Exotic Fruit Platter

Exotic Fruit Platter

Thankfully not everything on our Ghostbusters cart requires pastry-making skills or a sweet tooth, the former of which I don’t claim to have at all. In addition to being the most visually impressive item on the cart, it’s also the easiest thing to put together. We’re lucky in Toronto to have such a bustling Chinatown with many fresh fruit and vegetable vendors, although nowadays you can also find a small selection of more exotic fruits at well-stocked grocery stores. If all you have is your local grocery store to work with, you can still create something fun for Halloween using more readily available items and some inventive cutting.

To achieve the visual effect, we left some of the fruits listed below whole, with their seeds in and peels intact. If you want to be kinder to your guests, prepare the fruit to be more easily plucked and eaten from the platter, saving some of the trim for an inedible garnish.

This is what’s on our exotic fruit platter:

3 Limes
1 Orange
4-5 Mangosteens
1 Dragon Fruit
4-5 Rambutans
1 Custard Apple
1 Papaya
1 small bunch Black Seedless Grapes
1 Red Mango
1 small Cantaloupe
10 Strawberries
1 large Cortland Apple
Lemon Verbena or Mint, for garnish

Limes: Transform the limes into completely cheesy-looking lime flowers first by slicing off the top and bottom of each lime. One lime creates one lime flower. Going from end-to-end, cut two slices as thinly as possible without going through to the very bottom of the skin so that you have to two thin slices of lime joined together by a connecting piece of skin. The process is similar to creating a hasselback potato but instead of leaving the lime whole, you’re only aiming to get two slices per piece. Repeat the process for the entire lime. Spread each segment of lime flat, creating two petals that are joined at the base by the skin. Layer the other slices of lime on top in opposite directions to create a sort of lime flower. Using a sturdy toothpick or small skewer, pierce the pieces from the bottom to hold them all together, leaving a portion of the skewer coming through the top of the flower. Place a rambutan, strawberry or grape on the tip of the skewer to act as the centre of the flower.

Orange: Repeat the process above for creating lime flowers.

Mangosteens: These look their best when the fruit is peaking out from its fibrous, deep purple shell. With a sharp knife carefully cut around the centre, cutting through the shell but not through to the segments of fruit inside. Remove the bottom end of the shell, leaving the exposed fruit cradled inside the top-end where the stem is.

Arranging exotic fruit platter

Dragon Fruit: Cut the lower half of the fruit off, leaving the top half available to act as the towering 55 Central Park West top of the platter. Either slice the bottom half into pieces or use a melon baller to scoop out the flesh. To get the most out of the fruit, use a melon baller to carefully remove the flesh from the top half of your centre piece, leaving behind an ornate empty shell.

Rambutans: Either cut them in half as you have for the mangosteens or peel them completely, leaving just the pale white orb of fruit behind. Be sure to leave a few whole so you and your guests can enjoy the spidery effects of their skins

Custard Apple: Using your hands, gently split the fruit into a few jagged pieces. Let your guests grab at the seeds with their fingers or give them a small spoon to take bits as they will be a bit difficult to access once covered in lime slime.

Arranging exotic fruit platter

Papaya: Slice segments lengthwise, leaving the seeds in for optimum visual effect.

Black Seedless Grapes: Using scissors, clip a few small clusters from the bunch and arrange on the platter.

Red Mango: Slice on either side of the pit, giving yourself two equal fleshy pieces. Using a small knife score the fruit, slicing down to the skin but not through it, creating a diamond pattern. Invert the pieces so that the flesh now pops up into a porcupine-esque shape.

Arranging exotic fruit platter

Cantaloupe: Slice into thin whole rounds, removing the seeds if you wish.

Strawberries: Slice some but leave most of them whole to garnish the platter.

Cortland Apple: Slice into pieces and brush with citric acid solution (I used Bernardin’s Fruit Fresh) to keep from browning.


Lime Slime

Halloween dessert cart covered in edible lime slime

The idea for lime slime came from the immensely weird and out-there Bompas & Parr. In their first release from Bompas & Parr Editions, Tutti Frutti, they detailed their experience of creating 55,000 litres of slime to surround the SS Great Britain.

As it turns out, lime slime is the perfect recipe to kick off Crustcrumbs. We hope to bring you images and recipes that show food in the most appropriate settings. No reclaimed wood surfaces – unless called for. With that in mind, there aren’t many other occasions to fully enjoy the strange sour, goopy-slick sensation of lime slime than on Halloween. Even better, we recreated a scene from Ghostbusters where Slimer gorges himself on a hotel cart full of food, leaving behind a trail of ectoplasm.

This lime slime is essentially limeade that’s been dyed green and thickened into a viscous dessert sauce. When coming up with dishes to accompany it, just imagine anything that pairs well with the sourness of lime.

For the dessert cart the slime was paired with an exotic fruit platter, ginger ice cream, concord grape tarts with Stay Pufted marshmallow tops, cheesecake with a coconut crumb crust, and profiteroles drenched in white chocolate and filled with strawberry mascarpone cream. After all of that, we couldn’t resist knocking back a few lime slime gin & tonics. We’ll be sharing all of the recipes in upcoming posts. For now, let’s get on with the lime slime.

Halloween dessert cart covered in edible lime slime

Lime Slime Recipe

Makes enough to slime an entire dessert cart – just over 1 litre*

500ml freshly squeezed lime juice, about 10 limes
125g granulated sugar
500ml cold water
green food dye gel (we used Wilton’s Leaf Green)
35g sodium alginate (available from Powder for Texture)

Combine the lime juice, sugar, and water in a bowl that’s large enough to hold everything with room to spare. Using an immersion blender, blend the sugar into the liquids. You could also use a blender with the plug at the top removed or a food processor, so long as it’s large enough.

With the tip of a knife or spoon, add a minuscule amount of the food dye. You’re going for a fairly concentrated green slime but it’s better to add the dye gradually to best control the final shade of Slimer green. While the blender is running, begin adding the sodium alginate a teaspoon at a time, as it has a tendency to clump together. Continue to add the food dye and sodium alginate until you’re happy with the texture and colour. If it helps, envision this scene from Ghostbusters as you go along. It should feel funky when you dip your finger in the slime, which I highly recommend you do, while screaming like Bill Murray.

*When disposing of leftover slime, remember it doesn’t dissolve well into water – it’s best to flush this one down the toilet.