Friday, April 30, 2010

45. Fruit flower for Two - Fruit Flower

Spring is a wonderful season and when it arrives, the quantity of fruit choices explodes. Fruit creations are sometimes so pretty and artful, that it hard to destroy the effect by cutting into them. One of those is the fruit pizza which pops up in the spring and continues to be served well into fall. While there is no definitive information concerning the origin, I seem to recall that this dessert made it's entrance in the Midwest during  the late 70s or early 80s....

I can picture the first time I was served Fruit Pizza; the colors and decorative nature of the whole thing was reminded me of a kaleidoscope design. As much as I loved that fruit pizza, I have to confess, I never made one until recently. 

Most recipes use commercial sugar cookie dough for the base. While this is an easy way out, I think that type of dough has a fake flavor.

Today's post version uses an easy sugar cookie recipe which was used to make the base for a smaller version of the pizza...I made little fruit flowers with the most delightful orange-flavored cookie crust...perfect for two people.

The second layer is a light, rum-flavored, sweetened cream is so wonderful combined with the orange flavor in the cookie and the fruit. Last, I added sugared, cinnamon pecan pieces, that give a delightful crunch and richness to the whole dessert.

(I did use the fresh fruit I had on hand to create this dessert flower, but almost any combination of fruit that can sit on a coated cookie would work well. Just remember to start layering from the outside in).

Note: Future post #53 will feature a true fruit pizza with a wonderful, crisp crust and a glazed topping.

Diane's Fruit Flower for Two
Rum-Orange Flavored

No-roll sugar cookie dough (recipe below)
Cream cheese
Powdered sugar
Rum flavoring

Fresh fruit (suggestions below)

Nut Crunch (recipe below)

No-Roll Orange Sugar Cookies

1/2 C margarine
1/2 C powedered sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 C melted margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated orange peel
2 C + 2 T flour
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp salt

Cream shortening and sugar; beat in egg until fluffy. Add melted margarine, vanilla, and orange peel. Beat until well blended. Measure and mix flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt. Add this to creamed mixture. Chill several hours.* (Dough will be oily). Divide dough into thirds. Form teaspoon-sized balls and place them on baking sheet. Flatten to about 1/4 inch thick with the bottom of a glass dipped in decorative sugar. Bake 10 minutes. Let rest on sheet 2-3 minutes after removing from oven. Transfer to wire rack. makes 3 1/2 dozen. May be doubled.

*Divide refrigerated cookie dough into thirds. Remove one third and roll 1 1/2 inch balls of dough. (One large cookie is for (2) servings). Roll enough for your needs. Save remaining dough for sugar cookies.

Press dough into three-inch circles and place on cookie sheet*. Bake 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until browned. Remove to a rack and cool completely.
*(Don't use the pizza type pan as shown...the dough presses through the holes).
For each cookie, mix 2 T cream cheese with 2 T powdered sugar, blend well. Add 1-2 tsp rum flavoring and mix in thoroughly. Spread cooled cookie with cream cheese. Slice stem end off of two large strawberries and stand strawberries on flat side. Slice each thinly and decorate the outer edge of cookie with slices. Peel a clementine and place 4 segments around the inner circle of the strawberries. Fill the center with chopped, fresh pineapple. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, sprinkle coated nuts over fruit flower. Serves 2.

Note: Other fresh fruit may be used...blueberries, raspberries, peaches, bananas.

Nut crunch

2 tsp Smart Balance
1 T sugar
1/4 rounded cup chopped pecans

In a skillet, melt margarine over med-lo heat; add sugar and nuts. Cook for 3 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly. Lightly sprinkle nut mixture with cinnamon. Mix and stir for 1/2 minute more. Remove to a piece of lightly greased aluminum foil until cool. (These nuts are wonderful for many dessert and breakfast recipes. Make a larger batch and store in an airtight container for later use).

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