Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Birthday Musings and Fruit Pizza!
Traditionally, the birthday cake was always the same. "Champagne Dream Cake", from Eddie's Bakery. It totally looks like something a six-year-old stripper would want to jump out of (and then face-plant into). But it was cloaked in whipped cream, with light frothy cake and a dense custard filling. And then crowned with white chocolate curls (dyed pink) and icing birthday decor on top of that. It was delicious. There are pictures of me smashing a tiny version, the year I turned one. As I got a little older, it became more and more inappropriate, but the dream cake tradition soldiered on. The year I turned 21, there were blobby buttercream pink elephants celebrating on top with plastic champagne bottles, amid the curls of chocolate.
Three years ago, I asked that they please respect my wishes, and not get dream cake, and it was like someone had died. We got a dense, gluten-free chocolate torte from Whole Foods. We all ate one obligatory slice apiece, and then it sat there, unloved, the rest of the holiday weekend.
This year, the big day is actually ON Thanksgiving. Mom called, and started asking about gluten-free cakes. I asked her to please not worry about it, I would make my own, and she started talking about all the wonderful gluten-free flours on the market, and bakeries that are out there. I stubbornly insisted that I would prefer to make my own cake. Like last year.
Yeah. Last year, I used a coconut flour recipe. It was beautifully decorated, and it was good, but eating it was like eating a log. Heavy doesn't even begin to describe it.
So I heard the worry in my mother's voice when I said I was going to do this again.
I decided to go in another direction. Another of my favorite desserts was always fruit pizza, and it seemed like a great compromise, if not exactly cake. So I have been looking around for organic, seasonal fruit, and scouring blogs for recipes that looked good.
I used a sweetened coconut flour base, cream cheese frosting, and a lightly sweetened glaze on top. I am really excited, and proud of the way it came out. It's a fairly complicated, multi-step recipe, but all the actual techniques are really simple. If you want to use a small round pizza pan, you can cut these recipes all in half. (Or make two!)
Here's the scoop:
Crust: (Adapted from The Coconut Mama's Coconut Flour Pie Crust Recipe)
1 c. salted butter, melted (preferably Kerrygold or similar)
1/4 Tsp. Sea Salt
1.5 Cup Coconut Flour
2 TB Maple syrup
1)Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl beat everything EXCEPT coconut flour together with a fork. Gradually incorporate coconut flour.
2)Gather the dough into a ball, then pat evenly onto a standard cookie sheet. Use a fork to make a fluted pattern around the edges of the pan. While you have your fork, prick 6-8 holes in the flattened dough, just for kicks.
3) Bake 9 minutes. Remove, allow to cool.
While crust is baking, make the Cream Cheese Frosting (Adapted from Elana's Pantry.)
Cream Cheese Frosting
¾ c. heavy cream
1 package cream cheese (it helps to have this in a warm spot for an hour beforehand, it makes mixing much easier)
¼ c. Maple syrup
1 Tb.vanilla extract
1) Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. I used a hand blender.
2) Throw it in the fridge to cool.
If you really want to get fancy, you can use a glaze. This is helpful if you aren't going to eat your creation right away, and it gives everything a beautiful, finished "sheen". The one I used is simple: just three ingredients.
Fruit Pizza Glaze
1/2 c. water.
2 tsp. arrowroot powder
1 Tb maple syrup
1) Pour water into your teeniest saucepan, and bring to a boil.
2)Mix arrowroot and maple syrup together in a smallish bowl until arrowroot is completely incorporated.
3)Pour boiling water into arrowroot mixture. Stir until all combined. Allow to cool.
While everything is cooling, you have time to prep your fruit. I used raspberries, satsumas (seedless) strawberries, kiwi fruit, and pomegranate seeds. I wanted blueberries, but couldn't find organic. If you want to use fruits that brown (like apples, pears, bananas) you will probably want to use lemon juice on them first. I avoided that, because this is already a little complicated!
Wash, stem and peel anything that needs it. Slice your fruit- a mandoline helps, but I did it all by hand. This will probably take awhile.
OK! Last part! This is where it all comes together.
1) Apply Cream Cheese Frosting to cooled crust layer. The best technique seems to be to put a glop in the middle, then push it outwards, being careful not to cover the pretty fluting at the edges.
2) Arrange fruit slices on top of cream cheese frosting. You can use as much or as little as you want: I just tried not to put similar colors next to each other, overlapped a little,and did concentric squares-starting at the outside and moving in, to keep things fairly even.
3)Apply your glaze, using a brush- I used a silicone basting brush, it went well. Then I sprinkled some pomegranate seeds on top to make it look a little more carefree.
Into the fridge with that beast! And may the Force be with you.