Flake, flake, crunch, crunch. Buttery thin layers of pastry that melt in your mouth. That’s phyllo dough.
After making Chocolate Banana Strudel for this week’s food column, several sheets of phyllo were wrapped up and sealed in a zip-top bag in my refrigerator. Although thawed phyllo dough keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a month, I was anxious to use it up.
One of the things I appreciate about phyllo is its versatility. It can be wrapped around sweet or savory ingredients. It can be rolled into logs, folded into triangles or layered in a baking dish to form a thin, delicate crust.
To make Tropical Cream Phyllo Tarts, the phyllo is shaped into cups to hold creamy filling. I layered three sheets of phyllo, brushing melted between each layer. The sheets are cut into 4 equal pieces. Each piece is gently pushed into a buttered cup of a muffin tin and then baked. This step can be done ahead of serving time. If you make them early in the day, just let them sit out on a cooling rack on the counter.
The pudding mixture can also be prepared early in the day. You can fold in the whipped cream when it’s time to put the dessert together. Tropical Cream is quick to make with instant vanilla pudding mix. I enhanced the tropical flavors of the dessert by adding some Zola Tropical Blend Energy smoothie. I had some in my refrigerator. (A few sips in the afternoon is a refreshing pick-me-up.) I find Zola in the refrigerated case in my local grocery store. If I hadn’t had the Zola on hand, I would have used pineapple juice.
Fruit becomes sweeter when it is grilled. I hadn’t had grilled pineapple since last summer. I almost forgot how delicious it is. I had never thought about grilling mango, but it works.
To prepare the fresh pineapple for grilling, cut off the top and base. Use a sharp knife to cut wide strips of the peel away from the fruit. Cut just deep enough to remove the skin. Remove any remaining little eyes with the tip of the knife. Slice the pineapple into 8 disks. Then use a coring tool or sharp paring knife to remove the tough center portion of each disk. I find that a small (1 1/2-inch) round cookie cutter works great for this job.
To get the mango ready for grilling, just cut off the stem end to form a flat base. Stand the mango upright on work surface. Cut both cheeks away from the flat pit inside, getting as close as you can to the pit. Use a grapefruit spoon or a teaspoon to slide underneath the fruit, gently removing it from the skin. You’ll wind up with two large pieces of mango to put on the grill.
This is a great do-ahead dessert. Phyllo cups can be prepared early in the day along with the Tropical Cream. Get the fruit ready so that at serving time, all you have to do is brush the pieces with butter and place them on the grill.
Tropical Cream Phyllo Tarts with Grilled Mango and Pineapple are light and refreshing.
Flake, flake. Crunch, crunch. Yum, yum.
Tropical Cream Phyllo Tarts with Grilled Mango and Pineapple
- 6 sheets phyllo dough
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 (3.4-ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice or Tropical Blend Smoothie (such as Zola brand)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
- 1 whole ripe pineapple
- 2 ripe mangoes
- 8 whole strawberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 8 cups of a muffin tin with some of the melted butter.
Place one sheet of phyllo dough on work surface. Brush it lightly with melted butter, then lay a second sheet on top. Brush with melted butter. Lay third sheet on top and brush with melted butter. Cut phyllo in half crosswise and then lengthwise to create 4 equal pieces. Press each piece into a buttered muffin cup. Repeat with remaining 3 sheets of phyllo.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until phyllo is golden brown. Carefully remove phyllo cups from muffin tin and cool on wire rack.
Combine pudding mix, milk and juice in a large bowl. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in sour cream. Cover pudding mixture and refrigerate.
Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium to medium-high heat. Brush pineapple and mango with remaining melted butter and place directly on grill rack. Grill about 2 minutes per side, or until fruit is heated through and cut sides are golden.
Remove pudding mixture from refrigerator and fold in whipped cream.
Place a slice of grilled pineapple on each dessert plate. Chop grilled mango into small chunks. Spoon tropical cream into each phyllo tart. Place a filled tart on top of each pineapple slice. Arrange chopped mango around outside of tart. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of coconut over each tart and around pineapple slice. Top each Tropical Cream Tart with a whole fresh strawberry. Serves 8.
- I like to toast coconut by placing it in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring until golden. As soon as it reaches the color I want, I transfer it to a shallow dish to cool.