Posted on 30 March 2012.
A big welcome to our cookery and all things frugal blogger Simoney. Simoney is a writer of all things foody and, under the guise of OriginalShimmeringDesigns, likes to make beautiful things on a budget, from dangly silver earrings to chocolate cherry cupcakes.
I am not a great fan of doing any unnecessary work in the kitchen. Most of us live extremely busy lives, balancing work, family and social events so the idea of having to slave over a table making pastry or labouring to create the perfect icing is simply unappealing.
While I am all for doing things on a budget – and making pastry or icing from scratch is cheaper in the long-term – there has to be a limit to being a domestic goddess. Not all of us have kitchens the size of a supermarket, despite what TV chefs would have you believe.
Not all of us are so wealthy that we can afford not to work but can live a life of baking luxury. There has to be a line drawn between doing it yourself and doing yourself in.
And this is where my fruit pizza comes in. It’s simply called Fruit Pizza. I believe I made this up out of my own head, having tried a recipe for making my own savoury pizza, and deciding that I could make a dessert along the same lines. I certainly have never seen this recipe anywhere else!
This recipe will have your friends, family and even children oohing and aahing and getting all excited, despite the fact they are basically eating fruit – lots of it.
It looks amazing when it comes out of the oven, in all its sizzly glory and tastes divine. You can mix and match fruits to your heart’s delight – but a word to the wise, oranges, clementines and satsumas do not seem to sit well with the other fruit. Leave the strong citrus fruit alone and stick with berries and orchard fruit.
You will need:
1 large, flat pizza tray, circular or square, lightly oiled
1 sheet of Jus’roll puff pastry
2 large apples
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of strawberries, sliced lengthways
1 cup of blackberries
1 cup of raspberries
½ cup of custard – pouring custard will do but you can make it yourself and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Don’t allow it to be too thick-it has to be spreadable.
Two tablespoons of icing sugar to dust
Some cream – Elmlea low-fat pouring cream does the trick
What to do:
Roll the pastry out over the pre-oiled tray – whether square, round or rectangle, it doesn’t really matter. Score a distinct line about 1cm away from the edge of the pastry all round – this will help the edges to rise up in puffy goodness and go all brown.
Don’t make the base too thin – the fruit juices will penetrate the pastry base otherwise.
Take the cold custard and spread it over the base as if you were spooning tomato puree over a savoury pizza base. Sprinkle some nutmeg or Allspice if you like.
Start laying the fruit onto the custardy base. Have fun creating faces, patterns or just being liberal-handed. It doesn’t matter.
Cook it for 20 minutes on gas mark 6 or the electric equivalent. Personally, cooking with gas is just the best thing in the whole wide world, until the government announces that we’ve run out. I’ll cross that ecobridge when I come to it.
When the edges are all puffy and goldeny brown, take it out of the oven, dust it with the icing sugar and serve immediately at the table, using pizza cutters and a slice. If you leave it too long before you get to the table, the icing sugar will have dissolved. Serve with low-fat Elmlea double pouring cream (30% less fat than normal cream) or go the whole hog and serve with vanilla ice-cream.
How to be extra:
People at school used to say I was “being extra” if I drew in the margins of my essays. If you want to be extra, crush a meringue nest into pieces and put that over the top. These usually come in packs of eight and you can use the other seven for another fabulous dish like cherry meringues or Eton mess. Or just eat them by your own, when nobody but the cat can see. And he can’t tell a soul…..
How to save money
1) Berries freeze brilliantly if you are using them for baking or for smoothies. So I tend to buy bulk whenever there is an offer on for blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. So if you freeze these – and they keep for ages – you can save money and time when you make this in the future. Apples can also be cut up into nice slices and, if sprinkled with a little lemon juice to prevent oxidisation, can also be frozen. However, strawberries do not freeze well AND keep their shape afterwards, so best to buy these fresh.
2) Make your own custard – but not from scratch, using vanilla pods and all that. Who has the time? Insanity. But do always have a tub of custard powder and granulated white sugar in your cupboard. This will help you save lots of money as buying a carton of pouring custard is exceptionally costly – you use it once and it’s gone.
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