Being an avid Iowa State football and tailgating fan can be especially tricky during harvest season. Our family is relatively new to this particular fall tradition, so we needed to find a way to make foods that were easy, tasty and fun.
Fruit pizza is always a favorite at our tailgate, but it’s also a time-consuming dessert. The time it took to make this dessert each home football weekend began to wear everyone down. We started looking for solutions. Instead of baking one large sugar cookie crust, I decided to bake individual sugar cookies. In the spirit of the season, I like to make the cookies in the shape of footballs. Other cookies are in the shape of pigs because we are such a pork promoting family. Pig-shaped cookies are especially appropriate this month since October is Pork Month.
Making sugar cookies has turned from a chore into a fun time, thanks to “baking parties” with my college friends in Ames. We bake up a large batch of cookies and then freeze them in small freezer bags. That way we can take out the number we need before each game, My mom, Barb Determan, makes the frosting and cuts the fruit. We make a simple frosting – cream cheese and Cool Whip. Whip these two ingredients together, put them in a sealed container, and throw it the cooler.
Next we choosefive to six of our favorite fresh fruits that differ in color, taste and texture. The morning of the game, we cut the fruit into small pieces. One thing we learned with the smaller, personal version of fruit pizza is thatthe fruit pieces must be fairly small to allow each person to have a variety. We usually put them in a relish tray for easy transport. Fortunately, we found an economical tray that is deep enough for a good amount of each fruit yet small for the ease of transport in the cooler.
At the tailgate, we set up an “assembly line” featuring a plate of cookies, the frosting and tray of fruit. Each person makes his or her own, selecting the varieties of fruit and putting as much as he or she wants on the personal pizza. We love this method for several reasons: no one now picks off the fruit he or she didn’t like; we can offer a larger selection of fruit choices (don’t have to leave something off one person doesn’t like); plus it divides the labor (one person bakes, one person brings the topping and fruit and everyone assembles). It saves a huge amount of time!
Personal Fruit Pizza
- Ready made sugar cookie dough, baked according to package directions
- 8 ounces cream cheese (regular or light)
- 8 ounces Cool Whip
- Variety of fruits, cut into small pieces, such as: Strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, pineapple, blueberries, grapes, peaches, blackberries, mandarin oranges, bananas