If the idea of using summer fruits in pies and cakes appeals to you, but you fear the effects of summer heat on you and your creations, follow a few simple rules and keep the heat at bay:
* Get organized. If you need a dessert for a party or another occasion, plan ahead. Cake layers and batches of dough (or dough-lined pans) can be frozen for a few weeks if well wrapped.
* Mix doughs and, after they have chilled, roll them out early in the day before the kitchen has had a chance to warm up, and especially before you turn on the oven. Refrigerate doughs overnight for maximum cold and firmness.
* Prepare a baked dessert the day before you need it to avoid overheating yourself and your guests on the day of a party. If necessary, reheat a pie or tart for five minutes so that the pastry regains a freshly baked texture.
* Avoid the use of whipped cream, butter cream or gooey chocolate desserts that may melt and topple in the heat.
* If you need to whip cream to accompany a dessert, pour the cream into the bowl in which you will whip it. Place the bowl of cream in the freezer until ice crystals form in the cream at the edge of the bowl. By doing this, you will keep the cream cold enough, even though you will be whipping warm air into it. To be extra-careful, set the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water during the whipping.