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Luscious low-fat summer desserts

Ah the sweet irony of summer, the skin-baring season commonly preceded by weeks of diets and workouts that, when the hot weather arrives, are frequently countered with hearty grill fests and frosty ice cream desserts. Since you may not always be able to resist the juicy burgers and extra helping of potato salad, we’ve got some luscious low-fat desserts to help you keep your summer figure.

Berry Crumble

Low-fat Key Lime Curd

Makes 2 cups

Though lime is infamously featured in the summer mojito and famous Key lime pie, this little citrus fruit makes an extraordinary curd for filling flaky phyllo dough shells or dolloping over sponge cake. Key limes are in peak season from June to August and, if unavailable, can be replaced with regular limes for the following curd recipe. This creamy, palate-pleasing dessert may be lower in fat than traditional curds, but it is no less satisfying.

3/4 cup Key lime juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 tablespoons very finely minced lime zest

1. Strain lime juice through a fine sieve into a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in sugar and place pan over medium low heat. As mixture heats up, stir frequently, until sugar has dissolved.

2. Light beat eggs in a large bowl. Slowly add a bit of sugar syrup while whisking the eggs. Gradually add remaining syrup while constantly whisking.

3. Return mixture to the saucepan and place on a burner at medium low heat. Stir in lime zest. Cook, stirring for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Transfer to an airtight container and let cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Note: Stack a few sheets of phyllo on the counter, brushing with butter in between each. Cut into 4-inch squares and fit inside a mini muffin pan. Bake according to package directions or until crispy and lightly browned. Fill with lime custard and garnish with blueberries and a sprig of mint.

Low-fat Blueberry Thyme Crisp

Serves 8

Adding fresh herbs to desserts intensifies their summer flavors. Blueberries and lemon thyme are a delicious duo in this yummy berry crisp. Classic crisps and crumbles derive most of their fat from the butter in the topping. The following low-fat rendition cuts the butter without taking away from the sweet topping crunch.

4 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons lemon thyme leaves
1/4 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup oats (uncooked)
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into smally pieces

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place blueberries, thyme, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice in a large bowl, tossing well to combine. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together oats, flour, brown sugar and salt. Add butter and use your fingers to rub butter into the oat mixture until it forms a coarse meal. Sprinkle oat mixture over blueberries.

4. Bake for 45 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and blueberries are hot and bubbling. Serve with a low-fat ice cream or Greek yogurt.

Low-fat double chocolate sundae

Makes 4

For the chocolate lover, this low-fat double chocolate sundae is the perfect after-BBQ dessert, especially when enjoyed on the grass with the kids or lounging in the patio recliner while winding down for the evening.

2 cups light chocolate ice cream
Dark chocolate sauce
Fresh raspberries
Shredded toasted coconut

Place 1/2 cup ice cream into each of 4 bowls. Drizzle with 1 to 2 teaspoons of chocolate sauce. Scatter with a few raspberries. Sprinkle with 1 to 2 teaspoons shredded coconut. Serve immediately.

More summer dessert recipes

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