If you ask me what I'd consider to be heaven on Earth, the one place I am happiest, the location I would most like to be everyday, I'd tell you without hesitation, the beach. Whether I am walking along the water's edge or sitting on the porch of an ocean front house, I am at peace. I can't spend a lot of time out in the blazing hot sun because I have very a fair complexion, but my pale skin doesn't keep me from enjoying every moment of tranquility at the beach. An entire afternoon spent in a comfy chair on a covered porch just listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the sandy shore is my idea of time well spent.
It was only natural, that when I began working on summer themed recipes my mind turned to the beach. A few years ago, I entered a beach themed cake in Family Fun's Great Cake Contest. Although I think this cake would make a perfect centerpiece for a beach, pool or summer themed party, decorating it was a tremendous amount of work, so I decided to come up with a beach ball inspired dessert that would be much simpler to create.
When I came across the picture of my beach ball buddies cake last week, I was sitting at my computer eating a bowl of fruit, as I so often do in the summer, and noticed the beautiful rainbow of colors in my bowl. I began to think about all the fruit desserts that I enjoy, especially in the summer, and how I could transform one of those recipes into a beach ball. The perfect solution was to create a fruit pizza and arrange the fruit to look like the panels of a beach ball.
Knowing it would take some time to decorate my fruit pizza, I decided to keep everything else about this dessert simple and quick. I baked up a large Pillsbury sugar cookie and topped it with a lemon cheesecake mousse made from Philadelphia Ready to Eat Cheesecake Filling, a jar of lemon curd, and some whipped topping. The light lemon flavor is a perfect compliment to all of the fruit. I chose a rainbow of fruits that I enjoy eating including blueberries, raspberries, apricots, bananas, kiwi, pineapple, and strawberries, but you can choose whatever fruits you prefer.
Beach Ball Fruit Pizza (serves 12-16)
non-stick baking spray
1 tube Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
1 cup Philadelphia Ready to Eat Cheesecake Filling*
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
blue - 1 pint blueberries (or blackberries, purple grapes)
red - 1 pint raspberries (or red grapes, watermelon, strawberries, currants)
yellow - pineapple (or yellow melon, yellow peaches)
orange - 2 apricots (or cantaloupe, oranges, ripe peaches)
white - 1 banana (or pears, apples) tossed with some lemon or lime juice
center circle panel
red - 2-3 strawberries (you could use any color fruit here)
sand - optional
ground up cookies, graham crackers, or cereal (I used rice krispies)
*If you can't find the Philadelphia Ready to Eat Cheesecake Filling, see alternatives at the end of the recipe.
Special Equipment Needed:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lightly spray pizza pan with non-stick baking spray. Use a paper towel to dab off any excess spray. Press cookie into an even layer in the pan. Bake for 14-16 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.
While cookie is cooling, make lemon cheesecake mousse. In a mixing bowl, combine Philadelphia Ready to Eat Cheesecake Filling and lemon curd. Fold in whipped topping.
My cookie puffed up past the edge of the pan, so I had to trim off the excess around the edge of the cookie. It made for a nice crunchy little snack.
Set the cookie upside down on a large cutting board or serving platter. If using, sprinkle ground up cookies, graham crackers, or cereal all around the cookie. Spread lemon cheesecake mousse in an even layer over entire surface of cookie using an offset spatula or rubber spatula.
Optional: I suggest you use an offset spatula or spoon to draw three of the curved panels, as well as, the center circular panel into the lemon mousse. It was nice to have this as a guide as I added the fruit to the top of the pizza.
Dice about 3 large strawberries. Fill in the center circle with the diced strawberries. Arrange blueberries along two sides of one of the curved areas.
Fill in that section with blueberries. Dice pineapple and fill in the section left of the blueberries. Cut raspberries in half lengthwise and set cut side down in the section to the right of the blueberries. Dice the kiwi and the apricots, and fill in two more sections of the beach ball.
If you are using bananas, apples, or pears for the white section of the beach ball, you'll need to toss them with a bit of lemon or lime juice so that they will not turn too brown. I used one banana and about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice. Once your beach ball fruit pizza is complete, chill it in the refrigerator for at least one hour and up to six hours. Display your beach ball prominently on your food table, so all of your guests can marvel at your edible art. Just before serving, cut the beach ball with a sharp knife into 12-16 slices. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
* I've had a few readers tell me they can't find the cheesecake filling, so here are two recipe suggestions that can be used instead. The recipe that will taste the most like a true cheesecake when mixed with the lemon curd would be from my Pastry Crowns filled with Cheesecake Mousse recipe here ---> http://www.hungryhappenings.com/2011/02/dessert-fit-for-king.html. You'll make a custard which is then mixed with cream cheese. It tastes so much like a baked cheese cake which is how the Philadelphia Ready to Eat Cheesecake Filling also tastes . After you make the mousse you can measure out a cup of it and mix it with the lemon curd and whipped topping or you can skip the whipped topping and just mix the lemon curd into the entire batch of mousse. If you have too much mousse, just eat it with a spoon! For a quicker and easier solution you can make a no-bake cheesecake filling which is a traditoinal topping for a fruit pizza. Use the no-bake cheesecake recipe from my Patriotic Cheesecakes Topped with Raspberry Gelee here ---> http://www.hungryhappenings.com/2012/06/patriotic-cheesecakes-topped-with.html. It is also very good, it just doesn't have that custard like taste of a baked cheesecake. Just mix lemon curd into the filling. You don't need the extra whipped topping.
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