Cold Desserts For Hot Days

Baked Alaska with raspberry sorbet, no-churn lime ice cream and meringue, as seen on Zoe Bakes, season 2.

When the dog days of summer hit I find myself looking forward to cooler weather, fall flavors, and days of baking in the oven without worrying about heating up the house. It’s not that I don’t like summer, but the Minnesota seasons are so rich and distinct that partway through one I look forward to the next. To help live in the moment, I put together this list of some of my favorite summer treats. There’s still plenty of (hot) summer left and these cold desserts are tasty and fun treats to make without worrying about heating up your house (or yourself).

For more cool treats, check out my Ice Cream 101.

Hot Weather Treats

This is my modern take on peach melba, fresh peaches with ice cream and croquant. Traditionally a Peach Melba is nothing more than peach, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. I stuck to peaches throughout, so the ice cream and whipped cream have peach puree added to them.
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A semifreddo is a cross between ice cream and mousse, but doesn't require any special equipment to prepare. The texture is smooth and luxurious when allowed to sit at room temperature until it just on the verge of melting, but still partially cold, hence the name. 
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The inspiration for this dessert came from Instagram. I asked my followers what to make with 10 pounds of rambutan, the response was overwhelming for sorbet and panna cotta. So, this is my interpretation of those suggestions: Coconut Panna Cotta with Tropical Sorbet.
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This Baked Alaska is a showstopper of a dessert. You can be as fancy as you’d like, making the ice cream and sorbet from scratch, or using store-bought. And your meringue can be crazy or tame, but lighting it on fire is not optional in my book!
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This is one of those desserts that looks magical and stands so far above the rim of the vessel that it seems to defy reason and gravity. It's really only three elements blended together (passion fruit curd, meringue and whipped cream), then frozen into an elegant semifreddo in the shape of a baked soufflé. The texture is a cross between an airy mousse and ice cream.
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Every summer treat list should include an ice cream sandwich or two. I love this recipe because the coffee ice cream is a great way to make a more sophisticated version of a classic frozen dessert. The bonus here is that the no-churn ice cream is super simple to make.
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The honey flavor is mellow and delicate with just a subtle hint of saffron in the ice cream. My family loved this recipe and I hope you do too! My ice cream inspiration came from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.
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There are some secrets to great ice cream. It doesn't have to be complicated or difficult, but having the right ingredients, technique and equipment can go a long way toward success. Here are 5 tips for creamy ice cream every time and a recipe for my family's favorite strawberry sour cream ice cream. This recipe comes from The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments.
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You'll be shocked to learn the trick to making perfect sorbet. In fact, I'm not going to give it away here, because the science behind this hack is so fun and interesting that you just need to check out the whole recipe to believe it. Choose your favorite fruit juice and prepare to be amazed.
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Inspired by Claudia Flemming's book, The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern from Random House, frozen Orange-Blossom Honey Mousse is topped with Blood Orange Sorbet to create my idea of the perfect creamsicle and then topped it with a Rosemary and Orange Meringue.
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I may be burying the lede with this lemon curd fool because this light and refreshing dessert is truly perfect for summer. The sweet berry salsa pairs with the tart lemon curd for a cooling bite on the hottest days.
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There's a secret inside this vegan mango mousse. It's called acquafaba, and if you don't know what it is, read on, because it adds a frothy vegan whip to the pureed mango. You'll be as shocked as I why was by the magic ingredient that pulls this light treat together.
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When it's hot and muggy, but you want a dessert to impress this S'mores Icebox Cake is the exact answer. All the best things about the classic summer camping dessert without the fire (okay, just a bit of blowtorching, but that's too fun to resist). Please note: this recipe makes A LOT of meringue for the dramatic effect shown in the photos.
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I seek out Key lime pie all year long, so I can't call it a wholly hot weather treat. However, with tart, tropical Key limes as the star, I definitely endorse this as a summer treat. My recipe toes the line of sourness with the amount of lime I use, but the result is a creamy and tart balance that hits just right.
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This homemade jello dessert is nothing but pure, ripe, sweet strawberries pureed and set with a bit of gelatin in a fun mold. A bowl of perfect strawberries and cream is nice, but when you present this regal dessert, it will take anyone's breath away.
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