Monday, May 17, 2010

It's summer (almost)!

Ahhh...summer! Summer is potentially the best season for eating, fresh produce abounds and I'm tempted to while away the days in a hammock eating fresh fruit or sit on a picnic bench with some BBQ. sigh.

Misty daydreams about summer perfection aside, the season offers ample opportunity to enjoy inexpensive, quality fruits and vegetables. With this in mind, I recently attended a BBQ - the first of many of the season, hopefully - and made one of my favorite deserts for the occasion, fruit pizza.

Fruit pizza is something of a modern classic, or so I feel and it's the perfect treat on a summer day. It's fresh and cool to the taste and takes advantage of the season's bounty. That's right, I said bounty. I'm feeling very nostalgic or something today. When my mom would make fruit pizza, my sister and I would gorge ourselves on it, arguing that it is really only good for 2 days.

Fruit pizza

Crust (can be made ahead & frozen):

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
1/4 cup white sugar

Press crust into the bottom of a 9x13 pan and bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees, or until lightly brown.

8oz cream cheese
3TB sugar
1/4 fruit juice (orange, pineapple, apple)

Blend all ingredients together and spread evenly over crust.

3+ different types of fruit, sliced (I recommend the combination pineapple, strawberry and banana)

Sprinkle fruit slices over sauce until desired coverage is reached.

Glaze (keeps fruit fresh):
1/2 cup fruit juice (orange, pineapple, apple)
1TB of corn starch

Mix fruit juice and cornstarch in small sauce pan and cook on medium heat until it thickens, about 5-8 minutes. Drizzle glaze over fruit.

Eat within 2 days, 3 maximum.

Tips & tricks

1. If you use canned pineapple in its own juice (not syrup) there will be enough juice to make your glaze and sometimes also the sauce
*If you're in a hurry, you can use pre-made sugar cookie dough and will get more or less the same result, just be careful of the baking time.

2. I think it goes without saying, but some fruit will hold up better than others. If you use bananas or apples make sure to get each of them with a dab of the glaze to keep them from turning brown.

3. If you're feeling fancy you can also make this as individual tarlets. Make your crust in a greased muffin pan, letting them cool before trying to take them out, then spread (or pipe if super fancy) the sauce in and top with fruit. These really make a lovely impression but are slightly more work.

4. Take care not to let the glaze get too thick or it will be very gelatinous on the top of the pizza. In the one pictured above, I let it cook just a little bit too long.

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