Cherry pie, apricot tart brûlée plus 10 more sweet and savory recipes for stone fruit season

12 Recipes
Rolled Pavlova With Peaches And Blackberries
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Jam, pies, tarts and salads are just a few ways to use summer’s bounty of cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, raspberries and blackberries.

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Nothing says summer like the sweet, sticky juices of a fresh, fragrant peach dripping down your chin — or plum or nectarine, or any of the stone fruits that come into season in the late spring, peak from June through August and remain available through the early fall.

Technically called drupes, these are fleshy fruits that feature a pit, or “stone,” at their center (hence the name). Along with the aforementioned heavy-hitters, some other stone fruits are apricots (and pluots), cherries, dates, mangoes, green almonds, coconuts, lychees and olives as well as blackberries, raspberries and mulberries. (Wait — raspberries, blackberries and mulberries? Yes, we call them berries, but they are actually aggregate fruits: Each “berry” is in fact a cluster of very small stone fruits. Who knew?)

Delicious and satisfying eaten out of hand, these fruits are also well-suited for baking and cooking with. Here are several ways to use them now that we are in peak season.


Master Stone Fruit Jam

How to make jam out of peaches, plums, apricots or nectarines to capture the best fruit of summer.
Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Yields Makes 5 half-pint jars, or 5 cups

If you want to preserve a lot of fruit and extend the time you can enjoy it, try your hand at jam. For the uninitiated, making jam is way simpler than you think. This Master Stone Fruit Jam recipe will work with peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and variants thereof such as pluots and apriums. And the finished product will keep refrigerated for up to three months. If you want to preserve it longer term, to give, say, as holiday gifts, How to Can Your Jam (If You Want) will guide you through a simple, straightforward process.

Sweet cherry pie

This pie is simple but rich with flavor and a slightly firm texture from the fresh fruit. A little Grand Marnier and vanilla brighten the flavors and add depth to the cherries.
Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

Pies are a natural go-to for stone fruits. Maybe a Sweet Cherry Pie for the Fourth of July? A hint of vanilla and a hit of Grand Marnier give the cherries a bit more depth of flavor.

Nectarine-berry pie with black pepper crust

The rich flavors of nectarine and blackberries play off each other and a judicious pinch of black pepper in the crust adds a mysterious and intriguing dark note.
Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 8

A bit more tart with a spicy edge, Nectarine-Berry Pie With Black Pepper Crust features blackberries along with the nectarines. For a sweeter filling, use white nectarines, which are less tart than the yellow ones. And remember, if you don’t want to fuss with making, chilling and rolling out a crust, store-bought pie crust is always an option. We won’t judge.


Apricot tart brûlée

The ground-almond crust of this tart is sophisticated in flavor and forgiving in preparation. The filling of apricot halves in a rich custard is finished à la creme brûlée.
Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Serves 8

If you don’t mind making a pastry crust but want less of it, an Apricot Tart Brûlée might be just your speed. The ground almond crust is very forgiving to make, and the flavor complements the apricots. You’ll marvel at how easily such deliciousness comes together.

Raspberry tart with hazelnut crust and lemon verbena ice cream

A simple hazelnut crust is filled with a vibrant raspberry puree and topped with whole, unadorned raspberries. A drizzle of acacia honey and a flowery lemon verbena ice cream finish it.
Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 8

Similarly, this Raspberry Tart With Hazelnut Crust And Lemon Verbena Ice Cream uses hazelnut flour in the pastry to complement the tart raspberries some of which are pureed and used in place of pastry cream. The remaining berries are arranged, whole and unadorned on top of the puree give these these individually sized summery desserts an impressive presentation.

Apricot almond galette

Sliced apricots tossed with sugar and almond extract; sliced almonds and fresh raspberries are baked in a free-form crust of rich, buttery, flakey pie dough.
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 6 to 8

For the simplest of pie-like preparations, go for an Apricot Almond Galette. Yes, you make a dough but once rolled out, you pile the fruit into the center and fold up the edges around the fruit. Tossing the apricots with a little sugar and a touch of almond extract enhances the flavor of the fruit. Sliced almonds give the filling a subtle crunch, and a handful of fresh raspberries lend a splash of vibrant red. As the fruit cooks, the flavors evolve and soften to a natural sweetness.


Yeasted Breakfast Cake With Peaches and Plums

Yeast-risen, buttery cake is the best showcase for wedges of ripe peak-season stone fruit.
Time 2 hours 40 minutes, largely unattended
Yields Serves 8

If you seek a moist cake, a Yeasted Breakfast Cake With Peaches And Plums is a great way to show off the beautiful wedges of sweet, ripe fruit. Make it with jam or any other tender, ripe fruit that you have on hand. The recipe details how to accommodate both. For ultimate flexibility, you can bake this cake as soon as you assemble it or put it together the night before and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

Cherry-Almond Upside Down Cake

Almond paste adds sweetness and almond flavor to boost that of the cherries. Its dense texture is balanced by the cherries and their juice as you eat each bite.
Time 55 minutes
Yields Serves 8

Nostalgia-inspired Cherry-Almond Upside Down Cake is rich with almond flavor from almond paste — available at your local grocery store. Spoiler alert: You’ll never again see that classic, pineapple-maraschino cherry upside-down cake in quite the same way.

Peach Crisp With Thyme

Thyme adds herbal freshness to a buttery, brown sugar-sweetened peach crisp with a crunchy crisp topping.

And if you are more about the fruit than the cake or pastry crust, a Peach Crisp With Thyme may be your best option. A graham cracker crust spiked with nutmeg and cinnamon make up the base onto which you pile the peach filling. It is then topped with streusel (a crumble of flour, butter and sugar) and baked. Vanilla ice cream for serving is a must.


Warm Steak Salad with Sherried Cherries

Steak, arugula and cherries macerated in sherry vinegar make for a simple, elegant, doable on a busy weeknight and incredibly delicious meal.
Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 2

On the savory side, macerating fresh cherries in sherry gives bold flavor to this Warm Steak Salad With Sherried Cherries. Made from only five ingredients (if you don’t count the salt and pepper), it is quick and easy to prepare — perfect for a summer weeknight meal.

Summer Kale Salad With Peaches and Pepitas

Juicy peaches, sweet dates and salty roasted pepitas make this lemony kale salad ideal for summer.
Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Swap kale for arugula, peaches or nectarines for the cherries, omit the steak and toss in some dates and pumpkin seeds and you’ve got a vegan Summer Kale Salad With Peaches And Pepitas — no cooking necessary.

Rolled pavlova with peaches and blackberries

Meringue is baked on a sheet pan spread out like a sponge cake. When cooled, it is topped with whipped cream, sliced peaches, blackberries and almonds and rolled up, jelly-roll style.
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 10 to 12

A showstopper of a dessert, Rolled Pavlova With Peaches And Blackberries rolls the fruit inside a spongy meringue rather than simply piling it on top of a firm meringue base as with a typical pavlova. Peaches and blackberries provide great color and contrast, but feel free to swap in whatever fruit looks best at the market when you plan to make it.