Friday, July 12, 2013

Decorating with Strawberries

I was going to do a fruit spongecake for the 4th, but they only had the individual dessert cups and it was too hot to consider baking a cake.  Without the luxury of a large canvas, I decided to make each one a mini work of art.

When you go on a cruise, the garde manger department spends a long time on elaborate carvings of fruit, vegetables, butter, chocolate, ice, and anything else that can hold a shape at room temperature.  I'm not that good, but I can do simple things like roses out of fruit peels and berry art.  I can also make tulips out of bell peppers with a skewer through a spear of asparagus for the stem.  It's a waste of food when they're only for decoration, but the fruit cups here were dessert.  I feel better about that.

To achieve the effect in the photo is really easy.  First, fill the depression in the dessert cup with half-frozen Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream.  Then hull a bunch of strawberries and cut into quarters.  The stars are each five of the quarters, with three blueberries in the middle.

For the fan, decide which side of the strawberry is flattest.  Carefully slice from the bottom up towards the stem, leaving the stem end intact, in as many fine and even slices as you can get.  Then simply spread the slices on an angle.  When I make a fruit salad, I always save the largest and prettiest strawberry to do this on the very top.  The diners always scoop the salad around this garnish, not wanting to be the one to disturb it.  That's when you know you've done a decent job of finishing your fruit-based artwork.

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