Short and Sweet
Barely cooked desserts that bring out the best in fruit.

How about a nice piece of fruit? Better yet, how about several nice pieces of fruit, cooked just enough to intensify their peak-season flavor (something even the fickle gods of the Greenmarket can't guarantee). To finish a summer meal, nothing tops a juicy peach -- except maybe the caramel-drenched peach upside-down cake from Craft. Or Théo's fragrant, cinnamon-spiced blackberry cobbler with candied-ginger cream. We love the pâtisserie-window looks of the rustic apricot galette from the just-published Chez Panisse Fruit, with Jacques Pépin's "crunch tart" dough and a mix of crushed almonds and amaretti that Alice Waters and her cooks call "moondust." There's a very-berry summer pudding from JUdson Grill (pictured) that could pass for a napoleon: a layered construction of cinnamon brioche toast and crème fraîche–enriched yogurt. A barely cooked berry compote nestles up to Craft's fluffy steamed lemon pudding. We haven't decided whether frying rum-macerated peaches in a light and crunchy beer beignet batter, as they do at Town, completely obliterates any vestigial nutritional benefits, but frankly we couldn't care less. And what do you call Blue Fin's glass full of citrusy cream, juicy watermelon, and cantaloupe, and a shower of shaved melon granita? Simply parfait.
Peach Upside-Down Cake   Lemon Steamed Pudding With Berry Compote
  Karen Demasco, Craft     Karen Demasco, Craft
Apricot Galette   Summer Pudding
  Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Fruit     Deborah Snyder, JUdson Grill
Frozen Melon Parfait   Blackberry Cobbler
  Joseph Murphy, Blue Fin     Sonia El-Nawal, Theo
Summer Fruit Beignets    
  Nancy Kershner, Town