As the sun comes out, get your sweet fix with these refreshing desserts.

So many of our great British puddings are associated with winter, in all their rich, dense, gooey and indulgent glory. For a hit of sweetness at the end of a summer meal, we tend to reach for the strawberries and cream as a default – but just occasionally, we fancy something with a little more decadence, while still hitting those light refreshing notes that we crave in the summer months.

The good news is that this quintet of stunning desserts are all make-ahead and served cold, so there’s no cooking to do if you’ve got guests coming for a summer feast or a barbecue in the garden. All that’s left to do is uncork a bottle of something chilled and dig in. Bon appetit.

Griddled Peach Pavlova With Mascarpone Cream


We are big fans of cook-ahead food, especially when you’ve got guests coming. Of no course is this truer than dessert. Who needs any more fuss towards the end of the meal when you’ve already rattled through a couple of courses? As with all meringues, this Griddled Peach Pavlova With Mascarpone Cream can be made ahead and then, on the day, all you need to do is griddle the peaches and spoon in the mascarpone cream. Pavlovas can seem daunting, but once you have the knack, they’re great to have in your repertoire of versatile staples, since you can always embellish with whatever fruits you like to make them as seasonal as you like. The peaches, with a scattering of refreshing mint are, however, a total summery knock-out and we heartily recommend this recipe. Chewy and crunchy, it’s the perfect sweet finale to an al fresco repast.

Photo credit: Olive Magazine/ Charlie Richards

Limoncello Tiramisu

Cooking With Nonna

Tiramisu literally translates as ‘pick-me-up’. We adore the classic, but in the summer, this rendition with a citrussy twist does exactly what it promises on the proverbial tin. For Italophiles – and especially those with a soft spot for the resplendent Amalfi coast – the addition of light yet potent limoncello in place of the usual marsala, is remarkably redolent of that rugged shoreline, those terraced vineyards and the postcard-perfect coastal villages. Aside from the addition of fresh slices of lemon to give some extra fresh zing to the limoncello, the rest of the recipe is just as you would make the traditional version, which makes it a doddle for those who’ve been making tiramisu for years. And since the area’s much-exported tipple is known to be a digestivo, we could even perhaps regard this is as good for us. Well, maybe.

Strawberry Tart

Great British Chefs

Summer invariably sees us gorging on fruit, as so many of our favourites hit their sweet stride. Yet, if we had to choose one that was emblematic of the great British summer, it would undoubtedly be the strawberry. Starting with Wimbledon in June, which always reignites our love for these red jewels, we’ll be savouring every last sweet bite until autumn rolls around. This simple strawberry tart recipe from Pascal Aussignac is perfect. It is very easy to make, but do note it will take a certain amount of planning ahead on account of the requisite two-hour resting time. Aussignac’s recipe for shortbread pastry required here is painless and straightdforward, and we love the addition of a few sprigs of lemon thyme to cut through the sweetness. You’ll also need to marinade your strawberries in honey and rosé wine, which adds a fantastic depth of flavour to our favourite fruit. We’ll be making this one all summer long.

Frozen Chocolate and Hazelnut Cheesecake


Our instinct for summery puddings is usually to veer towards the fruity, the citrussy and the light. And yet even when the sun is shining, we still occasionally crave some outrageous indulgence. In accordance with that hankering comes this recipe for Frozen Chocolate and Hazelnut Cheesecake, whose summery credentials are thanks simply to the fact it is frozen. And it is that coldness that really makes it work, cutting through the rich Nutella, the crunchy roasted hazelnuts and the old-fashioned bourbon biscuits. Given that we’ve never quite moved past a childhood love of chocolate spread, this one completely irresistible as far as we’re concerned. Just keep any course that precedes this light to ensure that you have the space to enjoy this pudding to the full. The whole affair makes our inner seven-year-old absurdly happy. You’re welcome.

Summer Pudding

Jamie Oliver

Summer Pudding is always a refreshing way to conclude a summer lunch taken in the sunshine. We love Jamie Oliver’s fresh take on it, which advises spreading a little jam on the bread to prevent it from getting too soggy. Do note, you’ll need to make it the night before so that it soaks up all the juices – but in every other regard this is an extremely simple and reliably stunning looking seasonal pudding.

By Nancy Alsop
Updated August 2021


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Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.