Spring into summer with fabulous light desserts from DINE

After an awfully rainy and cold spring, a few days of warmer weather are tempting us into believing summer may finally come to New England. The Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) are poised and ready to welcome summer with open windows and open arms! It’s hard not to start looking toward that perfect New England summer vacation or romantic getaway as warmer spring days tempt us into planning.  Now is the time to start planning that great getaway to any of the 12 DINE inns to insure the best availability.

If you’ve been to any of the DINE inns,  you know that your upcoming trip will be delicious and romantic.  There’s a good reason our acronym is DINE!  While you’re planning and waiting for that next DINE getaway, why not treat yourself to a taste of DINE.  Here are three fabulous desserts to DINE on until you can schedule that next DINE getaway.

Apricot Almond Cake from Rabbit Hill Inn    (yields one 9” round cake)


1 1/3 cups sugar

10 oz unsalted butter, room temp

photo of apricots from Rabbit Hill Inn recipe¾ cup almond paste

6 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt


Beat sugar and almond paste until the paste is finely broken up.

Add butter and beat until light and fluffy.

Slowly drizzle in beaten eggs.

Add flour, baking soda, and salt until just mixed.

In a 9” round cake pan, lay down parchment paper. Or lightly butter and flour the bottom of the pan.

Bake at 325°F for 45 to 60 minutes testing until a toothpick comes out clean when poked into the center.

Allow to cool somewhat.

 Skim cut the curved dome off the cake. Cut cake in half horizontally so that you end up with two layers.

Fill with your favorite preserves – in this case, apricot.

 Let chill for at least 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp From Chesterfield Inn – perfect for a spring or summer dessert!

strawberries for Strawberry Rhubarb recipeIngredients:

7 cups diced rhubarb

2 cups diced strawberries

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup Triple Sec

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

¾ cup slivered almonds

Pinch salt

1 egg


Toss the rhubarb with the granulated sugar and orange zest in a 3-quart baking dish.  Dissolve the cornstarch in the Triple Sec, add to the rhubarb and toss to coat.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  Mix together with your hands until crumbly.  Stir in the almonds and salt and beat in the egg to bind the mixture loosely.  Spread the topping evenly over the rhubarb.

Bake until the top is golden and the rhubarb is bubbling, 50 minutes.  Serve warm.

Makes 6 portions.

Lemon Basil Sorbet, handmade at the Grafton Inn – a fresh and delicious way to end a rich meal.

(Recipe is ridiculously simple)

Lemon Basil Sorbet from Grafton InnIngredients:

1 quart of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

1 quart of fresh squeezed lemon juice

2-3 T minced basil



Mix together and place in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions.  Allow to ripen overnight for the best flavor.  Yields 3 quarts (enough for a crowd!).


There you go.  Three fabulous desserts for you to make at home when you can’t dine at DINE inns.  Don’t forget, when you make your reservations for your next DINE getaway, book direct for the best rates and dates.

In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic

In Maine:  Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport & Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden.

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield.

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Gateways Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod.