Oh my, August can be a hot one! And when the air as far as you can see is filled with smoke from wildfires, it makes you feel even warmer!
What to do, what to do? Try to play it cool, of course!
One way to play it cool (mentally and physically) is to take a trip out to the garden, gather some fresh, simple items and mix up some refreshing treats that are sure to please during the last sultry days of summer.
Here’s a simple sweet the whole family can enjoy without a lot of guilt. In fact, if you have children that are interested in cooking this may be a perfect chef-d’oeuvre for them to try their hand in the kitchen.
Healthier Fruit Pizza
It all starts with the crust right? I found this great crust recipe from Blissfully Domestic that uses whole wheat flour and is very easy to make. Here’s the recipe and if you want to see more tap the link above to see how the crust comes together.
3/4 cup softened butter (salted or unsalted, I’ve made it with both and overall the taste is similar)
1/4 cup of sugar
2 cups WHITE whole wheat flour (This type of whole wheat flour is specifically recommended for baking. It is made from hard white spring wheat and contains all the benefits of whole wheat flour including more fiber, vitamins and minerals than all-purpose flours.)
Mix butter and sugar together until well blended. Slowly add flour and mix by hand until it begins to stick together. It will be crumbly for awhile, similar to shortbread, but as you continue to mix,it will begin to come together.
Once the mixture sticks together when you squeeze it, form all of the dough into a ball and place on buttered pizza pan. Press out slowly to sides of pan. (A cookie sheet or 9×13 glass baking dish will also work.)
Try to get an even thickness of about 1/4 inch throughout your pan. Now pop into 350° oven and bake for 15 minutes, watching the edges in case they get too toasty. When finished, remove from oven and cool.
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
Put it together: Beat Greek yogurt and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Once smooth, spread evenly over cooled crust. Arrange selected fruit on top and chill for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Of course, you get to be creative with the fruit! Use whatever you have growing in your garden or is available at the farmer’s market and you can even add a bit of tropical flare with bananas, mango, pineapple, etc… I used strawberries and raspberries because I have a good supply. 🙂
Here’s another way to cool down but this one is adult only. We’ve named it Mr. Pimms R&B but the R&B stands for raspberry and basil instead of rhythm and blues. Although, listening to a little rhythm and blues on a warm evening with a cold one of these in your hand would be rather nice.
Mr. Pimms R&B
2 shots of Mr. Pimms No. 1 liqueur
1/3 cup simple syrup (Bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to boil, stir until sugar is dissolved, cool)
Juice from 2 lemons
1/4 cup raspberries
4 large basil leaves
Muddle raspberries, basil and 2 tblsp of lemon juice together in small bowl using back of spoon or mortar and pestle. Once mashed well, pour into cocktail shaker with Mr. Pimms, the simple syrup and rest of lemon juice. Shake vigorously and strain over glasses half filled with ice. Top off with sparkling water. Serves 2. Enjoy!
If by chance you’re wondering about Mr. Pimms, it’s a British thing. We discovered it in early summer and according to the New York Times it is growing in popularity in the U.S. And of course, with the Olympics being in London this summer we thought it fun to bring a little British merrymaking to our house!
How about you? What simple home-made treats do you enjoy during the sultry summer days?