Some people think of summer as salad time; for me, it's dessert season. Time for tart fruity confections, rich custards and all sorts of ice cream inventions.
The latter must hark back to my childhood. I had a Pavlovian response to ice cream trucks. I automatically begged until I was given a quarter for an ice cream sandwich. Although I still love ice cream sandwiches, I can do without the gooey mess. That's why Emily Luchetti's recipe caught my eye. She came up with it when she was a pastry chef in San Francisco. My adaptation follows.
Another favorite dessert is a very adult fruit tart in a filo dough crust. The light, delicate filo dough filled with custard and fruit slices is a delightful alternative to a fruit salad.
Mini Ice Cream Sandwich
Makes 8 sandwiches
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup pink peppermint or chocolate chip ice cream
In bowl of heavy-duty electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light. Stir in flour, salt and cocoa powder. Beat at medium speed just to blend, 3 to 5 minutes. Gather dough into ball. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into balls the size of quarters. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing 2 inches between cookies. There should be 16 cookies. Flatten cookies with fork tines until 1/2 inch thick. Chill cookies on sheet 1 hour.
Bake cookies at 250 degrees until firm and baked through, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cookies cool 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
To make sandwiches, place 2 tablespoons ice cream on 8 cookies. Top with remaining 8 cookies. One or two sandwiches are a serving. Wrap remainder in plastic wrap and freeze up to 1 month.
Custard Fruit Tarts
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 (14-by-18-inch) sheets filo dough
2 small unpeeled plums, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
6 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
Melt butter in small pan. Working with 1 sheet of filo dough at a time, brush with melted butter. Fold filo to 14-by-9-inch rectangle. Brush again with butter. Fold to 7-by-9-inch rectangle.
Ease into 4-inch tart pan. Repeat with remaining butter and filo. Arrange plum slices in filo crust.
In bowl, beat together egg, cream and granulated sugar. Spoon mixture over plum slices. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar over each tart.
Place tarts on baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees until custard is set, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove. Cool 5 minutes. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 1 day.