Monday, August 15, 2011

Fruit Arrangement

As much as I love to bake, sometimes nothing tastes as good as some fresh juicy fruit. I recently attended a friend's bbq and could not decide what to make. I also just been through surgery so I didn't want to take on a new project that would be time consuming. I finally decided last minute that I would make some chocolate dipped strawberries and grab some other fruit and make an arrangement out of it...kind of like Edible Arrangements but not as expensive!!

I was a bit nervous starting this project because I didn't want it to look like a scraggly bush of a few strawberries on sticks. I am a bit of a perfectionist and so made sure to research different techniques and do's and don'ts.

I was quite proud of the final product. For my first time, it came out pretty well. It definitely wasn't as hard as I was expecting it to be!
This arrangement fed about 10 people.
I bought a little ceramic flower pot from the dollar store and also managed to get a big block of flora foam at the florist. I didn't even use half the foam so I now have enough to use for other projects.

I cut the flora foam to size and stuffed it in the pot with about half an inch showing up out of the pot.

I made the chocolate dipped strawberries the night before. I melted some chocolate chips in the microwave until they were a non-drippy but runny consistency. Make sure its not too thick or else it will clump onto the berry. You also don't want it to be too runny or else it will drip off your berry. I find a good way to tell is to dip a spoon into the chocolate and turn it right side up. If it holds to the spoon and doesn't travel downwards its golden. You might have to go back an reheat as needed since the chocolate will lose heat and start to harden again.

Make sure you have washed and dried your berries thoroughly and make sure they are room temperature which helps the chocolate stick to the berries better. Stick a toothpick into the base of the berry and swirl it in the chocolate. When you pull it out, make a little swirling motion so that the end doesn't drip. Stick the toothpick with the strawberry upside down onto a piece of styrofoam. You can also just lay them on a foiled sheet but since this was going into an arrangement, I didn't want to have one rounded and one flat side.

You can then sprinkle your strawberry with sweetened coconut shreds like I did or chopped nuts. You could even drizzle white chocolate onto it.

I led them dry overnight but they can be used 20-30 minutes after dipping.

For the arrangement, I grabbed some skewers and grapes. I cut out the pineapple rounds with cookie cutters. Make sure to skewer a grape underneath any of the fruit as this will prevent it from sliding down the skewer. Also try to cut the skewers as you go down the arrangement to give it a rounded bouquet shape. Use your imagination! You could use any kind of fruit or even vegetables!

Finally, I added some lettuce leaves to the base so that the flora foam and sticks wouldn't show. You really don't need to do this. As I said, I'm very particular about this kind of stuff. You could also use parsley or any curly leafy vegetation but I find lettuce to be the cheapest.

One thing to remember is that if you keep the arrangement refrigerated and then take it out, the chocolate strawberries will sweat as you can see from the picture. If you have a humid kitchen and leave it out though, they might melt. I think its better to put them in the fridge and I don't mind the sweat much. I guess, depending on your preference, you can time it so that you don't have to refrigerate it and it doesn't sweat or melt!

I think I cringed a little when people dove into I was really glad that people liked it. Some of the girls thought that it was from Edible Arrangements and couldn't believe that I had made it. All it took were some fruits, sticks, and a piece of foam.

I'd love to see pictures if you try this yourself!! Good Luck!!!

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