Saturday, July 3, 2010

No Work Elegant Dessert

Once upon a time, I used to rent a beach house every summer with a big group of friends. What fun! Most of the time we ate out, but our beach of choice was Sandbridge, on the Virginia coast. Sandbridge has no condos, hotels, or high-rises. There's one restaurant/bar and one tiny store for essentials. Virginia Beach is about a twenty minute drive for those craving a boardwalk, bands, pier, restaurants, stores, and nightlife.

Sometimes, though, you just want to kick back and watch the sun set while you sip a frosty drink. July 4th is that kind of day. It's more fun to stay at the rental house and grill, especially if you're located so that you can see the fireworks! So that made me think about vacation house kitchens and the fact that they're often not very well equipped. Of course, it's vacation, so a store bought blueberry pie and ice cream might just do the trick. But when I saw these cute little pre-baked fillo dough cups in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, I thought they'd make a very elegant and almost effortless dessert.

I made a blueberry filling and a lemon filling. Quite honestly, though, you could fill the fillo shells with canned pie filling or your favorite lemon curd, which would really reduce the amount of cooking involved. How easy is that? No baking, oven, or pans required!

There are 15 little fillo cups in a package, so I made very small amounts of filling. There was just enough left over of each to lick the pan. If you only make one flavor, double the recipe.

Blueberry Filling

1 cup fresh blueberries, washed but not dried
1 tablespoon minute tapioca
1/4 cup sugar
splash of lemon juice
dash of cinnamon

Place all the ingredients in a small pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. At first it won't look like much is happening, but after a couple of minutes, the blueberries will turn very dark, the sugar will melt and it will all cook together. Stir constantly for about five minutes while it cooks (gentle boil). Set aside and let cool. Spoon into the fillo cups.

Lemon Filling

3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons water
dash of salt

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

1 egg yolk
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine the sugar, water, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil.

Stir the cornstarch into the cold water to dissolve. Add to the sugar mixture and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. It should become thick and almost clear. Remove from heat.

Whisk the egg yolk with the lemon juice. Add to the mixture in the pot and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and letting it boil gently for one minute. Remove from heat. Spoon into the fillo cups while still warm.

Creme Fraiche Topping

1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
splash of vanilla

1/4 cup creme fraiche

Whip the cream, adding the sugar and vanilla. When it holds a soft peak, mix in the creme fraiche. Add a dollop on top of the filling of each filo cup. If you're at home, you can take the time to pipe it on, but be sure to let a little bit of the bright lemon and blueberry colors show on the sides. In the photo below, I used dollops on two and piped the others.

From everyone at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen --

have a safe and happy 4th of July!

The day are ticking down to enter Avery's
"You Be The Sleuth" Contest!

The first book in Avery Aames's A Cheese Shop Mystery series, The Long Quiche Goodbye, debuts July 6! To celebrate its release, Avery is running a contest from June 9 to July 6: You be the sleuth!

Track down the recipe on Avery's website that includes eggs, Edam, and white pepper. Enter your answer by clicking on this link: CONTEST ENTRY FORM.

One of you will win a $25 gift certificate at your favorite bookstore. Two of you will win signed copies of The Long Quiche Goodbye. Three of you will win a Long Quiche Goodbye magnet. You can ask friends for help. Spread the word and share the fun. And while you're there, consider pre-ordering a book on Avery's booksellers page. Here is the link to Avery’s website to help get you started. Good luck!


  1. Pretty and easy! These look SO delicious...they'll make the perfect July 4 dessert!

    Hope you have a happy holiday!

  2. Wonderful, Krista! I think I know what I'm taking over to a friend's house today! Wasn't sure what to make, and it's either these or your strudel!


  3. By the way, love the picture!!

  4. Elizabeth, I think they could be very cute for the 4th. Instead of lemon, you could use cherry pie filling and they'd be red, white, and blue.

    Julie, I love cherries, so it would be a hard decision. But if I didn't have time to make the strudel, I'd go for these. They're so easy but they look very special and festive!

    ~ Krista

  5. What a great idea! Happy Holidays!

  6. I just love everything about this post! The summertime beach memories are the best - great photo. :) And the idea of doing July Fourth blueberry and cherry Filo cups with creme fraiche topping is brilliant. I can't wait to make (that goes for the lemon, too).

    I also have to mention your Summertime Cherry Studel. It is off-the-hook amazing! For anyone who missed it, click this link. Krista’s Easy Cherry Strudel. I made it 2 times in 4 days and my husband and I just inhaled it. Easy, delicious, and a wonderful way to enjoy all those fresh cherries in the market. (The use of ground graham crackers to soak up the juice and give you perfect results is inspired.) Thank you, Krista!

    Have a Delicious Fourth!
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Oh, yum, how beautifully elegant and simple! Fireworks are going off in my stomach. Whooppeee!

  8. Yum! I had a recipe for lime tartlets using the little filo cups and a lime/yogurt filling (then topped with fresh blackberries). It was delicious, but the filling relied on agar to set up, and I couldn't get the stuff to dissolve.

    So I'm absolutely going to make these -- both as written and some subbing lime juice for the lemon juice. Gorgeous!!

  9. I'm glad everyone is enjoying the picture. It certainly brings back fun memories for me.

    Dru, enjoy the hot dog eating contest and the fireworks!

    Cleo, I'm thrilled that you and your husband enjoyed the cherry strudel so much. Using graham cracker crumbs was my mom's idea, but I agree that it works very well.

    Thanks, Avery. They're such a quick dessert and great for outdoor eating because they're really finger food.

    Agar? That's interesting. Wendy, I would imagine that cornstarch would work just fine with limes. Let me know how they turn out!

    ~ Krista

  10. These have just joined my 'must be made' category. Great idea, Krista. Easy, but so elegant. But of course, you are the diva!

    Looking forward to being at Mystery Lovers's Kitchen tomorrow. Happy Fourth of July Eve everyone.

    Closet Confidential: a Charlotte Adams mystery

  11. Thank you so much! You saved my last minute "what do I bring to the party" dilemma! I'm going for canned blueberry pie filling and canned cherry pie filling to give a red, white and blue look. I don't have any creme fraiche on hand, but will make do with real whipped topping. Some of us are trying to watch our weight, and this small size should give us a taste of goodness without having to eat an entire pie....well, you know what I mean. lol

    Thanks again, and Happy Fourth to all of the Mystery Writers and the other readers of this wonderful blog!

  12. The recipes look wonderful, but what really caught my attention was the mention of Sandbridge. I spent my childhood there. Every summer from 1974 until after I graduated college in 1985. I remember Dave's market well. And the peace and solitude and beauty of Sandbridge. I haven't been there in a few years... I hope progress hasn't sullied its beautiful shores.