Strawberries, rhubarb, and pea greens, oh my! Spring is almost here, and with it the ability to whip up all sorts of delicious seasonal sweets. Winter was the time for Californian and Floridian citrus to shine, but as we set aside the glorious broiled grapefruit and blood-orange cakes of colder days, it’s nice to remember that—along with finer weather—all the delicious harbingers of spring await.
As you happily select asparagus and rainbow chard at the market, keep an eye peeled for herbs and fruit, too! Soft, bright thyme and mint are in season, along with a bevy of berries and other fruit. Below are a few of our favorite recipes, plus one you can use to usher winter out the door.
Rhubarb and strawberries often mingle in desserts, and for good reason. The sweetness of the latter balances out the bright, vegetal notes of the former. But rhubarb can hold its own, and this stellar crumble recipe shows you how it’s done. Brown sugar, sweet crystallized ginger, and white sugar act as foils for the vegetable, and almonds lend a welcome crunch. A scoop of ice cream—as always—makes a smart finishing touch.
California fig season starts in mid-May, and if you’ve never had these luscious, delicate beauties when they’re at their peak, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Whether paired with ricotta, honey and black pepper, sliced in half and drizzled with high-quality olive oil, or folded into a killer dessert, they’re divine. This fig tart—with its lush bed of mascarpone, a layer of fruit, and eye-popping, spring-green pistachios—is downright breathtaking. Bonus: It’s ready in a flash.
Apricot season can vary wildly by the year, but often the sunrise-hued beauties start popping up at the market as early as May. As is true of figs, they’re lovely with soft cheeses like mascarpone and ricotta, or flaked with fresh pepper and drizzled with honey or oil. We particularly love this five-star clafoutis recipe, ready in about an hour. Super-ripe apricots get a sprinkling of brandy or Cognac in their skillet.
Pour in blended eggs, milk, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, flour, and salt, and pop in the oven until set. For a final flourish, scoop ice cream on top, to melt like a dream.
Few things lift the mood like the first bright tulips and the spry market strawberries, rosy in their verdant buckets. There’s almost no wrong way to make strawberries wonderful. Fold them with balsamic vinegar and drizzle them on panna cotta. Spin them into homemade ice cream. And please, please don’t forget about iconic strawberry shortcake.
We daydream about them for a reason. These biscuit-like shortcakes are a snap to make, ready in a little more than half an hour.
If you’re a person who loves sweets with a savory element, no doubt you’ve played around with thyme before. When paired with apples or figs, vanilla or strawberries, thyme can add a wonderfully, barely-there savory note to an otherwise sweet dish. We quite love these tartlets, which walk that line to beautiful effect.
Caramelized apples and onions mingle with Gruyère and easy-as-pie frozen puff pastry to make these a delightful final sweet note for brunch, lunch or supper.
It takes only a grasshopper pie or a Thin Mint cookie to remember how yummy chocolate and mint are together. This stunning tart looks like you bought it at a French bakery. Since fresh mint is a large part of what makes it shine, be sure to use the freshest you can find. (It’s in season right now!) Our favorite part of this recipe? You can make it in advance, let it come to room temperature during the final course, and serve it. (No warming, no garnishing — just serve with something sparkling, and enjoy.
The start of spring tends to be the tail end of Meyer lemon season, which generally runs from November to March. Their flavor is sweet and memorable, so snap up a few and turn them into something gorgeous before they disappear. Squeeze them and spin their juice into bourbon or Aperol sours, or make this knockout tart.
It’s ready in half an hour, believe it or not, and relies on a simple homemade or store-bought lemon curd. Just as easy as key lime pie, it produces a similarly ecstatic reaction—and it’s just as delicious.