The best summer desserts are simple to make, portable for picnics, and highlight the season's sweet, luscious fruit. Trifle would be at the top of my own list.
While its name might lead you to think that this dish is of little consequence, it belongs in the pantheon of fantastic frugal food, along with panzanella (another wonderful summer dish) and pain perdue (good anytime of the year or day). Back when little bits of bread or cake were far too valuable to toss away, even if stale as a board, cooks invented ingenious ways to use up every last crumb. Dry cake has a way of soaking up endless flavor and, in the process, transforming itself into a silken gift.
A recent pile of cake trimmings, a bit too much creme fraiche in my refrigerator, and a few overripe peaches, combined with favorite pantry staples, Knob Creek Bourbon and Sonoma Syrup, melted together into a most heavenly dessert. Sherry, amaretto, Cointreau, or even orange juice could have stood in for the simple syrup and booze, but do keep in mind that the English call this Tipsy Cake for good reason.