Strawberry Fruit PIzza

Do you still have fresh picked (or any) strawberries at home? If you do, this is the recipe that should be next on your list to make. It is light, sweet and highlights the taste and flavor of a fresh-picked summer strawberry. 

Cream Cheese Icing: Yay or Nay?

I think I was in college when I first tasted fruit pizza. It was a traditional fruit pizza with sugar cookie crust, thick cream cheese icing and topped with whatever fruit we had on hand. I loved the idea of a fruit pizza, but the heaviness of the cream cheese (maybe I didn’t try the right recipe? Send me your favorites!) wasn’t my favorite. I grew up in a family full of chocolate-lovers who didn’t make a whole lot of “fruit-forward” desserts, so this was a new treat for me. I liked the taste. But I loved the idea of fruit pizza. 

THIS RECIPE USING A LIGHTER WHIPPED FROSTING THAN THE TRADITIONAL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

As years have passed, I have made fruit pizza a time or two. Traditionally fruit pizza is topped with cream cheese icing that is meant to help counter the sweetness of the sugar cookie and fruit on top. I sometimes think that it makes fruit pizza feel heavy so I decided in this Strawberry Fruit Pizza to use heavy whipping cream as the base for my sugar cookie topping. This was a very good idea.

The strawberry cream on top of this Strawberry Fruit Pizza is light, not overly sweet and provides the perfect richness and counterbalance to the sweet sugar cookie on the bottom and strawberries on top. I whip heavy whipping cream with a few Tablespoons of my favorite strawberry jam (we make ours homemade using Pomonas Universal Pectin, affiliate link) and a little bit of powdered sugar. You can add more or less sugar depending on how sweet you want your cream. I prefer the cream to be a little less sweet so it balances with the sweetness of the sugar cookie. The strawberry whipped cream is definitely the missing key to my idea of the perfect fruit pizza.

Fruit pizza is so Adaptable to what Fruit you have on hand

This particular fruit pizza recipe is made with strawberries in mind, but one of the things I love about fruit pizza is how adaptable it is. It would pair perfectly with other delicious fruit if you wanted to add blueberries, raspberries or any other favorite fruit for topping. I love it with freshly-picked strawberries because it highlights them so well, but I am also a big believer in adapting what you have in your kitchen and using up produce that is on its last legs.

Strawberry Fruit pizza can be made for a crowd or “personal” sized

Sometimes I want a fruit pizza that I can make for a crowd. Sometimes I like fruit pizza that each of my kids get to decorate or that would be perfect for a kids birthday or family party. I have included both variations of the recipes below. We like making a giant fruit pizza as a beautiful statement for a family Sunday dinner. Sometimes I’ll shape the fruit pizza into a rectangle and decorate as the American Flag on Independence Day. The options are endless. The smaller individual fruit pizzas would be great for a special treat after family pizza night or to freeze and pull out for anytime you have a hankering for a smaller version of fruit pizza.

Sugar Cookie DOugh Tips

One thing about the sugar cookie dough. This dough is a little bit sticky. I like to wet my hands before working with it to shape the dough into a giant circle if you are making a large fruit pizza. You can bake it on a pizza pan or a cookie sheet. Whatever way you choose to go, please line your pan with parchment paper before baking. It will save you  in the long run and helps your cookie bake more evenly on the bottom. The sugar cookie will also spread quite a bit when baking, so be prepared. I also think this cookie tastes best a little under-baked, so don’t wait for the edges to get all brown but pull it out of the oven a little before that happens. One big fruit pizza usually takes about 20 minutes in my oven. The smaller fruit pizzas take about 13 minutes.

As always, the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the sugar cookie to cool before decorating it. I like to leave it on the pan for about 5-10 minutes to let it set up a little before picking up the parchment paper and moving it to the counter. I’ve found this helps set the cookie and speed up the cooling process. Once it’s cooled you are a mere minutes away from the perfect fruit pizza. Yum!

Strawberry Fruit Pizza

Yield: 1 fruit pizza or 7-8 individual fruit pizzas

Time: 10 minute mix, 20-22 minute bake, 5 minute assemble 

Ingredients:

Cookie Base

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 ⅓ cups flour

Topping:

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons strawberry jam, your favorite brand
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar (more or less depending on the sweetness of your jam)
  • Strawberries, sliced to decorate the fruit pizza

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl with a mixing attachment or using a hand mixer, whip together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue mixing for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix again.
  3. In a separate bowl (or straight into the middle of the butter mixture if you don’t like washing two bowls), add the baking soda, salt and cream of tartar. If you put those directly into the butter mixture, mix it up at this time until incorporated. If you are using a separate bowl, add the flour to the bowl and then mix together. 
  4. Add the flour mixture or flour (depending on the method you used) to the creamed butter and mix together until fully combined, about 1 minute.
  5. On a parchment lined baking sheet, mound the dough in the center of the baking sheet. Get your hands wet and press the dough into a thick circle. The more you spread the dough out, the less time it will need to bake. If you are using a pizza pan instead of mounded on a baking sheet, you will want to reduce the baking time to 10-12 minutes.
  6. Bake the cookie base for about 18-22 minutes. The bake time will depend on how spread out your dough is. Pull the cookie out of the oven just before it starts to brown on the edges (or is barely starting to brown).
  7. While the cookie base cools, whip up the topping. In a small bowl and using an electric mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks are formed. Mix in a few Tablespoons of your favorite strawberry jam. Add a Tablespoon or more of powdered sugar depending on how sweet you like your cream.
  8. Slice fresh strawberries and set aside for topping the pizza.
  9. Once the cookie is cooled, decorate the fruit pizza with the whipped cream topping and strawberries on top. Enjoy!

