Sunday, August 19, 2012
Admit it: sometimes you want to prepare a dish that looks great but is really easy to prepare. Years ago, my daughter Kate gave me just such a recipe, which she learned at Earlham College. The ingredients are simple: sugar cookie dough (your own or the type that comes in a roll); 8 oz. cream cheese; 2 TBSP sugar; dash vanilla; sliced fruit; jam.
Assembly is also simple. First, get your cream cheese out of the fridge so it softens. Now spread the dough on a greased pizza pan or other flat pan. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, or until it turns pale brown. Let it cool. When it's cool, beat the cream cheese until soft. Then add the sugar and vanilla. Spread over the crust.
Now comes the fun part. Slice plump fruit but leave small berries whole. I used kiwis, Granny Smith apples, and strawberries, but you can also use bananas, blueberries, peaches, or anything but citrus, which curdles the cream cheese. Arrange the sliced fruit over the cream cheese, pressing it in slightly. Now melt a few TBSP of jam in a saucepan. I used apricot, but almost any jam works. Strain it and add a tsp of water to thin it slightly. Spread this over the fruit and chill for at least an hour. The glaze keeps the fruit from drying out and makes it sparkle.
This is a great dessert to bring to a potluck dinner, because it never fails to attract attention. It looks wonderful and is very tasty. (Not as great as the made-from-scratch fruit tart, with a shortbread crust and pastry cream filling, which the same daughter once made for my birthday, but that is more of an undertaking.)