Hi, I'm Torrey. Welcome to Left Field, where creativity runs amok and imagination is ALWAYS more important than knowledge. Shoes are not allowed but ties are optional. This is a repository of snippets from my life out here in Left Field. One never knows what shiny bits of creativity will be found here... cards, scrapbook layouts, photography, poetry, recipes, ponderings, rantings and musings. It could be anything! Life in Left Field is always changing, always real, always ...interesting.

July 6, 2013

Hooray for the Red, White, and Blueberry

Independence Day has come and gone here in the States. Many people celebrated by having cook-outs and then going to see a fireworks display. It was too hot here in Texas to do either...so, I had a cook-in with my family and some friends, and just gave up on the fireworks altogether. Let's face it. I've become a wimp in my middle-age. I don't tolerate heat or bugs like I used to.

I am a delicate flower.

Don't laugh.

So, for the Fourth, we invited some friends over and had a cook-in with traditional Fourth-of-July fair. Hot dogs (well, smoked Brats...but still, basically hot dogs), homemade potato salad, chips, dips, veggie tray, deviled eggs, pickles and olives, and a watermelon. It was all yummy! I cooked the brats on my Panini press so they'd have those little grill lines (worked much better than using a brown Sharpie like I was tempted to do).

For dessert, I decided something light and summery would be nice. So, I made a fruit pizza. Only, my version...it's not-so light. It's actually quite decadent and very rich. Instead of a plain-Jane sugar cookie crust, my version has an uber-rich pecan shortbread crust. MMMmmmmmm. Many fruit pizzas also have a clear, syrupy glaze on top like they do in fancy bakeries. I opted not to do this. Mainly because I was lazy...but also because all that would do is add more sugar. But, if y'all want to do that...knock yourself out.

So, now that your mouths are sufficiently watering, here is my recipe for my not-so light, but uber-delicious fruit pizza.

Torrey's Patriotic Fruit Pizza

  • 16 oz (2 boxes) cream cheese, or Neufchatel, at room temperature
  • 1 medium container whipped topping
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 orange (optional)
FRUIT TOPPING (as pictured):
  • 50-60 blueberries, fresh
  • 16-20 strawberries, fresh
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pineapple chunks
  • OR...whatever fruit you want to add.
  • 3/4 lb. (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
In mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, whipped topping, sugar and orange zest (optional) and stir with hand-mixer until well-blended. Set aside. Keep cool, but not cold (makes it hard to spread if it's too cold).

I used a stand mixer (Kitchenaid) with a paddle attachment as this is a VERY stiff dough and I knew my hand would wear out. Preheat oven to 350 F (~175 C).
  • Cream together sugar and butter--just until combined.
  • Add extracts and stir into butter/sugar mixture. 
  •  In separate bowl, whisk flour and salt together.
  • Add flour/salt mix to butter/sugar mix, a little at a time.
  • Add chopped pecans to dough. (I chop them by hand)
  • Line bottom of jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment. Pat out dough to cover bottom (and slightly up sides)of pan. Dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Bake crust until golden brown around edges and center is cooked but not brown (10-15 min). Let crust cool COMPLETELY before topping it. 
NOTE: if you have leftover dough (and you will), make shortbread cookies!...roll remaining dough into a log, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill it. Then, slice into 1/4 inch-wide cookies and bake at 350 F for about 15-20 min. just until edges are golden brown and center is done.

  • Wash and dry desired fresh fruits (or use drained, canned fruit). It's important to pat your fruit dry. Otherwise, the juice/water will bleed onto the cream cheese and look yucky and ruin the presentation. 
  • If berries are small, use whole. 
  • If fruit is larger, cut into bite-sized slices or pieces.For this pizza, I cut the strawberries in half, lengthwise.
Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust. Arrange fruit in decorative patterns on top of cream cheese. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate until serving. 
Bon appetit, y'all!

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