Variation for Individual Fruit Pizzas:

  1. Follow the recipe through step 4. 
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Mound two scoops of cookie dough on top of each other (see picture). Using a wet hand, lightly press down on the dough. Space cookies four to a pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes. Let cool completely before topping. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes: The individual cookies freeze well in a Ziploc bag, so you can make fruit pizza whenever you want.

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The Best Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry season has arrived in Kentucky and it is glorious! I scoured the internet searching for a strawberry farm where we could go pick some fresh strawberries and found the perfect little family farm that produced delicious berries and let us fill our bellies and our buckets. Picking fresh berries is one of our favorite summertime activities because we get to be outside, taste the sweetness of fresh berries and get to dream about all the yummy things we will make with our extra buckets of berries.

Strawberry Shortcake: Cake or Biscuit?

One of the desserts that I love to make that really highlights the natural sweetness and flavor of fresh strawberries is strawberry shortcake. Strawberry shortcake is one of those desserts that people often have their own image of in their mind. Is strawberry shortcake more “cakey” or is it more of a “biscuit?” I love it both ways, but today’s recipe is going to focus on the more “biscuit” version. The biscuit version of strawberry shortcake is tender, flaky like pie crust and oh-so-rich. It makes a beautiful backdrop for the star of the show: the strawberry!

Do you like your strawberries with added sugar?

I grate the cold butter right on top of the dry ingredients

Freshly picked strawberries are diced small and then let to rest in the fridge with a little added sugar. How much extra sugar you add is completely up to you! I prefer to let the strawberry really shine and don’t like an overly sweet strawberry shortcake, so I tend to add only a teaspoon or so of sugar. Some people like very sweet, macerated strawberries and will add ¼ cup of sugar to their 1 cup of strawberries. Wherever you fall on the sugar scale, this recipe is so adaptable and delicious either way.

A biscuit-like dough is formed using cold butter that is grated into the flour mixture. You can also clump the butter in with your fingers or a pastry cutter, but grating is my favorite way to get perfect-sized pieces of butter in your dough. Heavy cream is then added to the dry mixture and formed into a ball with a small knead and then shaped into a square. I use a bench knife to cut my biscuits in one quick stroke. You could also use a biscuit cutter. I wouldn’t use a cup because when you twist the cup on the biscuit dough it actually seals off the dough and doesn’t leave enough room for your biscuit to rise (I’ve done a side-by-side comparison, and the difference is very noticeable).

Ready for some melted butter

The dough is then brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar on top and then baked at a high temperature for a short time to really activate the baking powder and get the best rise out of the shortcakes. I reduce the temperature part way through baking for an even bake and no burned bottoms. Once the biscuits are cooled, they are topped with luscious freshly whipped cream and of course, those freshly picked strawberries. 

Strawberries naturally shine in this shortcake. They are the star!

No recipe lets freshly picked strawberries shine like that of strawberry shortcake. They are late spring and early summer bottled up into perfection. I watched my ten-year-old devour this strawberry shortcake and exclaim how delicious it was and thought about how she will have those same summer memories of picking berries and eating strawberry shortcake. This cake makes me understand why the Poky Little Puppy didn’t get any strawberry shortcake. His siblings thought it was that good!

Strawberry Shortcake

Yield: 4-6 strawberry shortcakes

Time: 40 minutes total, 15 minute mix, 15 minute bake, 10 minute preparation

Ingredients:

Shortcake

  • 2 cups (10 oz) all purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided (2 Tablespoons in the shortcake and 2 Tablespoons to sprinkle on top after baking) 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (6 Tablespoons cold butter and 2 Tablespoons melted)
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream, plus 1-2 Tablespoons as needed

Shortcake Topping

  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries, quartered and/or diced
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon-¼ cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut the tops off of a pint of fresh strawberries. Cut the strawberries into small pieces. I like them roughly diced. Add 1 teaspoon to ¼ cup of sugar, depending on how sweet you like your strawberries in the shortcake. Let sit in the fridge for an hour or two for the sugar to combine with the berries before serving. You can also press about 25% of the berries against the side of the bowl to help release some juices.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Use a fork to combine.
  4. Grate 6 Tablespoons of cold butter on top of the flour mixture. You can use your fingers to crumble in the butter, or use a pastry cutter.
  5. Add the heavy cream and gently mix to combine. Add more cream a Tablespoon at a time if the dough is too crumbly. Form into a ball.
  6. On a floured surface, set the ball on the countertop and gently knead 2-3 times. Pat the dough into a square shape, about 1-1 ½ inches thick.
  7. Using a bench knife or large knife, cut the dough into 4 squares or 6 rectangles (depending on how many shortcakes you want).
  8. Spread them apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with 1 Tablespoon melted butter and top with 1 Tablespoon sugar.
  9. Bake for 5 minutes at 450 degrees. Quickly pull them out of the oven and lightly brush the remaining 1 Tablespoon of melted butter over the top of the shortcakes and sprinkle the remaining 1 Tablespoon sugar on top. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place the shortcakes back in the oven and bake for 10-12 more minutes. Allow shortcakes to cool completely.
  10. While shortcakes are cooling, whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with a handheld or stand mixer. Sweeten according to your taste (I like about 1 teaspoon of sugar…not very sweet. For a sweeter cream use 1-2 Tablespoons of sugar). This whipped cream can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a few hours.
  11. To assemble the shortcakes: Cut the shortcake in half like you would an english muffin. Place 2 Tablespoons of whipped cream on the bottom half of the shortcake. Top with a Tablespoon of strawberries. Place the top half of the shortcake on top of the strawberries. Add a little extra bit of cream and berries on top of the shortcake for decoration. Enjoy!

Watch me make the Strawberry Shortcake below:

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