Pretty (and YUMMY!) Fruit Salad

fruitThere is something about these hot, HOT Arizona summers that just get me in the mood for a crisp, refreshing fruit salad.

When I was little and still living in New Jersey, my grandparents used to take us to pick strawberries on those humid summer days. We would make fruit salads, desserts or just eat those succulent berries all by themselves. Ahhh the good old days.

I pulled this recipe from one of my favorite down-to-earth chefs – Ree Drummond 9aka the Pioneer Woman). I realize she makes hearty, cowboy recipes that aren’t exactly the healthiest things to put in our bodies, but she will throw in a salad or fruit dish every now and then.

Her recipe calls for a sugar and water mixture to sweeten the recipe up, but I just like to use to some freshly-squeezed orange juice to kick up the antioxidants and Vitamin C levels.

This dish would make a great dessert or side dish as any BBQ. In fact, I’m eating it right now for breakfast!

Enjoy!

Pretty Fruit Salad:

The ingredients:

  • 1 green apple, cubed
  • 1 pint of strawberries, chopped
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and chopped
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • A couple of mint leaves, chopped

The method:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss together. Refrigerate until cold and serve. Great as leftovers!

Easter Pavlova

I’m the first to admit it – desserts are NOT my forte. Since my family follows my blog and knows that I have an extreme passion for cooking, they figured they would challenge me to make a dessert for our Easter gathering. Needless to say, I was very initimated but rather intrigued.

I immediately googled “Easter desserts that even a child can make,” and Ina Garten’s Pavolva really caught my attention. I always feel confident in any recipe I get from her, because let’s face it, she is a goddess in the kitchen. I followed most of the recipe exactly, but I created my own fruit topping in lieu of the mixed berries.

Note: Although this recipe is super-simple, it takes almost 3 hours from start to finish so make sure you have ample time to bake…

Ingredients:

  • 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Sweetened Cinnamon Whipped Cream, recipe follows
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3 kiwis, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 pint fresh blueberries

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
The Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. (This way you won’t get a pencil mark on the meringue.)

Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Place the sliced fruit in any pattern, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with fruit.