Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sweet way to enjoy fruit

One of the nicest things about going to someone's house to eat is trying a new recipe. Eating someone else's baked beans. Enjoying someone else's potato salad. Don't you agree?

On July 4, my family and I had a wonderful dinner at the home of my cousin Martha Cayton and her husband, John.

Some of us swam in the pool, some of us sat by the pool and enjoyed the conversation, but we all ate heartily.

One of the highlights of the evening was Martha's dessert: a fruit pizza. She had told me she was making it, and I had looked forward to it for days. I've seen several versions of this dish and couldn't wait to see how Martha made it.

We all loved the fruit pizza. It was a delicious and light dessert for a hot summer day.

Martha used a very simple recipe, which I also made over the weekend.

The crust is a tube of refrigerated sugar cookie dough. I made my "pizza" in a disposable pizza pan and was able to easily make it stretch to cover the entire pan. The dough had gotten very soft in my hot kitchen, though, so if you have trouble pressing it to fit the pan, let the dough get to room temperature and use your fingers to stretch it out across the pan.

There are several steps to this recipe, so you have to think ahead to get them all done.

While the cookie was baking, I prepped my fruit, except for the peaches. I was afraid they would turn brown so I waited to cut them just before putting them on the dessert. I also used strawberries, blueberries and kiwi. This was the first time I had used kiwi. I looked online for suggestions on peeling it. I followed the directions I found and cut 1/4 inch from each end of the fruit and gently inserted a teaspoon between the green fruit and the brown skin. I ran my spoon around the fruit to make a complete circle. Then I was able to pop out the green fruit, which was ready to be sliced. Martha used the same fruit on hers but said she has also made it with bananas and fresh pineapple.

I also made the cream cheese filling and started the citrus glaze while the cookie cooked and cooled. (Carefully watch the cookie as it bakes; you don't want to overbake it and make the crust too hard.)

By the time the cookie had cooled, I was ready to assemble my dessert.

You should think in advance how you want to arrange the fruit on your pizza. Martha arranged her fruit in a circular pattern, and I did the same thing. I cut too much fruit but used it all anyway by layering the strawberries and blueberries for my final and largest circle.

Applying the citrus glaze is the last step. There's plenty glaze to go around, but take it easy, and spread just a little bit at a time. Make sure to completely cover the peaches or any other fruit you use that might brown otherwise.

We ate the majority of our pizza in less than two hours after I made it and put it in the refrigerator. We couldn't wait. The cookie was a little firm then but was really too soft 24 hours later when we ate the few remaining leftovers. Martha and I both recommend eating the pizza on the same day you make it.

While eating my fruit pizza Sunday afternoon, my sister, nieces, daughter and I discussed other options for a dessert pizza. Just think of the variations using peanut butter or chocolate chip cookies, frostings, nuts, whipped cream and chocolate chips. It all sounds good to me!

Fruit Pizza

  • 1 package (16.5 oz.) sugar cookie dough
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice cookie dough into 1/8” slices and arrange in circles on a pizza pan. Press and smooth cookie dough slices together to cover the pan. If you have trouble making it stretch, allow the dough to come to room temperature; it will be easier to handle then.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened (Reduced-fat works fine.)
  • 1/2 of an 8 ounce carton of whipped topping
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
Beat cream cheese and sugar till fluffy. Fold in Cool Whip.

Spread on cooled cookie crust leaving the edge of the cookie crust uncovered.

Fruit topping:
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 large kiwi, sliced thinly in circles
  • 2 fresh peaches, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 pint strawberries, sliced
  • You can use other fruits as well, including bananas and pineapple.
Arrange fruit over cream cheese filling.

Orange glaze:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup water
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, salt and cornstarch. Gradually add the liquid ingredients and grated orange peel. Cook over medium heat till mixture bubbles for about 3 minutes until thickened. Cool and spoon over fruit.

Make sure to cover any fruit that might turn brown.

Refrigerate and cut into pizza slices to serve. Best if eaten the same day it is made.

Martha Cayton

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