Teresa Hatchell 2005

Over the past several weeks, I have written about infusing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables into meals. And, many readers emailed their appreciation, noting that they have always pretty much stuck to recipes as they are written for fear of ending with a distasteful creation. Well, this week I want to reiterate to you that vegetables and fruit can take on many roles. The possibilities are endless.

With peach season getting under way in this part of the country, I thought I might urge you all to do something exciting besides making a peach cobbler or a peach delight. Now that we are trying to eat as healthy as possible, you could stir up a more wholesome dessert like peach dumplings or fruit pizza. Remember that a dose of vitamin-packed fruit like peaches, blueberries, kiwi and strawberries will surely give you a dose of nutrition your immune system will appreciate.

My mother’s father, Frank Lodwick, was from Florida. He was a gourmet cook and a nutrition fanatic. He believed in incorporating fresh fruits (and veggies) into as many dishes as possible – from salads to entrees to desserts. And, he lived a long, healthy life. I fondly recall that he prepared a type of fruit pizza with a thin homemade sugar cookie dough crust. I don’t have his recipe, so I am offering my own version of that recipe. Too, I dug in some old cookbooks and found a peach dumpling recipe in “The Dinner Bell is Ringing,” by Kathleen S. Lesesne (1974, Walker, Evans & Cogswell Company). Please remember that you may change recipes to suit your taste and dietary needs.

Peach dumplings

Pastry

2 cups self-rising flour, sifted

1/2 cup shortening

2/3 cup milk

Paste

3 tablespoons butter or Can't Believe It's Not Butter

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon allspice

3/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 cup sifted brown sugar

3 tablespoons peach jelly or preserves (may use sugar-free variety)

8 medium peaches, peeled and pitted

Syrup

1-1/2 cups boiling water

1-1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons fruit juice (orange, lemon or apricot)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. To make dumplings: In a large bowl, cut the shortening into the flour. Stir in the milk and mix until a soft dough is formed. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead it lightly. Roll it 1/8-inch thick and cut it into eight (6-inch) squares.

To prepare peach center: Make a paste of butter, spices and brown sugar. Place a peach in center of each dough square. Put peach jelly or preserves in the pit cavity and spread spicy paste over each peach.

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Lightly moisten edges of pastry. Bring points together over the peach; seal the sides firmly. Place the dumplings in large greased baking dish (about 11x15). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

To make syrup: While peach dumplings are baking, use a medium saucepan to make syrup of water, sugar and fruit juice. Bring the ingredients to a boil and immediately reduce the heat. Simmer to dissolve the sugar completely, stirring frequently. Pour this syrup over the baked peach dumplings and bake them for 10 to 20 minutes more, basting frequently, to create an attractive glaze. This recipe makes eight servings.

Easy fruit pizza

1 20-ounce package refrigerated cookie dough, any flavor

3 cups thawed Cool Whip

1/2 box 10X powdered sugar

2 cups assorted fruit as desired, such as sliced peaches, bananas, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, or crushed pineapple, etc.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Press cookie dough evenly into a 12-inch pizza pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely. Slice fruit and drain juice from fruit. In a medium bowl, stir whipped topping and powdered sugar together. Spread the mixture on top of the cookie crust. Evenly distribute varieties of fruit on top. Slice into 12 slices. 

Variation of fruit pizza

Prepare the cookie crust and fruit as described above. In a medium bowl, beat 8 ounces Neufatchel (low-fat) cream cheese and 12-ounces apricot preserves until creamy. Stir in 2 cups lite whipped topping, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 2 teaspoons light mayonnaise until a smooth consistency forms. Spread this on top of the cookie crust. Evenly distribute varieties of fruit on top. Slice this creamy, nutritious pizza into 12 slices.

Contact writer at tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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