The fruits of summer, coming from gardens or freshly misted produce sections, somehow seem to make us lose track of the hot, soaring temperatures.
They cool us down with their refreshing bursts of sweetness and color. I love recipes that use summer fruits with minimal stove or oven use, and ones that take minimal preparation time and effort when prepared at someone else’s dinner party.
Here are a few fruits to consider this summer.
VERSATILE MILLIONAIRE PIE
Furr’s Cafeteria, a southwest-based chain, made millionaire pie so popular, and it’s also the first thing I think of when I have access to a fresh pineapple or any fruit that would go well in a cream pie.
Remember; go for the gold when picking a pineapple. The more golden in color, the more ripe and sweet the fruit inside will be. Slicing a pineapple is easy: just cut the top and bottom off to make flat surfaces, so that you can cut off the outer layer very easily without the pineapple slipping out of your grip. Then core it, slice it, chop it finely with a sharp knife and drain it well. Allow it to chill a bit in a covered bowl or plastic zip-top bag for this recipe.
Experiment with any ripe, ready-to-use summer fruit in place of the pineapple. Bananas and strawberries would be good to use, too, and so would peaches.
Aside from browning the ready-made piecrusts for less than 10 minutes, there is no cooking involved with this recipe.
One note: This makes a very thin layer of filling and a larger layer of whipped, fruit-filled topping. Don’t expect it to be the other way around. The filling is wonderful but sweet, and it is the whipped cream that holds all of the “magic,” so you want that to be more plentiful. In fact, I like my pie to have more of a large crown of the whipped stuff, so I double that portion of the recipe. For less topping, just use half the whipped cream.
Makes two cream pies (8-10 servings each)
2 9-inch pastry piecrusts (homemade or frozen)
2 cups confectioner’s powdered sugar, plus 1 cup sifted powdered sugar for whipped topping
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (See note)
1/4 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup fresh pineapple (or other fresh fruit), chopped and patted dry
1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
Coconut flakes for garnish (optional)
Follow the baking instructions for your frozen piecrusts. For a more golden crust, brush outer edges with whisked egg white before baking. Let cool.
Cream 2 cups powdered sugar and the butter with electric mixer on high. Add salt, eggs and vanilla. Beat on high until this light yellow, creamy filling is smooth. Evenly spread the mixture into the two crusts. Chill so that the whipped topping going on next doesn’t fall into the filling.
Whip the heavy cream until stiff. Blend in 1 cup sifted powdered sugar. Fold in pineapple and pecans with a large spatula. Spread this mixture on top of the fillings in the two pies and chill thoroughly for several hours. Top with coconut flakes, if using.
Note: If you do not wish to use raw eggs, simply use imitation eggs such as Egg Beaters, or eggs that have been pasteurized.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 8 servings per pie: 380 calories, 26 grams fat, 35 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 68 milligrams cholesterol, 249 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 60 percent of calories from fat.
— Clare Miers