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Recipes: Three creative berry desserts for summer

Whether in a compote, tart, or crumble, berries help layer in the flavor in these classic dishes.

Blueberry Crumble With Oats and TahiniConnie Miller/of CB Creatives

Peak berry season is an excellent time to find fresh ways to layer flavor into classic recipes. We simmer berries with lavender and lemon zest to make a fresh compote perfect for spooning over pound cake, rice pudding, or even Greek yogurt. Frozen puff pastry makes easy work of a raspberry-mascarpone tart. And in a twist on blueberry crumble, we add tahini to boost the richness of a buttery oat mixture that bakes on top.

Blueberry Crumble With Oats and Tahini

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Old-fashioned oats won’t soften quite enough, so be sure to use quick-cooking oats. Ripe, fresh berries are best but frozen ones will work, too. Look for frozen “wild” blueberries—they’re tiny but pack big flavor. If frozen regular berries are a must, add a few minutes to the baking time, but don’t thaw them before use.


This crumble is delicious warm, with a scoop of ice cream melting on top.

2 pints fresh blueberries or 4 cups frozen blueberries, preferably wild (see headnote)

2 cups (160 grams) quick-cooking oats, divided

¾ cup (162 grams) packed brown sugar, divided

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, cut into 8 pieces, room temperature

¼ cup (64 grams) tahini

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Toasted sesame seeds, optional, for garnish

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup (20 grams) of the oats and ¼ cup (54 grams) of the sugar; transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Wipe out the bowl, then add the remaining 1¾ cups (140 grams) oats, the remaining ½ cup (108 grams) sugar, and the butter, tahini, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until evenly moistened, then use your hands to squeeze the mixture into rough, olive-sized clumps and scatter over the berries. Bake until the edges are bubbling and the crumble is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with the sesame seeds, if using.\


Blueberry-Lavender CompoteConnie Miller/of CB Creatives

Blueberry-Lavender Compote

Makes about 2 cups

Frozen blueberries can be substituted for fresh; just be sure to thaw and drain them first.

15 ounces blueberries (about 3 cups), divided

¼ cup (54 grams) white sugar

2 2-inch strips lemon zest, plus ¼ teaspoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon dried lavender

Pinch of kosher salt

In a medium saucepan, use a potato masher or fork to mash half of the berries. Stir in the sugar, lemon zest, lavender, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Add the remaining blueberries and return it to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the juices thicken and most of the berries have popped, 6 to 8 minutes. Off heat, stir in the lemon juice. Discard the zest and cool to room temperature to serve.

Raspberry-Mascarpone Freeform TartConnie Miller/of CB Creatives

Raspberry-Mascarpone Freeform Tart

Makes 6 servings

Frozen puff pastry makes it possible to bake an easy but elegant freeform tart at a moment’s notice. We roll the thawed pastry into a 10-by-14-inch rectangle before topping and baking it.

Fresh, juicy raspberries find a perfect match in creamy, lightly sweetened mascarpone cheese. You can use cream cheese in place of the mascarpone, but make sure it’s at room temperature so it combines easily with the egg and sugar.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and rolled into a 10-by-14-inch rectangle

2 pints raspberries

4 tablespoons white sugar, divided


¾ cup (170 grams) mascarpone cheese or room-temperature cream cheese

1 large egg

½ teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract

Pinch of table salt

Powdered sugar, optional, for garnish

Heat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the upper-middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment; place the pastry on top. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and 2 tablespoons sugar. In another bowl, whisk the mascarpone, egg, vanilla, salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. With a paring knife, score a 1-inch frame around the edge of the pastry, then poke holes in the pastry with a fork, avoiding the border. Spread the mascarpone mixture inside the border; scatter the raspberries on top. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with powdered sugar, if using.

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.