Monday, 20 December 2010

Festive Phyllo Crackers with a Spicy Plum and Almond Filling

A tart, sweet, spicy filling of fresh plums, grated apples and almonds gives these little phyllo-pastry parcels a festive air. They're good served warm with whipped cream, and are fairly quick and easy to make.

Festive Phyllo Crackers with a Spicy Plum and Almond Filling

I came up with this Christmas snack after I cleaned out my fridge and found a left-over pack of phyllo pastry that was still perfectly good. (Phyllo tends to grow blue spots if it skulks in the fridge for too long, but if you wrap it and seal it well, it lasts for several weeks.) I also spotted a few juicy plums that were too soft for eating, and these merry little crackers were the result.

The ground almonds are there to soak up the excess juice from the plums and apples, and the slivered ones to provide a nutty crunch.

Festive Phyllo Crackers with a Spicy Plum and Almond Filling

6 sheets of phyllo pastry
melted butter for brushing
white sugar for sprinkling
icing sugar for finishing

For the filling:
4 Tbsp (60 ml) currants (or raisins or sultanas)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) brandy
1 Tbsp (15 ml) boiling water
80 ml slivered almonds
the finely grated zest of half a lemon
the juice of half a lemon
2 red apples, cored
4 juicy red plums, stoned and cubed
80 ml ground almonds
½ tsp cinnamon
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of ground cloves
½ cup (125 ml) icing sugar
1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter

First make the filling. Soak the currants in the brandy and boiling water for 15 minutes. Put the slivered almonds in a dry frying pan and toast them lightly, tossing frequently. Set aside. Put the lemon juice and zest into a large saucepan, and grate the apples directly into the pan. Toss well to coat and add the cubed plums, ground almonds, spices, icing sugar and the currants plus their soaking liquid. Mix well.

Cook, over a brisk heat, for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened and is beginning to pull away from the edges of the pan. You'll know when it's ready when you smell caramel and see the edges beginning to turn golden. Stir in the butter and slivered almonds and set aside to cool.

Heat the oven to 180ºC.

Unroll the phyllo pastry and remove six sheets. Place a sheet of pastry on a piece of greaseproof paper or a clean tea towel (cover the remaining sheets with a damp cloth) and brush all over with melted butter. Sprinkle with a little granulated white sugar. Place another sheet on top of the first, brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Now add a third sheet of pastry, but don't brush with butter.

With the long side of the stack of pastry facing you, and using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors, cut the pastry sheets in half vertically, and then into thirds horizontally, so you have six equal rectangles. Place about two tablespoons of the filling on each stack, brush the far edge with melted butter, and roll into a cylinder. Press down gently to seal, and then crimp and push in the ends to make a cracker shape. Trim the ends with a pair of scissors. Repeat the process with the remaining three sheets of pastry. Place the crackers on a non-stick baking sheet and brush all over with melted butter.

Bake at 180ºC for 10-12 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden.

Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.

Makes 12 crackers
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Nina Timm said...

Clever dessert idea Jane. With a bowl of whipped cream you have a perfect end to Christmas dinner!!

Adele said...

What a great idea! Very impressive. I thought I've finalised my dessert menu, but now I'll have to reconsider.

foodie said...

wow! wonderful your blog

Linda Harding said...

Soooooooooo clever, Jane! I love how different this is from most Christmas desserts and the fact that they are cracker-shaped is too cute! Would love to dip one into some thick cream or even some melted chocolate. Yum!

Have a merry, merry Christmas! x