Fresh Fruit Dessert Pizza

The following recipe was made for my guests during my Fall Snacks cooking class. You can read and view links to other recipes I made HERE.

Fresh Fruit Dessert Pizza
Recipe adapted from HERE

1 (18 ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 cup homemade buttercream icing
1/4 – 1/2 cup each of the following fresh fruit: strawberries, blueberries, sliced kiwi, drained mandarin oranges

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
– Press cookie dough evenly into a 12 inch pizza pan or medium sized baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack.
– When cooled, spread the buttercream icing over the top of the baked cookie crust.
– Top with fresh fruit and cut into squares before serving.

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Tropical Sangria

The following recipe was made and shared at my Tapas party. You can read about the event and view links to the other recipes shared HERE.


Tropical Sangria
1 bottle of reisling wine (750 mL)
2 cups guava juice
1 cup diced mango
1 cup pineapple tidbits
1 cup sliced strawberries
1-2 shots of coconut rum

Mix all of the ingredients together and serve well-chilled or over ice.
Top with additional diced fruit.
(With my various sangria, I chopped up a few different fruits that my guests could add to their glass including diced pear, apple, orange, lime, and peaches.)


Strawberries w/Balsamic Vinegar

The follow recipe was shared at my Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Event. You can read and view links to other recipes that were featured HERE.

Strawberries w/Balsamic Vinegar
shared at the event by Yumi
recipe from Allrecipes.com

16 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and large berries cut in half
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Place strawberries in a bowl. Drizzle vinegar over strawberries, and sprinkle with sugar. Stir gently to combine. Cover, and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour but not more than 4 hours. Just before serving, grind pepper over berries.

Variation, toss with angel food cake.

Strawberry Bread Pudding

While my sorbet was freezing, I started to prepare a Strawberry Bread Pudding to use up the remaining leftover dinner rolls. I made a large pan so that my husband can bring it to work and feed the masses there (and because I don’t want any more desserts accessible at home!).

I’m also submitting this recipe to Waiter, There’s Something In My Berried Treasure blogging event. This event highlights berries and thought my Strawberry Bread Pudding recipe would fit the bill.
I found this recipe for Berry Bread Pudding, but decided to alter it a bit. So here’s my adapted recipe for Strawberry Bread Pudding:

20 dinner rolls, a few days old; cubed
4 eggs + 5 egg whites (optional)**
5 cups half & half
1 12oz can strawberry nectar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla paste or extract
1 quart fresh sliced strawberries
1 cup frozen mixed berries

Generously butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange the cubed rolls in the dish to fill it completely.

Add the strawberry slices and frozen berries to the cubed rolls and carefully toss together. The berries should be distributed equally throughout. It may not look like it will all fit, but stay with me!

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 4 eggs & 5 egg whites, half & half, strawberry nectar, white sugar, and vanilla. Pour the liquid over the bread and berries, and let it sit for about 15-30 minutes. Press down the top with a spatula occasionally to help the bread absorb the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the bread pudding for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden, and the middle is firm.

** So to explain the addition of 5 egg whites (which is completely optional), I also planned on making another recipe calling for 5 egg yolks today (read on for details!). To prevent wasting them or figuring out how to use 5 leftover egg whites, I added them to the bread pudding recipe above.

Puff, Puff, Give…

It’s Sunday and that means it’s a cooking class! Sundays have been a great day for me to schedule cooking classes to teach folks about various culinary techniques and applications, in hopes to inspire them to tackle cooking challenges they may face. So today, the challenge was puff pastry.

Food trivia ~ how many layers are typically in a sheet of puff pastry dough that’s been made by the classical method? 10? 24? 50?….. No. The answer is 729! How can that be? Well the classic method in making puff pastry involves working a simple pastry dough into a stick of butter by rolling & folding the dough into thirds, then chilling the dough for at least an hour after every fold. This is done 6 times so 3 folds to every 6 times is 729. (Think of it as 3 to the sixth power – if that helps!). As you may have guessed, this is an extremely time consuming process which is probably why puff pastry can be a pricey ingredient to work with.

Another piece of information I talked about was why the dough puffs up to begin with. Because the dough uses so much butter that’s been embedded into the layers, the butter still has water molecules within it. When these water molecules heat up, they produce steam and expand, hence the dough “puffs”. Interesting huh?!

This is why I love teaching folks so much. Its one thing to blog about recipes I’ve made, but its a whole other reward when I’m able to apply what I know to empower and inspire others in the kitchen personally…. and to create opportunities for people around me to learn hands on and interact with them.
So back to my puff pastry. In the 2 classes (afternoon & evening) I hosted today, everyone made their own puff pastry creation, either sweet or savory. For the savory version, we made a caprese tart using fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil. For the sweet version, we made a strawberries & cream tart, with fresh strawberries and a vanilla cream cheese spread.Here are pictures of our final products, along with the recipes:


Caprese Tart

1 sheet puff pastry dough
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 egg, scrambled (egg wash)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tomato, sliced thin
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt & pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 400.
Prep your baking pan with parchment paper.
Place your puff pastry sheet on the baking pan.
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top to cover.
Brush the egg wash along the sides of the dough.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
While dough is baking, prepare the tomatoes.
Slice the tomatoes and place on 2 layers of paper towels on a single layer.
Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and let side for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, dab the top of the tomatoes with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, salt & pepper to create a garlic infused oil.
Set aside oil.
When the puff pastry has cooled slightly, spinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top.
Top the mozzarella cheese with slices of tomato.
Brush the tomato slices with the garlic infused oil.
Bake in the same oven for another 5-7 minutes until the cheese has melted and baked golden.

Strawberries & Cream Tart
1 puff pastry sheet
1 block cream cheese
1/2 tablespoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1/2 cup half & half
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup sliced or quarted strawberries

Preheat oven to 400.
Prep your baking pan with parchment paper.
Place your puff pastry sheet on the baking pan.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
While dough is baking, prep the vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Whip the cream cheese until soft, adding half 7 half to help ease it.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, vanilla and remaining half & half until fully combined.
When the puff pastry has cooled slightly, spread the frosting on top of the pastry dough.
Top with fresh strawberries.

Mini Cheesecake Bites

We made these appetizers during the holiday appetizer cooking class I hosted. You can view pictures, the entire appetizer menu and get links to the other recipes from the class HERE.

Mini Cheesecake Bites

1 prepared pie crust
1/2 cup softened cream cheese
1 tablespoon softened butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup thawed whipped topping
24 strawberry halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees,
Prepare muffin pan by spraying each well with cooking spray.
Cut pie crust into rounds and place a piece in each well.
With tart shaper, puck each round up sides of each well.
Bake pie crusts in pregeated oven until lightly browned.
Prepared cheesecake filling by combining remaining ingredients.
Place filling in a plastic or piping bag.
When crusts have cooled, fill with filling.
Top with strawberry halves.

Watermelon to the rescue!

So in an effort to cool down, I made a refreshing watermelon smoothie with a hint of strawberry, lemon and mango. It’s wonderful both pureed and strained or with little bits of watermelon. You can adjust it to your own tastes if you prefer it more tart or sweet too!Here’s my versatile recipe for Watermelon Smoothies:

6 cups chopped seedless watermelon
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup mango, chopped
1 cup water
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a blender.
Blend until your desired consistency.
You can strain it or leave with bits of watermelon.
Chill or serve over ice.