When the warm weather hits and the bright colors of seasonal fruit are popping at your local farmers market, it’s time to make summer desserts.

Just think about the diverse textures, from layering plump, juicy strawberries between soft layers of cream to pureeing fresh honey mangoes to make a custard. (Go ahead, think about that. We’ll give you all the time in the world to envision greatness.) To the good, old-fashioned vibe that dark blueberries and peaches carry when they ooze from the sides of a freshly made cobbler, fruit desserts are as eye-pleasing as they are delicious. (Feel free to stop and think about this for a few minutes, too.)

Whether enjoyed out of hand, cooked down for preserves, or baked into a pie, fresh fruit will reward you with the most sumptuous summer desserts. And since fruit is naturally sweet, these summer desserts require less sugar.

We’ve compiled a list of eight fruit-based summer desserts for those long, hot, oven-free summer days and nights, of course. Take your pick of treats for backyard barbecues, Fourth of July picnics, graduation get-togethers, or setting out as a snack after a dip in the pool. Just remember to wait an hour after each slice of pie before doing any cannonballs.

Many of these recipes are templates you can use to swap your preference for any of June’s bright cherriesmangoes, raspberries, strawberries; July’s deep, dark blackberries, blueberries, and local marionberries, and tree fruits, such as Oregold peachesnectarines, and apricots; or August’s grab bag of apples, plums, and Royal Verano pears.

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Theresa Gambacorta is a food writer and 25-year veteran of New York City's restaurant industry. Her writing has appeared in such titles as La Cucina Italiana, Men's Fitness, Muscle and Fitness, and Centennial's special interest publications. She is the co-author of chef Joey Campanaro's Big Love Cooking (Chronicle) and is currently working on a cookbook about Persian cuisine to be published by Knopf.

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