broken down and the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, then press to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Let cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes, then stir in the lemon zest and juice. Gently stir the remaining berries into the purée.

Heat the broiler with a rack about 4 inches from the element. Spread the meringue pieces in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until browned, 30 to 60 seconds. Let cool to room temperature.

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In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the heavy cream, sour cream, cardamom, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and teaspoon salt until the mixture holds peaks, about 2 minutes.

Spoon about ¼ cup of the whipped cream into each of four glasses or serving bowls. Spoon about ‚ cup of the berry mixture into each glass, then top with several spoonfuls of meringue pieces, reserving 1 tablespoon for each serving. Layer in the remaining whipped cream, dividing it evenly, then spoon in the remaining berry mixture. Sprinkle with the reserved meringue pieces and the pistachios.

Raspberry-pistachio meringue with spiced whipped cream.
Raspberry-pistachio meringue with spiced whipped cream. Connie Miller/of CB Creatives

Whipped Cream Biscuits With Macerated Strawberries and Tangy Whipped Cream

Remember to decrease the temperature when you put the biscuits in the oven. A very hot oven helps them rise and brown, but keeping them at that temperature will result in overcooking.

To assemble, split each biscuit and spoon the strawberries and whipped cream onto the bottom half. Cover with the top biscuit half and serve.

Whipped Cream Biscuits

Makes 8 biscuits

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1½ tablespoons white sugar, divided

2½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed

½ cup sour cream

4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, chilled and cut into ¼-inch cubes, plus 1 tablespoon, melted

Heat the oven to 475 degrees with a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, the baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a second large bowl, use a whisk or electric mixer to beat the cream and sour cream to soft peaks; set aside. Scatter the butter cubes over the flour; using your fingertips, rub together until evenly dispersed in the flour.

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Add the whipped cream mixture to the flour. Use a large rubber spatula to fold and press until large clumps form and no dry flour remains. Use your hand to knead the dough in the bowl until it forms a shaggy mass, adding additional cream 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and divide in half. Form each piece into a 5-inch square about 3/4-inch thick. With a bench scraper or chef’s knife, cut each square into 4 pieces. Evenly space the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining ½ tablespoon sugar.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 425 degrees. Bake until golden brown on top and bottom, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let the biscuits cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Macerated Strawberries With Lime

Makes about 4 cups

2 pounds strawberries, washed, dried, hulled, and quartered

¼ cup white sugar

4 teaspoons grated lime zest (2 to 3 limes)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

In a large bowl, use a potato masher or fork to mash 2 cups of the strawberries until few chunks remain. Stir in the sugar, zest, and salt. Fold in the remaining strawberries. Cover and let sit until syrupy, at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Tangy Whipped Cream

Makes about 2 cups

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch kosher salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all ingredients. Whisk on low speed until the mixture is uniform and frothy, about 30 seconds. Increase to medium-high speed and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.


Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of complete digital access, plus two issues of Milk Street print magazine, for just $1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.