Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fruit Flowers On A Stick: A How To Guide

Well if you didn’t guess, the fruit flower bowl was my entry in the Food On A Stick contest. I chose it because it was a beautiful and healthy way to eat fruit!

You may remember my mystery tools that I recently posted. Well they are fruit and vegetable carving tools. You can see that most of them are slicers and cutters that create ripples or edges. The one unusual in the upper left tools is a spiral cutter. It handcranks into the fruit or veggie and creates two interlocking spirals- like a corkscrew! I actually only used the spiral cutter and my flower shaped cookie cutters for this particular project.

And the tools came with this book, The Art of Garnishing by Jerry Crowley, which has all sorts of examples. I haven't tried making the watermelon whales but I am considering it!

So, how did I create these? Well, I used a combination of the spiral cutting and two cookie cutters. I cut a small piece of melon rind for the base of each stick to keep the fruit from sliding. If you don't have this tool, you don't need to make the spirals. Just put a tiny piece of melon rind to keep things from sliding. I read that someone recommended gum drops. It doesn't work and made a huge sticky mess. The gumdrops absorbed the fruit moisture ( yuck) and got the skewer all gummy.

I used a variety of fruits: strawberries, pineapple, watermelon, kiwi and honeydew melon. The watermelon was pretty ripe (maybe overly) and delicate. It wasn’t ideal for the flower cutouts.

Pineapple words well because it is firm and stays in place on the skewer. I also chose fruits that would not brown- so apples or bananas! Apples and bananas brown due to enzymatic reactions- this can be slowed with the addition of acid like lemon juice but I didn’t want to interfere with taste.

The kiwi was very easy to cut and worked very well. Just slice and use the cutter- no peeling!

Fruit Flower #1

To create these flowers, I purposely used the pineapple as a base support over the spiral. I knew it wouldn’t slide and would hold up the delicate watermelon. Then I layered a kiwi and a strawberry.

Here's the top view. You can position the flowers to alternate and show each petal.

Fruit Flower #2

For this flower, I adapted to a problem I was having. I kept breaking a petal on the watermelon cutout. So, decided to use that to my advantage and prop it upright on the stick, right where the missing petal was. Voila!

And to create the bowl, I sliced a tiny bit from the bottom of the half cut melon so it wouldn’t wobble. I then used a pairing knife and hand cut a little scalloping edge. I realized I could cut out the rind and expose the pink flesh for a litte contrast- totally by accident. It looked great. You can see the honeydew melon on the left where I drilled the spirals!

And so for the final assembly, I arranged the skewers into the watermelon base and it turned out great! I have heard of others using cabbage as a good base as well. This is the perfect treat for a baby shower, birthday party etc. You can get indulgent by chocolate dipping the fruits if you like.

And what did we do with the fruit scraps? Saved them for some smoothies in the Vitamix!