Waxing poetic about no-bake desserts comes naturally to me. Whether it’s co-writing a book about them (Icebox Cakes) or devoting an entire chapter to my beloved refrigerator desserts in my new book, The Vintage Baker, making sweet stuff without turning on the oven is kind of my thing, especially when summer becomes an oppressive onslaught of heat and humidity.
Just as you turn to your grill for savory cooking during the summer, I suggest you turn to your fridge for cool, no-bake desserts. The assembly process is usually minimal, but the challenge is waiting while time and refrigeration work their magic to set up a luscious mascarpone pie or to soften chocolate wafers layered with tahini whipped cream.
In a few instances, I find it’s worthwhile to make small sacrifices to the heat deities: perhaps the stovetop, for cherry compote to accompany a no-bake almond cheesecake, or the oven, to toast hazelnuts for a crust. (Even better, use your toaster oven to brown the nuts—much cooler than heating the oven in the middle of August!)
Be it late-summer berries folded into cream or a crisp cookie crust filled with something decadent and chocolatey, a no-bake dessert is the ideal finish to both casual dinners on the back porch and lantern-lit soirees in the garden.