- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Summer fruit receives quite a standing ovation in my part of the country. People will line up and stand for hours waiting for the best peaches to arrive via truck at the church parking lot.

These peaches are truly spectacular and are delicious eaten out of hand, sliced onto cereal, made into cobbler or turned into precious preserves. And, I might add, my children are seldom picky about this fresh summer fruit.

Oh, they’ll turn up their noses at my pasta and my meatloaf and my eggplant Parmigiana, but put forth a plate or a basket of fruit, and they’ll gobble it up. And they adore fruit pizza as a way to cap off a backyard feast with their friends.

You couldn’t find a more child-friendly recipe. After they bite into the chewy crust, the soft whipped topping and then strawberries, grapes, kiwi and banana, they may never order pepperoni pizza again.

Pre-bake the crust, then set out the whipped topping and bowls of sliced fruits — you can also think blueberries and strawberries and peaches for summertime — and you have a great backyard party activity.

Five fun, time-shaving ways to get children to eat more fresh fruit

• Clean, peel, slice and package the fruit in the refrigerator so it’s ready to go. The children can just open the container, grab a handful and eat.

• Create a gorgeous watermelon boat from a whole small watermelon or half of a larger melon. Carve out the juicy flesh and reserve it, wiping the interior dry with paper towels. Then seed the watermelon and either cube it or cut it into chunks. Add it back to the watermelon boat with sliced peaches, cantaloupe balls, whole strawberries and raspberries, blueberries and grapes. Chill until serving time.

• Thread fresh berries on wooden skewers and serve alongside chocolate sauce for a fun dessert.

• Let the children make smoothies in the blender using a whole banana, half a cup of yogurt of their choice, half a cup of ice cubes, and a cup of whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand. Adjust for sweetness by adding a little sugar, if needed.

• Toss peaches, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries with a little sugar, and spoon this over freshly cooked pancakes and waffles for breakfast or for dinner.

Fruit pizza

The preparation time is 10 minutes, the baking time is 18 to 22 minutes, and the assembly time is 10 minutes.

CRUST:

Vegetable oil spray for misting the pans

Parchment or waxed paper for the pans

Flour for dusting the parchment or waxed paper

1 18.25-ounce package plain yellow cake mix

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

4 tablespoons (half stick) butter, melted

2 large eggs

TOPPING:

1 16-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 cups thinly sliced bananas

1 cup sliced kiwi

1 cup seedless grapes, halved

GLAZE:

½ cup apricot preserves

Lightly mist 2 12- to 14-inch pizza pans or 1 16½-by-11½-by-1-inch jellyroll pan with vegetable oil spray. Line pans with parchment paper or waxed paper. Lightly mist paper with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour. Hold onto edges of paper and shake off excess flour. Set pans aside.

For the crust, place cake mix, 1/4 cup water, brown sugar, butter and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. The dough will be stiff and sticky. With a rubber spatula, spread dough onto bottom and sides of prepared pans. Place one pizza pan on top rack of preheated 350-degree oven, and place second pan on the center rack. If using a jellyroll pan, use the center rack.

Bake pizza crust until it is light brown and feels firm in the center when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 22 minutes. Take care not to overbake the crust on the top rack. Remove pans from oven and place on wire racks to cool completely, 1 hour.

For the topping, spread cooled pizza crusts with whipped topping and then arrange the fruit over top in concentric circles. If using a jellyroll pan, mix fruit together in a medium-size mixing bowl and spoon it evenly over topping.

Place apricot preserves and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until mixture warms. Remove pan from heat and strain, discarding apricot solids. Brush strained-apricot glaze over fruit. Place pizzas in the refrigerator and chill, uncovered, until serving time, at least 1 hour. Makes 16 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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