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Fresh Fruit : Take a Light Bite of Summer

June 03, 1993|DONNA DEANE | TIMES FOOD STYLIST

Every year at just about this time, summer fruits start rolling into the stores. And every year at just about this time, we take a bite of the first peach or berry of the season. Winter was long, last year's peaches are just a memory, and that first bite is always so refreshing that we invariably assure one another that the fruit is especially good this year. We go through this ritual every year, but this year there's a difference. This year, it's true.

Thanks to the torrential rains of winter, the fruit this summer is particularly plump. Walk through the produce aisle of any market, inhale the aroma of the ripe fruit, and you will get an idea of what's in store. The fruits this summer are so big and juicy that you'll want to simply eat them out of hand--at first. But then, when it's time for a little extra excitement, you'll want to take advantage of these extraordinary fruits by making them into spectacular desserts.

The idea behind these recipes is to preserve the integrity of each fruit by keeping the flavors simple. You won't find anything tricky or fancy here. What you will find are six great desserts, all very low in fat and very high in flavor.

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This pie is absolutely irresistible and extraordinarily fresh-tasting. The recipe comes from Kathie Jenkins' mother, Ardell Kochevar of Aurora, Minn. If you like to experiment, try other fresh fruits, such as raspberries or peaches, in place of blueberries.

JUNE BLUEBERRY PIE 3 cups blueberries Water Juice of 1 lemon 3/4 cup sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1 (9-inch) Low-Fat Pastry Crust, baked Non-fat non-dairy whipped topping

Mint leaves

Wash blueberries, drain. Set aside few blueberries for garnish.

Measure 1 cup berries, 2 tablespoons water, lemon juice and sugar into medium saucepan. Heat to boiling. Heat and stir 3 minutes. Blend together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir into blueberries.

Bring to boil. Heat and stir until thickened and clear. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining blueberries. Turn into cooled baked pie shell. Chill until set. Pipe with non-fat, non-dairy whipped topping. Garnish with blueberries and mint leaves. Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains about: 216 calories; 181 mg sodium; 12 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 43 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.74 gram fiber.

Low-Fat Pastry Crust 1 cup cake flour 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon baking powder 3 tablespoons butter, cut up 2 tablespoon thawed nonfat egg substitute (equivalent to 1/2 egg) 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons water 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter until size of small peas. Combine egg substitute, water and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture with fork. Gather dough into small flattened round.

Chill for ease in handling. Roll on lightly floured board to fit 9-inch pie plate. Gently pierce bottom and sides with fork. Bake at 375 degrees 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to wire rack to cool. Makes 1 (9-inch) pie shell.

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Be sure to select peaches that are ripe but still firm. Don't sugar the peaches until just before you spoon them over the biscuit dough; otherwise the fruit will be so juicy it will make the dough hard to handle.

ROLLED PEACH BISCUITS WITH CINNAMON SYRUP 7 peaches, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups) 1 tablespoon lemon juice Sugar 2 cups water Cinnamon 2 cups flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup non-fat milk 1/4 cup butter, melted

Combine peaches, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.

Combine 1 cup sugar, water and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Heat to boiling and remove from heat. Set aside.

Combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk and butter. Mix just until blended. Gather dough into ball and roll on lightly floured surface to 12x9-inch rectangle.

Spoon peaches evenly over rolled-out dough and roll up from long side. Cut into 12 slices.

Carefully arrange slices cut side up in 13x9-inch baking pan or 10-inch round deep baking dish. Pour hot syrup around biscuits.

Sprinkle top of biscuits with mixture of 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.

Bake at 450 degrees 20 to 25 minutes until biscuits are baked through and top is browned. Serve warm. Makes 12 servings.

Each serving contains about: 202 calories; 253 mg sodium; 11 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.33 gram fiber.

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Made the usual way, this moist Italian-style cheesecake would have 345 calories and 16 grams of fat per serving. By using fat-free ricotta cheese and sour cream, we've eliminated half the fat. The crust is made by simply sprinkling crushed vanilla wafers over the bottom of the pan; it bakes into a perfect crust. The blackberry glaze is not only beautiful but also adds intense flavor to the orange-flavored cheesecake.

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