BY DANA JACOBI
FOR THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR CANCER RESEARCH
Traditional Easter sweets include
a menagerie of cute, improbably colored marshmallow critters
like chicks and rabbits. To lure me away from their sugary excess,
my parents presented me with an Easter basket filled with fresh
strawberries every year. Nestled in the center was a large, hollow
Easter egg made of molded sugar that had a round window at one
end. Peering through it, I saw a tableau, rather like a diorama
or a fantasy three-dimensional scene from a pop-up book.
The sugar shell of these eggs
was a Rococo symphony of tinted, piped-on swirls, swags and colored
flowers. Sturdy enough to collect, these eggs were almost too
beautiful to destroy by eating. And when I did break one up so
I could crunch on its sweetness, the sugar had a faintly medicinal
taste so disappointing that I preferred the strawberries.
Reminiscing about this egg
put me in a fantasy mood. With Easter eggs and spring flowers
in mind, this fantasy transformed squares of phyllo into individual,
cup-shaped tartlets. Pushed into a muffin tin, the crisp edges
resemble the petals of an expanding flower. Fruit baked in the
phyllo fills the center of each golden tartlet.
I know that may sound complicated,
but read through the recipe. Youll see that making these
tartlets is simpler than making more traditional phyllo-dough
recipes like Greek Spinach pie or a fruit strudel. Yes, phyllo
tears easily - but in this recipe, most tears wont matter.
Layering the phyllo effectively covers up any tears in the center,
while any rips that occur around the outer edges just contribute
to the petal effect of the cup. Whole-wheat phyllo is easier
to handle and it tastes best, so look for it at your local natural
Granny Smith apples all seem
green and tart, but there are actually degrees of ripeness that
affect their flavor. Granny Smiths that are more yellow than
green will taste less sharply tart. Red grapes add color, and
apricot glaze sweetens the filling.
Phyllo Fruit Tartlets - Makes 6 servings
1 Granny Smith Apple, cored
and cut vertically into 1/4-inch slices
1 Bosc pea
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
6 sheets phyllo dough, preferably whole wheat, stacked
Canola cooking spray
2 Tbsp. whole-wheat dry bread crumbs
12 large red seedless grapes, halved
6 Tbsp. apricot fruit spread
1 Tbsp. orange juice
2-3 sliced strawberries, for garnish
1 Tbsp. toasted sliced almonds, optional, for garnish (see Note)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
F. Place the sliced apple in a mixing bowl. Cut the neck off
the pear and save for another use. Core the pear and cut it vertically
into 1/4-inch slices. Add the lemon juice and toss to keep the
fruit from discoloring.
Leaving the 6 phyllo sheets
stacked, cut the dough into an 11-inch square, discarding the
rest. Divide the square into four 5 1/2-inch square quarters
and pile them into one stack. Following the package directions,
cover the phyllo so it does not dry out. Place one square sheet
of the phyllo on your work surface with an edge facing you. Coat
it lightly with cooking spray, starting around the edges. Set
a second square on top of the first, with a point facing you,
and spray it. Rotating it 45 degrees, add and spray a third square,
then repeat with a fourth square, placed with an edge facing
you. Center the stacked squares over one cup of a 6-cavity muffin
tin with 3 1/2-inch cups. Gently press the phyllo into it, with
the ends pointing like petals, pressing the dough to fit in folds
against the sides of the cup. Repeat, making 6 cups.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the
breadcrumbs over the bottom of each phyllo cup. Divide the sliced
fruit, then the grape halves among the cups. In a small bowl,
mix the apricot spread and orange juice vigorously to loosen
the jam. Dollop a tablespoon of the apricot mixture over the
filling in each tartlet.
Bake 12 to14 minutes, or until
the phyllo is well-browned at the tips and crisp in the cups.
It will be pale in places. Set the muffin tin on a baking rack
to cool for 3 minutes. Gently and carefully lift each tartlet
from the tin and place on a dessert plate with slices of strawberry.
If desired, for additional garnish, sprinkle a few of the almonds
over the filling. Serve the warm tartlets within 20 minutes so
the phyllo does not get soggy.
Per serving: 160 calories,
2.5 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 30 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein,
3 g dietary fiber, 110 mg sodium.
Note: To toast the almonds,
preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts on a baking
sheet and toast for 2 minutes. Stir and toast until the slices
are pale gold, 2 minutes longer. Immediately transfer the almonds
to a plate to cool.