Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tropical fruit goodness

Part of the fun of food is introducing folks to products they may not be used to. They've seen them. They've seen them used on television, or featured in a book, but they're just not quite sure they want to take the plunge and cook with something new.

It always helps if the ingredient can be used in a friendly, fool-proof way.

Phyllo/fillo dough can fall into that realm. It's a delicate (super delicate) pastry that's thinner than paper. It's also one of the most unsung and versatile ingredients you can keep in your freezer. The secret is not letting the dough sheets dry out and become brittle as you prepare your recipe. Keep the sheets covered with a slightly damp towel.

Tropical Fruit Salad Cups
4 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups pineapple, finely diced
2 cups mango, finely diced
3 cups baby greens (or mesclun), finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
cooking spray
20 sheets fillo dough (9"x14"), thawed
fresh mint leaves, for garnish

In a small bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, lemon juice, oil and honey. Combine the fruit and baby greens in a large bowl. Pour dressing over fruit mixture and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Layer 5 fillo sheets, lightly coating each with cooking spray. Cut six 4-inch circles from layered fillo. Carefully push fillo circles into muffin pan, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Repeat process 3 more times to make 24 tarts.

Bake empty fillo tarts in preheated 350-degree oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove tarts from pan.Fill tarts with 3 tablespoons of fruit salad mixture. Garnish with mint leaves. Serve chilled. Yield: 24 tarts
Recipe and photo courtesy of Athens Fillo Dough.