Beets were the springboard here. The color is the most gorgeous of all produce! So I knew I wanted to slice and cook some beets in a sugar syrup. To that syrup I added my favorite liquor, St. Germain (elderflower) for a light floral note. Once the beets were done, I removed them and cooked some sliced fennel in the syrup. When the fennel was done, I placed it in a container with a straight St. Germain simple syrup (without the beet juice) and let the beets sit in the juice they were cooked in. I then added some sliced oranges to the syrup with the beets and let them both sit in the refrigerator for two days.
I had a package of fresh cranberries in the fridge. So I made a simple cranberry orange relish. Now, we need something to balance the obvious sweet, citrus and acidity. I thought that a vanilla bean Panna Cotta (from the cookbook) if it was poured into a sheet pan to set up could be cut into squares (next time I'll do circles using a biscuit cutter) to layer with the oranges. I froze the Panna Cotta so that it wouldn't compress when layered and thawed very quickly, which allowed me to plate several and were ready to serve at the right temperature within 15 minutes while remaining stable and upright.
When I tasted all of the ingredients after they macerated for a couple of days, I decided the beets were still a bit too savory for a fruit course. So I layered fresh orange, Panna Cotta, macerated orange, another slice of Panna Cotta, fresh orange and then a small dollop of the cranberry orange relish and topped that off with some of the candied fennel. A drizzle! That's what the plate needed. So I poured a few drops of the beet syrup into my straight St. Germain simple syrup for a slight purple tint and drizzled that around the plate. But now I needed crunch. So I lightly toasted (and very lightly salted) pecans and scattered them over the tower and around the plate. Topped off with a snip of a micro green and voila! - there's my fruit course. Everyone raved and not a drop came back on a plate. And fennel is not something everyone loves!
The only improvement I think would be a Tuile cookie or even a thin slice of biscotti. I'll work on that and report back.