The Ultimate Fruit Basket

I knew right away that I wanted to go all-out for presentation week. My mind was overflowing with ideas (not many of them very feasible), but I chose to go with making the ultimate fruit basket. It took longer than I expected, but here’s a summary of what I did:

The Night Before

On Wednesday night, I decided to try to make pineapple-shaped pineapple hand pies and the basket. The filling was incredibly easy to make following this recipe. I rolled out the pastry, which I had made earlier that day, and cut out pineapple shapes. I sealed the hand pie together, decorated it, and put it in the oven. In the meantime, I tried to make the basket. I made pretzel dough, cut it into strips, and wove a basket on an upside-down metal mixing bowl.

The results? They weren’t so hot. I forgot to put butter on the mixing bowl and the baking sheet so both the hand pies and basket were stuck to their containers. Sigh.

The Day Of


I came to the kitchen very early to make the pretzel dough. I have tried various recipes, but so far the best one is the one I made up:

Pretzel Dough


2 cups of milk, 2 packets of active dry yeast, 7 tablespoons brown sugar, 4 tablespoons butter, 5 1/2 cups flour, 2 cups water, 1/2 cup baking soda


  1. Warm the milk in a microwave-safe container. Stir in the yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave-safe container.
  3. Add milk, brown sugar, melted butter, and flour in a large bowl. Mix with your hands (sorry, it’s going to get messy).
  4. Once you get a firm ball, place the dough in a greased container and wrap with greased foil or plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour.
  5. Start making the pretzels!
  6. Bake until the top is golden brown (temperature doesn’t matter, but the baking time will change).

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While the pretzel dough was rising, I started making the filling for the hand pies. Instead of making different fruit fillings like I had originally planned to, I stuck with apples. I stole a couple from the dining hall and began chopping them up. I looked at multiple recipes for apple pie filling, but I chose to make my own. I didn’t measure anything exactly, but from what I can remember this is what I did:

Apple Pie Filling

  1. In a rather deep pan, melt a stick of butter (about 1/2 cup). Keep stove on.
  2. Add 1/3 cup of flour. The flour and butter will make a paste-like substance.
  3. Add 1 cup of white granulated sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar. Mix well.
  4. Add 4 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of allspice,  2 teaspoons of nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix well.
  5. Add 2 1/2 cups of water. Mix and bring mixture to a boil, constantly stirring.
  6. Once it has a thick/sticky consistency, add the apples. Mix well and bring to a boil again for about 1-2 minutes.
  7. It’s ready!

By the time I was finished with the filling, I started to weave the pretzel basket. This time, I buttered AND floured the mixing bowl. Once I finished weaving it, I put it in the oven. Since the mixing bowl was elevated, I was aware that it would take longer to bake. I wanted the basket to be soft, but a bit hard so that it would keep its shape. So I took the time to continue with the hand pies.

I rolled out the pastry. I had made different colors: yellow, orange, and red. Once they were rolled out, I cut out apple shapes, stuffed one half, brushed egg yolk and milk mixture on the edges, and sealed the hand pies. I brushed the egg yolk and milk mixture on the top as well. I made as many as I could and placed them in the oven.

As I had suspected, the basket took a while to bake. However, the butter and flour helped because it instantly came off of the mixing bowl! I had made the handle separately, so I simply used tooth picks to attach it to the basket. Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 9.54.56 PM

I am SO proud of how my fruit basket came out! The pretzel basket was delicious and the hand pies WERE SO ADDICTING. I took the leftover hand pies to my entry and they were devoured. Everything took chunks off of the basket, but eventually we decided to use the remaining basket as a bowl for an ice cream sundae!

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