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Raw Berry Coconut Tart prepared at Gather Food Studio in Colorado Springs. (Chancey Bush/ The Gazette)

“Light and refreshing” sums up everything we like about summertime fruit desserts. Add to that the vivid colors of berries and the juiciness of stone fruits — peaches, plums, nectarines — and you have all the reasons you need to keep low-calorie sweet treats at your fingertips.

We talked to some experts about their go-to summer desserts.

“We love to do alternative ice creams,” said Cortney Smith, co-owner with David Cook of Gather Food Studio. “Like Dave’s recipe for a vegan coconut and strawberry ice cream that uses coconut milk rather than dairy.”

The recipe has only five ingredients, making it super easy to prepare in a food processor, and does not require the use of an ice cream maker. You do need to whisk it every 30 minutes for the first three to four hours, until the mixture is firm enough to scoop.

She says gelato is another good option. It can be made in home ice cream machines that have a gelato setting, such as Cuisinart.

“Most people tend to think that it is higher in fat content, when it actually uses milk instead of cream,” she said. “We use a lower churning speed and lower freezing temperature to give it that silky, creamy texture. So, while it might seem extra decadent, it’s actually a great choice over high-fat ice creams.”

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When it comes to healthful desserts, Smith’s go-to recipe is raw berry coconut cream tart, which uses Medjool dates for sweetness and unsweetened coconut cream as an alternative to dairy.

For something completely different, check out her recipe for pressure cooker mixed berry crumble, which follows.

Or use Colorado’s wonderful Palisade peaches to make Smith’s light-as-a-feather chiffon pie. The chilled pie is a mixture of cooked peaches thickened with gelatin and folded together with whipped cream for a silky filling. It’s poured into a cookie crumb pie shell and chilled until it sets.

Meridith Norwood, a physical therapist, nutritionist with Juice Plus and Jazzercise instructor, practices low-calorie eating. But she doesn’t skip chocolate desserts such as brownies. That’s because she cuts fat in the otherwise rich dessert by replacing butter with applesauce.

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Her go-to fruit dessert, which “has stood the test of time,” starts with those brownies, cut into bite-size pieces.

“In a deep trifle bowl, make layers of brownie pieces, slices of organic strawberries and bananas, and top with TruWhip or coconut whipped cream,” she said.

Here are the recipes to get on your way to sweet endings for summer meals.

Contact the writer: 636-0271.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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