Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fruit for Dessert Follow-up

A couple weeks ago, I ran a poll on the blog, "Is Fruit a Dessert?", in light of a recent dessert experience that hit home with my business (who are we kidding, life) philosophy. Now that the polls are closed (sounds so official, right?), I want to dig into the results...

Is Fruit a Dessert?
A: Yes, just fruit alone can be a dessert.
B: Only if it is served as a component of a more substantial dessert (e.g., pie, cake, etc.)
C: Never.

Your Responses:
Yes: 60%
Only as a component: 36%
Never: 4%

I have to say... Wow. I'm a little surprised. People actually disagree with me, the desserts guru... just kidding. But really, I am surprised - for everyone out there that shares my sweet tooth, you would be content with, say, an apple after dinner? Because I would say, given an option between an apple and cake, I'll take cake.

Maybe I am missing the point, though - I obviously just chose one of the less dessert-y fruits as an example. You out there, that like plain fruit for dessert, what kind of fruit are you eating? Strawberries? That's slightly more satisfying than an apple I guess. A fruit salad? I can honestly say the only fruit I ever remember eating after dinner and thinking, "Wow, that was satisfying," was a chirimoya. Which, to my misfortune, is extremely rare in the U.S.; otherwise, perhaps I would have fruit for dessert more often (which is probably not a bad idea, given that I'd guess 50% of my caloric intake some days is sweets...). I enjoyed this specialty while I studied abroad in Spain, to which it is native, as well as to South American countries. My host mom and I would cut one in half and split it after dinner many nights, when I wasn't baking and making them try American desserts (which they found incredibly rich - are you surprised?). Chirimoya roughly translates to "custard apple fruit" - yeah, don't remember the custard variation next to the regular apples in the grocery, do you? For best taste, the outside of a chirimoya should be soft, similar to a ripened avocado; the inside is opaque white, fleshy, and creamy - hence the translated "custard" name. You navigate around the large, black, bean-like seeds with a spoon - just scoop out the flesh similar to how you would eat a grapefruit half. Mmmmm, I can almost taste it...

But, chirimoyas aside, I still don't really consider fruit a dessert. So, those of you that answered, "Yes, just fruit alone can be a dessert," enlighten me - how is fruit a dessert? Tell me what I am missing. What kind of fruit do you enjoy for dessert? Please leave comments explaining your stance - I am really curious! Especially since I thought choosing "Never" or "As a component" was a no-brainer. If this is how the "people" feels, perhaps I need to alter my product offering.

In the spirit of this debate and the season, I am want to share with you one of my favorite fruit desserts: fruit pizza. It is incredibly easy to make, especially if you take all the shortcuts. Fruit pizza is the perfect end to a summer barbecue, especially with all the ripe, glorious berries on sale at the grocery/farmers market right now. It looks elegant, yet there is nothing to it. And, it's a really flexible recipe, as there are many options for each component. It is also one of the first "orders" I ever had: a family friend commissioned individual fruit pizzas for a party when I was 18 years-old.

  • Sugar cookie base. Options:
    • Pre-made refrigerated dough
    • Sugar cookie mix, made as directed
    • Homemade sugar cookie dough
  • Cream cheese filling. Options
    • 8 oz. cream cheese + 1/2 cup sugar + 2 tsp vanilla
    • 8 oz. cream cheese + 7 oz. marshmallow creme
    • 8 oz cream cheese + 8 oz. cool whip, thawed
    • 1/2 cup cream cheese frosting + 1 cup whipping cream
  • Fruit. Whatever your heart desires. I recommend whatever is ripe/in season. A combination is always fun. Some options:
    • Strawberries
    • Blueberries
    • Raspberries
    • Blackberries
    • Mandarin Oranges
    • Kiwi
    • Bananas (place on pizza JUST before serving, or will turn brown)
    • Grapes
    • Pineapple
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease pan. Typically a pizza pan is desired, but a cookie sheet works as well. Individual fruit pizzas can also be made in place of one large pizza.
  2. Crust preparation:
    1. If making homemade or mix sugar cookie dough, prepare as directed.
    2. If refrigerated, let soften.
  3. Crust baking:
    1. If making one large pizza, press crust into pan.
    2. If making individual pizzas, place cookie balls on baking sheet.
    3. Bake crust(s) in preheated oven until light golden brown on top. Allow to cool completely before topping.
  4. Filling preparation
    1. 8 oz. cream cheese + 1/2 cup sugar + 2 tsp vanilla: beat all until smooth.
    2. 8 oz. cream cheese + 7 oz. marshmallow creme: beat all until smooth.
    3. 8 oz cream cheese + 8 oz. cool whip, thawed: beat cream cheese until smooth. Fold in cool whip.
    4. 1/2 cup cream cheese frosting + 1 cup whipping cream: beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold in frosting.
  5. Assembly
    1. Spread filling over top of cooled cookie crust.
    2. Allow your inner artist to come out: arrange desired fruits over top of pizza. Here are some pictures I found on the Internet:
  6. Enjoy! Also, if you make/plan to make one, comment on the post! Maybe even post a picture of your artistry!

1 comment:

Jessie Reuteler said...

making the fruit pizza this weekend...