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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Back on Earth, it's summertime, and the kitchen is, well, a little too hot for big-time baking. Still, there are hungry mouths just watering for something sweet. Now, normally, we'd consult a favorite cookbook or perhaps tear open a foody magazine. But why do that when I can ring up my kitchen coach, the master baker Dorie Greenspan.

(Soundbite of phone ringing)

Ms. DORIE GREENSPAN (Baker): Hi there.

NORRIS: Hi.

Ms. GREENSPAN: How have you been?

NORRIS: I'm wonderful. How are you?

Ms. GREENSPAN: Well, I'm pretty good too.

NORRIS: Dorie is the author of "Baking: From My Home to Yours," and she's been helping me gain confidence with flour, butter, eggs and a few other ingredients this year.

So Dorie, I have a bunch of picnics and crab fests and family gatherings coming up this summer, and I need to find a few desserts that will do a few things for me. They A, need to be quick and easy.

Ms. GREENSPAN: Okay.

NORRIS: B, they need to take advantage of the bounty of summer fruit.

Ms. GREENSPAN: Great time to be doing anything with fruit, right?

NORRIS: Perfect. Perfect. And C, they need to store or travel easily, and it goes without saying that need to be drop-dead delicious.

Ms. GREENSPAN: Oh, delicious. Okay, we can do all of those things. We can certainly do delicious.

NORRIS: Okay, when I was paging through the cookbook, there are few things that caught my eyes - the mixed berry cobbler and the strawberry-rhubarb crisp.

Ms. GREENSPAN: Two good choices. I just love the cobbler. A cobbler, as you know, is just fruit, fruit, fruit and some kind of crust on top. The one that I really like is a buttery, flaky biscuit topping. And so you put the fruit in the bowl and then you roll out - well you can even pat it out, it's so easy -this crust and you bake it, and then the fruit just bubbles up all over the crust. It's great. And this would be easy to just put into a basket and take to a picnic.

NORRIS: Now, here's my question. In the recipe, you call for using good for cobbler, frozen berries. Can you swap that out for...

Ms. GREENSPAN: Or fresh...

NORRIS: ...fresh fruit?

Ms. GREENSPAN: ... if you read down a little bit - next line it says, or fresh.

NORRIS: Okay.

Ms. GREENSPAN: Whisk frozen berries - it's for winter. But right now, we have such great stuff in the market, no reason to think of frozen.

NORRIS: Another question, can you add to the berries just a little bit of peach?

Ms. GREENSPAN: Yes. You might want to peel the peach with a little bit of extra work. Actually, you know, if you use nectarines, you don't have to peel them.

NORRIS: Oh, really? Because I always think that nectarines have too much water, too much liquid.

Ms. GREENSPAN: No, you could use them in this. It's the fruit and the sauce that you're getting that way. So you don't have to worry about using juicy fruits in a crisp or cobbler.

NORRIS: So speaking of that crisp, I want to ask you about the strawberry-rhubarb crisp, which uses that sort of traditional oatmeal topping. This, in this case, above and below the fruit. And before we actually talk about it, for those who are not familiar with rhubarb, could you tell us about rhubarb? And I guess it's not really a fruit, is it? It's actually a vegetable.

Ms. GREENSPAN: I think technically it's a vegetable, but we treat it as a fruit. It looks like way overgrown celery. They're long, long stalks and they're beautiful pink, so tart and it has to be used with sugar. You can't possibly eat it unsweetened. It's perfect with strawberries and this is like one of those great moments where you can get both rhubarb and strawberry in the market. The crisp topping, which is kind of streuselly topping, I do two things with it. I use it as a bottom crust, very unusual in a crisp - really unorthodox - and then I almost jelly the strawberry and then put the crisp and the rest of the topping over it like streusel, so that what you get is almost like a cookie bar when you cut it.

NORRIS: Well, Dorie, thank you so much for helping me out of this fix. Good choices all.

Ms. GREENSPAN: Well, I hope you have a delicious - I almost said a very nice week.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GREENSPAN: I hope you have a great weekend baking with your friends.

NORRIS: Recipes for Dorie Greenspan's mixed berry cobbler and strawberry-rhubarb crisp, and something fancier for your high-tone gathering, something called a raspberry blancmange at our Web site, npr.org.

Now we've heard from Dorie, we'd like to hear from you about the food that makes you know it's summer. It doesn't have to be a dessert or even homemade, but it does have to have a story behind it. Maybe it's that first perfect peach, or the clams from your favorite clam shack. Was there a beer can chicken gone totally afoul? Well, we want to hear about it, so here's what you do. Go to our Web site, npr.org, search for Summer Food, write it all down and then send it to us. And remember, the food and the stories have to be delicious.

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