Joni Woolf: Easy desserts for summertime enjoyment

Published 2:02 pm Saturday, July 6, 2019

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Looking for a specific dessert to prepare for tonight, and sure I had written about it recently, I went to my computer files and searched. It was not there. Then I went to the hard copies I keep of all the articles I’ve written, and searched diligently. It was not there. And when I finally went to one of my favorite cookbooks, looking for it, it was not as I remembered! Somewhere, recently, I have seen a recipe for Peach Shortcake, but alas — it cannot be found in this house search. It’s a simple enough recipe, and I’m preparing it tonight for dinner up the hill, as we welcome a granddaughter home for the holiday weekend, along with her significant other. The other granddaughter will be here, too, so it will be a joyful family get-together. I am using Louise Dodd’s recipe for Strawberry Shortcake, as found in her “Eating from the White House to the Jail House” cookbook. Of course, I’m changing it, as cooks do all the time when they realize they are short of a necessary ingredient. Her recipe calls for Bisquick, and I thought I had some on hand. But since I make biscuits from scratch, I seldom have the need for Bisquick, so I’ll be using self-rising flour and butter to make an equivalent shortcake. But here is Louise’s; her recipes never fail to please.


Strawberry Shortcakes

2 ½ cups Original Bisquick

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted

½ cup milk

Sweetened sliced strawberries (I’m using a quart of sliced peaches, sweetened with ½ cup sugar)

Whipped cream

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Stir together Bisquick, sugar, butter, and milk until soft dough forms. Drop by 6 spoonsful onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Split shortcakes, fill and top with strawberries and whipped cream. (Note: Louise says she makes the biscuits about 3 inches in diameter and not too thick because “by the time I get it all stacked up it’s tall enough.” I’ll follow her advice.


When you’re browsing through a cookbook, one thing leads to another, and another, and soon I was reading about Len Berg’s Macaroon Pie. Some readers of my generation may have visited Len Berg’s Restaurant in the Post Office Alley in Macon (always an interesting place to search for parking). They offered several signature dishes, including H.M.F.P.I.C, which they advertised on a large billboard when summer came around each year (it stands for Home Made Fresh Peach Ice Cream, but all the locals knew so they never spelled it out). But a pie they served defied definition. It included the word macaroon, which generally indicates coconut in the recipe, but there’s no coconut to be found in this one. Nevertheless, it is quite good, so easy to make, and satisfied a wide range of taste buds. I recommend it for ease, for taste, and for simple, easily available ingredients.


Len Berg’s Macaroon Pie

12 saltine crackers

12 dates, chopped

½ cup pecans, chopped

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 egg whites, beaten dry

Mix first 5 ingredients; to this mixture add egg whites which have been beaten dry. Pour into greased aluminum pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.


A third pie from Louise’s collection is called simply Summertime Pie. It has only six ingredients, and the only cooking required is for the pie crust. Try this on a summer day when you want something sweet, but don’t want to go to much trouble.


Summertime Pie

½ cup chopped pecans

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

1 cup whipping cream

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Press pecans into the bottom of the pie crust. Bake pie crust in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 12 minutes or until done. Set aside to cool. Whip cream and set aside. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into completely cooled pie crust and refrigerate until set. Garnish with sweetened fruit, such as strawberries, peaches, or cherries.


So here are three easy summertime desserts that won’t have you in the kitchen during the hottest time of the year. Get cooking!


Joni Woolf, a writer and editor, now lives in Schley County, having moved from her home in Macon several years ago. Contact her at