Follow Mint Lounge

Latest Issue

Home > News> Talking Point > No-bake summer desserts for all

No-bake summer desserts for all

  • Pastry chef Rachel Goenka offers quick recipes for cooling desserts
  • From dairy and gluten-free to the indulgent, there is a dessert to match the season


Listen to this article

Summer has set in and there’s a while to go before the rains bring some relief. In this weather, the last thing I want to do is bake. The thought of getting close to an oven is enough to set off a bout of sweating. If, like me, you are craving something sweet and aren’t aroused by the easy option of food delivery platforms (because let’s face it, home-made is far cooler), there are simple desserts you can prepare.

One positive about summer is the variety of fruits. In April, there is an abundance of watermelons, pineapples, musk melons, oranges, bananas, grapes and jackfruit. May welcomes a crowd favourite—Alphonso mangoes—while the melon family is accompanied by black jamuns and litchis.

There is a science to eating what’s in season. Not only are fruits at their nutritional best, they also play a role in keeping you healthy. Melons are at their sweetest and are packed with potassium and vitamins A and C. They have cooling properties because of the high water content. Mangoes eaten on an empty stomach bring down the body temperature. There is a direct correlation between eating what’s in season and keeping illnesses at bay.

For the time-constrained, the simplest thing to do is cut the watermelon into wedges and keep it handy in the freezer, ready to consume whenever those sweet cravings kick in.

Popsicles are one of my favourite things to make. They don’t require much time, the ingredients are few and the options plenty. They are dairy-free, gluten-free, have no added sugars, and can be consumed by vegans too. They are also one of the most fun ways of consuming fruit, making them a hit with children.

Rachel Goenka
Rachel Goenka

I personally love puréeing mangoes and strawberries (in season till the end of March) and layering them into a popsicle mould. Different berries can be sliced and layered into the mould and then topped up with home-made lemonade. For a little zing, use soda instead of water and add a little lime zest as well. Children can help out too. Rainbow popsicles are always winners. Use different fruits for different colours. Mangoes for yellow, kiwi for green, strawberries for red and blueberries for pink. For those not on a dairy cleanse, yogurt is another great alternative. Mix a little yogurt with honey and layer with any fruit pulp of your choice, and voila, yogurt pops. If you don’t have moulds, you can use paper cups or an ice tray.

Panna cotta is another one of my favourites in summer. Albeit old school, but I have always been a purist when it comes to classic techniques. I have spruced up this recipe and made it dairy-free by using coconut milk. Fresh mangoes just elevate it.

Passion fruit cheesecake is something I always have in my fridge. Tart passion fruit marries beautifully with the sweet cheesecake. It’s simple to make— and exquisite.

I have not forgotten our vegetables—and there’s no bigger king of cool than cucumber. Cucumbers are synonymous with summer and this sorbet recipe is refreshing. The zing of the lime and the perfume of the basil make it the perfect guilt-free indulgence. Stay cool this summer with these chilled desserts.




120g butter, melted

250g plain Marie biscuits


500g cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

3/4 cup fine caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla-bean paste

1 tbsp gelatin powder

2 tbsp cold water

For the passion fruit jelly

2/3 cup passion fruit pulp

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup caster sugar

1 tsp gelatin powder

2 tbsp cold water


  • Using either a food processor or a rolling pin, crush the biscuits into crumbs.
  • Add in the melted butter and combine. Pour this mixture into a prepared spring-form cake tin around 20-25cm in size, and press down firmly. Refrigerate for two-and-a-half hours to 3 hours.
  • Take a bowl and add the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • In a small bowl, add 1 tbsp of gelatin powder and 2 tbsp water. Allow to dissolve for around 5 minutes. Then pop in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to dissolve fully.
  • Add this gelatin mixture into the cream cheese mixture.
  • Fold through the whipped cream and pour into the base.
  • Smooth the top and chill again.
  • For the topping, dissolve 1 tsp gelatin in 2 tbsp water by pouring on top, waiting 5 minutes, and then microwaving for 10-15 seconds. Stir until it’s all dissolved.
  • Add the dissolved gelatin and N cup water into the sugar, stirring to combine. Then add the passion fruit and stir well.
  • Pour this mixture over the top of your chilled cheesecake, and then chill in the fridge again for 1-2 hours to allow the jelly to set




2 cups (355g) musk melon, diced

1 cup (142g) strawberries


  • In a food processor or hand blender, purée the musk melon until smooth and set aside.
  • Purée the strawberries until smooth, and set aside.
  • Fill the mould L of the way with the musk melon purée, then follow with another L of strawberry purée and then top it off with musk melon.
  • Cover the mould, add sticks and freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight. They will keep in the freezer for up to eight weeks.
  • Run the moulds under warm water to loosen the popsicles before serving.

(Photo: Alamy)



4 cups full-fat coconut milk

1 tbsp unflavoured gelatin

1/3 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup Alphonso mangoes, diced

Mangoes for garnishing, diced


  • Pour 1 cup coconut milk into a saucepan and sprinkle evenly with the gelatin. Let the milk sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom.
  • Heat the milk and gelatin over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves and the milk starts to steam.
  • Stir the remaining coconut milk and honey into the warm milk and whisk until all the ingredients dissolve. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
  • Once the mixture is cool, stir in the diced mangoes.
  • Divide the coconut milk and mango mixture evenly among six glasses or small bowls. Cover the panna cottas tightly with cling wrap, making sure it does not touch the cream’s surface. Refrigerate for about 5 hours, until cold and set. When you are ready to serve, top with diced mangoes.

(Photo: Alamy)



1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

4 cups cucumber, chopped

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

6 fresh basil leaves


  • In a saucepan, mix water and sugar and heat till the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Purée sugar syrup, cucumber, lime juice and basil in a blender until smooth. Taste and add more lime, if needed.
  • Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  • Churn the liquid in an ice-cream maker until thick, for about 20 minutes. Transfer to a container and freeze for 4 hours until firm.
  • To serve, set the container on the counter for a few minutes before scooping.

Rachel Goenka is founder and CEO of The Chocolate Spoon Company, which operates Sassy Spoon and other restaurants.

Next Story