Tuesday, May 12, 2009

DIY - Edible Bouquet

You've probably heard of Edible Arrangements, the fruit "florist." They make those tasty bouquets of flower-shaped pineapples, melon balls, grape kabobs, and chocolate-covered strawberries. And they deliver. For this Mother's Day, my sister and I thought an edible fruit bouquet would make a great gift for our mom; she loves fruit, and she loves cutesy, crafty things like a fruit bouquet. But instead of ordering from Edible Arrangements (because it's kind of pricey and because we like projects like this—remember, food is a hobby), we created one ourselves.

It's not hard! My sister's boyfriend is a chef, so he had a handy collection of garnish tools that made it easy to ball the cantaloupe and to give the oranges that sunshine look by scoring the peel before slicing it, but everything else can be done with a paring knife. To make the flower-shaped pieces of cantaloupe, first trace your shape into the melon's flesh by making shallow cuts with the knife. Then cut it out for real. For the orange "blossom" at the bottom of our bouquet, cut a zigzag of wedges around an orange half (you'll see we speared some of the cut-out little wedges on the kabobs).

The strawberries and marshmallows are dipped in a chocolate ganache. Sounds like a fancy word; it's basically chocolate melted with other stuff so it will set when cooled but will remain soft. If you melt some chocolate chips with nothing else mixed in, the chocolate will harden again when cooled, and you'll be crunching through it to get to the fruit. I'd give you the recipe for the ganache we used, but the chef among us just whipped it up, so... I recommend you look up any simple chocolate ganache and start dipping! Or, if you prefer something beyond simple, look for a ganache in white chocolate, chocolate-orange, chocolate-raspberry, almond...

Some tips:

  • Stick your skewers of fruit into a half a head of cabbage. It's sturdy, foodsafe (duh) and biodegradable.
  • Remember to thread your fruit kabobs backwards, starting with whatever piece you want to be at the top of the skewer and sliding each piece up as you pierce it, leaving the pointy side of the skewer down, to be shoved into the cabbage.
  • Dip your chocolate-covered items first and let them set while you work on other pieces.
  • Sometimes the fruit will slide down the skewer, but grapes seem to hold their place, so slide a grape underneath pieces that won't stay put.

My next edible bouquet experiment: veggies!

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