Monday, 2 April 2012

Pass the Parcel

Sfogliatini di Mela, Mirtillo Rosso e Cannella

Apple, Cranberry & Cinnamon Filo Parcels

Dainty and delicious, these little parcels are wonderfully un-sinful and great little snacks for in-between meals. The only real calories they have come from the handful of dried cranberries and the ultra-light brush of butter on the outside... and still they taste incredibly good whilst being incredibly light!

Making use of Stevia to sweeten, and using fat-free filo pastry, make these perfectly healthy choices. And sure- butter does taste wonderful, sugar is yummy and maybe a sauce would have been nice. But for me- these are much more satisfying than say, a cookie, to enjoy with a coffee- and I just like the thought of guilt-free enjoyment! So I say... enjoy!

These are so simple to make- and unbelievably, I managed to make 8 of them from 1 apple! Just to think- I went to the trouble of buying more apples just in case! So my advice is... start of with just a couple of apples and add more as you need them- the fact of the matter is that you don't need that much filling and if you over-fill them, the pastries may indeed end up becoming soggy, which would not be a good thing!

Chop the apple and drizzle it immediately with lemon juice to stop it turning brown. Sweeten with Stevia- (I used 1 teaspoonful for 1 apple), sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and add 1 handful of dried cranberries and about the same amount of chopped pistachio. You can substitute these for any other kind of nut that your prefer- it is just nice to have the added bit of bite in the center. If you are making these for adults, you may like to add a splash of Calvados, Rum or Whiskey- otherwise, add a little splash of apple juice. Stir well and allow to sit for 5-6 minutes, so that the cinnamon dissolves a little and all of the flavors combine nicely.

I used a double layer of filo dough to make these- cut into squares of around 6". I put a heaped teaspoonful of the apple and cranberry mix. And remember now to work as fast as you can, as the pastry will dry out very, very quickly! Fold the left and right-hand-sides over first and then the back and front, laying your parcel on all of the open edges to seal it. Repeat this procedure quickly for all of the other pastries and bake at around 350 - 380° for approximately 15 minutes until lightly brown. The typical and traditional method would have been to have brushed each layer of filo with butter to keep it supple so that it does not crack and split. Being as I wanted to make this as low-calorie as possible, I baked the parcels with no butter and then ran a small knob of butter over them whilst they were very hot- it soon melted and I could rub it over all of the parcels in next to no time. Then back in the oven they went until they were a rich golden brown like those you can see in the pictures. Simple and perfect- delicious hot or cold! What's not to like??

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