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For end-of-summer desserts, keep your eyes on fresh fruit. Layer cakes and chocolate tortes can take a hike. When dining in the light of a balmy sunset, savoring the simplicity of perfectly ripened berries or stone fruit is a wonderful way to end the day.

(Or, frankly, to begin the next one if you save some for breakfast.)

Yet even the most luscious fruit deserves some tender loving care -- with a capital C. We're talking about crisps, cobblers, crumbles and clafoutis.

Mastering these simple concepts lets us mix and match a variety of fruits with toppings, from a billowy peach cobbler to a toothsome blueberry crisp.

The good news is that all of these desserts are delicious. It's fruit.

It's summer. You know the alternative.

So with blissfully little trepidation, we've compiled a chart we're calling the Four C's of fruit desserts, arbitrarily assigning certain attributes to crisps, cobblers, crumbles and clafoutis. The ingredients are kitchen staples: flour, sugar, spices, butter, eggs.

The accompanying recipes pair certain toppings with a particular fruit, but feel free to change it up, putting dollops of the cornmeal-flecked cobbler dough on the blueberry filling, or pouring the brandy-spiked clafouti batter over the nectarines.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream and a sunset.

>Peach-Raspberry Cobbler

4 cups peaches, in 1-inch pieces

1 cup fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup fine cornmeal

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces

1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with butter or baking spray, or divide among individual dishes.

In a bowl, gently mix together peaches, raspberries, lemon juice, brown sugar, ginger and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix the butter into the flour by pinching with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the butter is evenly distributed. Add the buttermilk and stir until just mixed.

Top the fruit with dollops of the dough, letting the fruit show through.

Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the biscuits are golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Serves 6.

Note: Many peaches are less "fuzzy" these days, so peeling may not be necessary. This recipe is adapted from "The Lee Brothers Simple Fresh Southern" by Matt and Ted Lee.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 230; fat: 7 g; sodium: 485 mg; saturated fat: 4g; carbohydrates: 42 g; calcium: 120 mg; protein: 3g; Cholesterol: 16 mg; dietary fiber: 4 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 fruit, 2 other carb, 1 1/2 fat.

***

>Blueberry Crumble

4 cups blueberries

1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon lime zest

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

6 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces and softened

Preheat oven to 350 degees. Place one rack in bottom position and another in the upper half of oven. Coat 8-inch-square dish with baking spray.

Combine blueberries, 1/3 cup sugar, lime juice, zest, cornstarch and cinnamon. Pour into baking dish and cover with foil. Place on upper oven rack.

Combine flour, brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, walnuts, salt and vanilla. Mix the butter into the flour by pinching with your fingers until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture starts to hold together. Turn out onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and spread into an even layer. Place on bottom rack of oven and bake for 12 minutes.

Remove both fruit and crumble from oven, and uncover the fruit. Crumble the partially baked topping over the fruit and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Return to the lower rack of the oven and bake until fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden, another 15 to 20 minutes, checking after 10 minutes to make sure topping isn't browning too fast.

Serves 6.

Note: This recipe is adapted from the America's Test Kitchen's "Family Baking Book." Walnuts may be toasted in a microwave oven on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn.

Per serving: Calories 414; fat 18g; sodium 184 mg; saturated fat 8 g; carbohydrates 61g; calcium 30 mg; protein 5g; cholesterol 31 mg; dietary fiber 4 g.

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 fruit, 1 bread/starch, 2 other carb, 3 1/2 fat.

***

>Nectarine Crisp

6 cups sliced nectarines

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

6 tablespoons butter, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8-inch-square baking dish with baking spray, or use individual dishes.

Mix together nectarines, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt.

Pour into baking dish.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add 3 tablespoons of butter into the flour by pinching with your fingers until the butter is evenly distributed in small clumps. Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit. Melt remaining butter and drizzle over the topping.

Bake for 30 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and topping is browned. Let cool slightly before serving.

Serves 8.

Note: This recipe is adapted from www.marthastewart.com.

Per serving: Calories 250; fat 9g; sodium 244 mg; saturated fat 6 g; carbohydrates 40g; calcium 45 mg; protein 3g; cholesterol 23 mg; dietary fiber 3 g.

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 fruit, 1 bread/starch, 1/2 other carb, 2 fat.

***

>Plum Clafouti

Butter for pan

3 cups sliced plums

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon brandy or other liqueur, if desired

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place rack in middle position. Thoroughly butter a 10-inch baking dish or individual dishes.

Arrange the plum slices in the baking dish, making sure some are skin side up, and sprinkle with brown sugar.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brandy and vanilla. Add flour to milk mixture, whisking vigorously until no lumps remain. Pour the batter over the fruit and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until puffed and golden. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Note: This recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour's "The Baking Companion."

Per serving: calories 250; fat 4g; sodium 255 mg; saturated fat 1 g; carbohydrates 47g; calcium 91 mg; protein 7g; cholesterol 110 mg; dietary fiber 2 g.

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 fruit, 2 other carb, 1 medium-fat meat.