Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Healthy Treat to Keep Your Resolution Going

Let me guess.

You're seven days into your steadfast New Year's Resolution to eat healthier food and lose some weight this year. You've cleared all the junk food from the cabinets, renewed your gym membership (which you're totally going to use this year), and look! you even ordered a lite beer when you met up with your friends a few days ago!

You're lookin' pretty good, feelin' pretty fine, and is it just me or are these pants a little big in the waist?!

But there's a problem.

You're hungry.

And you want some pie.

Never fear, mon cheri, I am not about to entice you with cloying pictures of caloric pie porn or wax poetic about artery-clogging but flaky butter crusts (that will all be in the next post). I am here today to help you continue your fruitless valiant workout and healthy lifestyle efforts by giving you a Fruit Tartlette.

Made in tiny pie tins (I found mine at the kitchen supply mecca that is Chinatown's Bowery Street) and using fillo dough instead of pie crust, these mini tarts are only around 100 calories per serving yet sweet enough to curb any crazy sugar craving your hungry body might be experiencing.

Ingredients (these measurements will yield enough for 5-6 tarts, depending on the size of your tin)
1 apple (I went with Honeycrisp; Granny Smith is also great for baking)
1 pear
2 tbsp lemon juice
Pam cooking spray
5-6 sheets fillo dough
1 tbsp jam/jelly/fruit spread (I used cranberry chutney, your favorite spread will work just fine)
2 tbsp pulp-free orange juice
    **Use sugar-free fruit spread and orange juice if you're watching your sugar content!
1 tbsp finely chopped almonds
1 tbsp confectioner's sugar, for dusting

How To
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and thinly slice the apple and pear. Immediately toss in lemon juice (to prevent browning) and then set aside.

Sliced apples and pears

If the fillo dough is frozen, unroll 5-6 sheets and lay out to thaw for a few minutes. The directions on the box say to cover each sheet with a warm damp towel, but I found this method a bit problematic because it made the dough way too pliable. Letting the sheets get to room temperature seemed to work just fine.

While the dough is thawing, prep your pie tins with a generous spray of Pam. I found that also lightly spraying each fillo sheet with Pam readies them for baking.

Mini pie tin; the penny is there to show scale

Once your tins are sprayed and the dough is thawed, layer each sheet to cover the bottom and sides of the tin. Depending on the size of your sheets and tins, you might have to cut the sheets into smaller squares; I found a pie cutter works well. If you think of each sheet as a diamond instead of a square, you can soon achieve the angular pattern that will make the tart strong enough to stand on its own and pretty to look at. Placing an extra sheet or two at the very bottom of the tin also helps to create a sturdy base.

Fillo dough decoratively arranged in the pie tins

Once the dough layers have been arranged, fill each tart with the sliced fruit.

Layers of apple and pear slices

Mix together the orange juice and fruit spread, then generously brush over the fruit in each tart. Bake for about 10 minutes or until dough is brown and flaky.

While the tarts are baking, crush your almonds if they're not already finely chopped (I tend to buy almond slivers, that way I can chop or keep them whole as needed).

Using a rolling pin is an easy way to crush almonds

When the tarts are fully cooked, remove them from the oven and sprinkle with almonds and powdered sugar to decorate. Gently scoop the tarts out of their tins (a fork works well for this) and serve immediately.

Enjoy your delicious Fruit Tartlette!

This recipe is adapted from Pies, Delicious Homemade Recipes published by Paragon Books, 2005

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