It's win-win: you don't heat up the kitchen and you still get the best dessert ever.
Fruit-and-dough dessert combos are my favorite. Nothing tastes quite so divine as sugary, syrupy, seasonal fruit enrobed in pastry and topped with soft cream. The only problem is that cobblers, crisps and the like traditionally require an oven, which is something I avoid turning on in the summer. My kitchen has minimal airflow and gets uncomfortably hot.
So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that it's possible to make fruit cobblers without an oven! These oven-less methods are brilliant alternatives that work well for soft summer fruits, like peaches, cherries, blueberries, and apricots.
The microwave method makes a single-sized portion in a coffee mug. You mix a half-cup of your favorite fruit with some sugar and make a small quantity of biscuit topping to dollop on top. It's ready in less than two minutes, once the fruit starts bubbling. Talk about instant gratification! Recipe here.
Slower but suitable for larger amounts, you can cook a cobbler on the barbecue in a cast iron frying pan or a disposable aluminum cake pan (please don't dispose of it, keep it for the next cobbler). It bakes for 25-30 minutes over indirect medium heat, just the amount of time you need to enjoy your grilled dinner. Recipe here.
3. Slow cooker
The slow cooker may not be your first tool of choice when planning dessert, but this might change your thinking. Mix your fruit with sugar and spices and pour into the bottom of the pot. Top with biscuit mix and cook for 2-3 hours until bubbling and cooked through. The time varies depending on whether you've used fresh or frozen fruit. Recipe here.
4. Stove top
You can even make a great cobbler on the stove, as long as you have a tight-fitting lid. Bring the fruit mixture to a gentle simmer, then add dollops of dough that will cook through in about 25 minutes at low heat. Recipe here.
5. In a campfire
Yes, that actually says "in" a campfire. Using a cast iron skillet or a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, you pour your fruit filling in the bottom, top with dough, and nestle in the coals. Shovel some coals onto the lid to ensure even distribution of heat. It should take 45 minutes to an hour, with several changes of coals on the top. Recipe here.