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Summer's Just Desserts

An abundance of fresh fruit is one of summer's simple pleasures. Whether you harvest from a home garden, local produce stand, or supermarket, the fruits of summer offer a winning combination of good taste, vitamins, nutrients, and fiber.

For the home gardener a good harvest is often a matter of outfoxing all of nature's other fruit lovers who would like nothing better than to sink a tooth, beak of feeler into something ripe and juice.

In any event, summer is the time for fruit growers to share the fruits of their labor – and what better way to present summer's best than in fresh fruit desserts.

Today's recipes offer a sampling: Fresh Blueberry Pie, Fresh Fruit Kutchen, Nectarine Crumble, Lemon-Blueberry Sponge Pudding.

FRESH BLUEBERRY PIE

11-oz. pkg. pie crust mix, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 2 pt. fresh blueberries, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, 1 T. lemon juice, dash ground cloves, 1 c. sugar, 2 T. butter or margarine, 1/4 c. flour, 1 egg yolk

Prepare crust. Line 9-inch pie plate with one crust; reserve the other for the top. Wash and drain berries. Place in large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add to berries; toss lightly to combine. Turn into pastry lined pie plate, mounding in the center. Dot with butter if desired. Roll out remaining pie crust, adjust over filling, and fold edge under bottom crust; press together and crimp decoratively. Make several slits near the center of top crust for steam vents. Beat egg yolks with 1 T. water. Brush lightly over top crust. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until juices start to bubble through vents and crust is golden brown. Cool one hour before serving.

FRESH FRUIT KUTCHEN

1-1/4 c. flour, 2 peeled peaches, sliced, 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tart apple, sliced thin, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 c. seedless green grapes, 1/4 c. sugar, 1/4 c. butter or margarine, 1 egg, beaten, 1/4 c. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, 3 fresh plums, sliced

topping: 1/4 c. sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 c. margarine, melted, 1/3 c. raspberry jelly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal pan. Into medium bowl, sift flour with baking powder, salt, and sugar. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. With fork stir in egg, milk, and vanilla, mixing until smooth, about one minute. Spread batter evenly in bottom of prepared pan. Arrange plum, peach, and apple slices, slightly overlapping in parallel rows over batter. Arrange grapes in rows between other rows of fruit. Bake 35 minutes or until fruit is tender. Remove to wire rack. Beat jelly with 1 T. hot water; brush over fruit. To serve: cut into rectangles while still warm. Top with whipped cream, if desired. Serves 12.

NECTARINE CRUMBLE

6 nectarines, sliced, 1 T. fresh lemon juice, 3/4 c. flour, 2/3 c. uncooked oats, 1/3 c. pecans, chopped, 1/2 c. cold margarine, cut up, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 c. packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a shallow 1-1/2 to two quart baking dish. Mix nectarines and lemon juice in the baking dish. Distribute fruit evenly. Mix flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar and allspice in medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or rub in with fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit, then press down gently. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until fruit is tender when pierced, juices bubble and topping is crisp and lightly browned. Serve warm of at room temperature. Serves 8.

LEMON-BLUEBERRY SPONGE PUDDING

2 tsp. plus 6 T. margarine, room temperature, 1 c. sugar, 4 lg. eggs, separated, (whites at room temperature), 1 tsp. grated lemon peel, 1/4 c. lemon juice, 1/3 c. flour, 1-1/2 c. milk, 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar, 1-1/3 c. blueberries, confectioners' sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. With the 2 tsp. of butter, grease a 2-1/2 quart baking dish or deep dish pie plate. In large bowl with electric mixer, beat 6 T. butter and the sugar 2 minutes or until mixture looks like wet sand. Beat in egg yolks, lemon peel and juice and flour until blended. Gradually add milk and beat until mixture is smooth. Add cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat with clean beaters just until stiff but not dry peaks form when beaters are lifted. Stir about 1/4 of the egg whites into lemon mixture until blended. Gently stir in remaining whites until no white streaks remain. Scatter blueberries over bottom of prepared dish. Pour in egg white mixture. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until puffed and top is golden. Remove to wire rack to cool (middle will sink and top may crack). Dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.