Dipped fruit arrangements are an exciting and edible alternative to traditional flower bouquets for centerpieces or gifts. Unfortunately, they can also be quite pricey, leaving little wiggle room in a tight budget. If you’re determined to use a dipped fruit arrangement as a centerpiece at your next soiree or to present one as a gift to a loved one, you may find that simply making your own not only costs less, but also allows you greater leeway in terms of design. Rather than choosing between a few pre-arranged designs available from a specialty store, you’re only limited by your imagination and kitchen skills.
- Brainstorm Your Design – The first step to creating your own dipped fruit arrangement is to decide what sort of design you’d like to create and how you want your arrangement to look. Browsing pictures of arrangements online can give you a basic idea of technique and serve as inspiration for your own creation. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, with fruit sliced into innovative shapes you’ve never seen in other arrangements. If you’re going to get very experimental, however, you may want to allow yourself enough materials for a practice run the day before you create your actual arrangement. Just remember to keep your designs realistic and to operate within the bounds of your knife skills. An elaborate arrangement that requires intricate knife work may not be the best choice for someone who’s accustomed to doing little more than rough chopping and peeling.
- Gather Your Supplies – Before you start working on your arrangement, you’ll want to make sure that you have all of the necessary tools in place. Walking away from your work when you’re on a roll to retrieve something you forgot to bring into the kitchen or, even worse, being forced to make another run to the store while your half-assembled arrangement sits waiting can put a serious damper on your creativity.
- Carefully Consider Your Fruit Choices – Some fruits are more suited to being cut or shaped into parts of a dipped arrangement due to their consistency. Others may turn brown after they’re cut, ruining an otherwise exquisite arrangement. Think carefully about what’s in season as well, because out of season produce may be under-ripe or lacking in flavor. A lot of thought goes into creating the perfect dipped fruit arrangement, but it is well worth it in the end. A quick tip: if you’re determined to use apples, pears or other fruits that have a tendency to turn brown quickly, create a design that allows them to be dipped in chocolate to mask the discoloration.
- Set Aside Plenty of Time – Depending on your skill level and experience with creating interesting shapes from produce, creating a dipped fruit arrangement may require the better part of an afternoon. Making sure that you set aside enough time to make mistakes or even start over will dramatically reduce the chances of a frantic, slipshod assembly that leaves much to be desired aesthetically. If at all possible, try to work on your arrangement on a day when you’re least likely to be distracted or called away.
- Melt Your Chocolate Properly – In order to make sure that your arrangement is as perfectly appointed as possible, you’ll need to make every effort to melt your chocolate properly. While chocolate that’s been chopped and thrown into a pot on high heat will melt, it’s also more likely to scorch and be ruined. Using a double boiler and a healthy measure of patience will help ensure that your chocolate melts to a beautiful, silky consistency.
- Dip and Set – Dip the chosen fruit pieces into the chocolate you’ve melted, then allow it to set. You can gently place dipped fruit onto wax paper, but the pooling chocolate may leave an unsightly flat edge. Skewering the pieces and propping the sticks up so that the dipped fruit is left to set with nothing touching the surface may be a better solution.
- Create Your Arrangement – Once all of your pieces are cut and the ones you’ve dipped have been allowed to set, collect your container, florist’s foam and skewers so that you can get to work! Assemble your dipped arrangement until it looks like you imagined, then prepare for the rave reviews from your guests or loved ones!