Last week I was talking to Jason about upcoming desserts for the blog, and I mentioned I wanted to do a fruit pizza for Easter.
He furrowed his brow and cocked his head to the side like a curious chihuahua. “Fruit…pizza? Is that exactly what it sounds like?”
I couldn’t believe it. We’ve been married almost nine years, and I just now find out that he’s never had a fruit pizza. How is that possible, and what other secrets might he be hiding? Is he a Bieber fan? A money launderer? An international terrorist? Anything seemed plausible. (On the other hand, he found out that I knew of a marvelous dish called a fruit pizza, and I’ve never made it for him. I think he might have more cause for feeling betrayed.)
So if any of you are in a similar boat, let me be the one to introduce you to the wonder that is a fruit pizza, which both is and isn’t exactly what it sounds like. It’s pizza-shaped, sure, and involves a crust, a sauce, and toppings. But instead of a yeast dough, it’s built on a sugar cookie crust, and instead of marinara it has cream cheese frosting, and instead of boring veggies it’s topped with piles and piles of fresh fruit.
Since it is the season for egg-shaped everything, I gave this fruit pizza an Easter spin and decorated it to look like an Easter egg. I also brought in some spring flavors by adding a bit of lemon to the cookie dough, and using strawberry cream cheese instead of the regular stuff.
And the fruit. The fruit! Imagine me gleefully skipping through the grocery store, tossing anything that caught my eye into my cart—a few kiwis over my left shoulder, followed by some berries in a complicated through-the-legs maneuver, finishing with a lay-up and slam-dunking a mango into the cart. Fruit pizzas can be made with almost any fresh fruit, but I think they look the absolute best when made with a wide variety of different colors and textures—so go crazy and pile it on!
Even though it’s basically a giant glorified cookie, somehow all of the fruit makes this seem like a really fresh, healthy dish. [As long as you ignore the cookie and frosting part.] It’s a perfect brunch dish, or a nice way to end a light meal al fresco.
Now that Jason’s had a fruit pizza, I think it will be making its way into regular rotation around our house. Fortunately it’s easy to throw together—especially if you’re not worried about making Easter egg designs, ha—and we pretty much always have the ingredients on hand. As far as life-changing revelations go, this one turned out to be pretty minor. Now to scour his ipod for any signs of Bieber…
Recipe notes: If you want to save some time, you can use refrigerated sugar cookie dough, and canned cream cheese frosting (or other frosting of your choice.) After the fruit pizza is assembled the cookie tends to get softer, so this is a dessert that’s best enjoyed the day it’s made. The components can be made in advance, though, and kept for several days before you’re ready to assemble the pizza.
yield: at least 16 servings
For the Cookie:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 oz butter, at room temperature
11/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest (packed)
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 tbsp cream
2 tsp lemon extract
For the Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup firm strawberry jam, at room temperature
1-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
8 cups assorted fresh fruit, washed and sliced
1/4 cup apricot jelly or other clear, light-colored jelly
1 tbsp water
To Make the Cookie:
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside for a moment.
Combine the butter, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then add the cream and lemon extract and mix them in.
Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until there are just a few flour streaks left. Stop the mixer and finish stirring everything together by hand, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl well. Shape the dough into a large disc and wrap the dough in cling wrap. Refrigerate for several hours, until firm. Dough can be made several days in advance.
When the dough is firm, preheat the oven to 350 F and cover a large baking sheet with parchment. Roll out the dough between sheets of parchment or waxed paper until it is a large circle about 1/2-inch thick. (My egg was about 16×12 inches, but a circle should be in the 14-inch area.) You can make it ever thinner if you’d like—I prefer a thick, soft, cake-like cookie.
Transfer the cookie to the baking sheet, and bake it at 350 F for 15-19 minutes, until it takes on a light golden color and is puffed and set in the middle. Let it cool completely at room temperature. The cookie can be baked several days in advance.
To Make the Frosting:
Beat the cream cheese using a mixer until it is smooth and free of lumps. Add the strawberry jam and 1 cup of powdered sugar, and beat until everything is well-mixed. Taste the frosting, and add more sugar if desired. Remember that it will be combined with a cookie and fruit, so it doesn’t have to be super-sweet on its own. Frosting can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Spread the frosting in a thin, even layer over the surface of the cookie, leaving a small margin around the edges. Layer the fresh fruit over the frosting in the pattern of your choosing—don’t’ be afraid to play with colors and shapes!
In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the jelly and water, and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir them together until the jelly is fluid and smooth. It should have the consistency of a thin gel—if it’s still fairly thick, add a bit more water to thin it out. Use a pastry brush to pipe this glaze on top of your fruit. This gives it a lovely shine, and also prevents the cut fruit from looking wilted and tired at room temperature.
Cut the pizza into slices and enjoy! Store extras in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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