When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fruit Pizza (gluten-free, vegan)

This afternoon's gray and gloomy skies had me wishing for a little bit of colour to brighten things up around here, so I popped into the grocery store to pick up some fresh fruit in a rainbow of colours.  The fruit was just the inspiration I needed for a creative afternoon project:  I decided to make a fruit pizza that our family could share together after dinner this evening.  I baked an almond flour crust, adapted the filling for my lemon and raspberry cheesecake blossoms from last spring to spread on top, and finished it off with an arrangement of vibrant fruit pieces and a sprinkling of coconut.  This simply delicious and appealing dessert was a nice Friday evening treat that all four of us really enjoyed!

Fruit Pizza

For the crust:

2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:

3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for one hour, then rinsed and drained
the juice of half an orange
the juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
the zest of half an orange
the zest of half a lemon

assorted fresh fruit (I used strawberries, blackberries, kiwi, mango, and pineapple)
unsweetened shredded coconut for sprinkling on top of the pizza

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  To make the pizza crust, combine the almond flour, sea salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  Whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in a smaller bowl, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Stir well, then spread the crust mixture out across a standard sized round pizza pan. Firmly press the mixture down with your hands, making sure you have a nice even crust.  Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool completely.

To make the filling, place the soaked cashews, orange juice, lemon juice, vanilla, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup in the bowl of a food processor.  Process the ingredients at high speed, stopping as needed to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, until you have a smooth mixture.  Stir in the orange and lemon zest, and place the filling in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up a little.

Spread the filling out smoothly across the entire top of the cooled pizza crust.  Arrange an assortment of fresh fruit on top of the filling, and sprinkle a little unsweetened shredded coconut over everything.  Slice the pizza into triangles with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife and serve.  (Any leftover slices can be stored in the refrigerator.)

This fresh fruit pizza, with its pretty presentation and pleasing flavours, makes a lovely dessert to follow any spring dinner.  It would be a perfect treat for Easter, too.  Enjoy!

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.  

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