25 October 2007

Filo Cluster Apple Tarts with Semifreddo for My Friends

Filo Cluster Apple Tarts with Semifreddo

Each year our boss takes us to a health spa for a "Couch Potato Weekend". I have never met a potato I didn't like!The absolute best part, besides the 45 minute massage, reflexology, etc is that it is fully paid!!! We are headed there tomorrow as a matter of fact. The Hills is a guest ranch in 100 Mile House in British Columbia north of Cache Creek. We leave on Friday morning, stop for lunch in Kamloops and arrive sometime in the early afternoon. She has taken us there for the past 10 years. For the most part the staff has remained the same. The great thing is that you can do whatever you want to do once you are there. It is a ranch so they have the usual entrapments like horseback riding, hay rides and line dancing but it is also a fitness and health spa so they have power hikes, Pilate's, aqua size, nutritional seminars, etc. As well as all the spa treatments. Did I mention the 45 minute massage????? You can read a book, play pool ..it's totally up to you. It is a great way to bond with your fellow co-workers. This year we have a few new faces in our midst, so , it will be fun to get to know them a bit more and get a little insight over a few glasses of wine and Blueberry Teas.

The first year we were there I remember a dessert of stuffed apples with cranberries in filo . It seems that the food always makes or breaks a vacation for me. Ten years later I can still remember what I had to eat if the food was good. I guess that is also true if the food was lacking as well. This recipe reminds me of our time at The Hills. Semifreddo is a type of ice cream but does not require an ice cream maker or any special tools.

Also reminiscent of our time there is the guitar player in the dining room who always plays us this song by Dan Seals...."One Friend". It always brings a tear to our eyes...at least to mine. If you care to listen to his song click on the link below.

I always thought you were the bestI guess I always will.I always thought that we were blessedAnd I feel that way still.Sometimes we took the hard roadBut we always saw it through.If I had only one friend leftI'd want it to be you.

Sometimes the world was on our sideSometimes it wasn't fair.Sometimes it gave a helping handSometimes we didn't care.'Cause when we were togetherIt made the dream come true.If I had only one friend leftI'd want it to be you. 
Someone who understands meAnd knows me inside out.Helps keep me togetherAnd believes without a doubt,That I could move a mountainSomeone to tell it to.If I had only one friend leftI'd want it to be you. 
Someone who understands meAnd knows me inside out.Helps keep me togetherAnd believes without a doubt,That I could move a mountainSomeone to tell it to.If I had only one friend leftI'd want it to be you. 

Dan Seals ---One Friend
Click here to hear Dan Seals
**Filo Cluster Apple Tarts**

4 apples
3 tablespoons liquid honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 sheets filo (phyllo) pastry
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Peel and slice the apples. In a large skillet, bring apples, 1/2 cup water, honey, cinnamon and lemon rind to simmer over medium heat; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. In last 5 minutes of cooking add 1/4 cup dried cranberries. Let cool.

Lay 1 sheet of the filo on work surface keeping remainder covered with damp tea towel; brush lightly with oil. Repeat twice, using all but about 1 T of the oil. Using a sharp knife, cut into quarters, gently push each into large muffin cups, separating layers to ruffle edges. Divide apple mixture among cups, sprinkle with almonds. Brush remaining oil over ruffled edges of filo. Bake in centre of 350F oven until pastry is light golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on rack. Serve warm.

Serves 4


275 mL/1/2 pt double cream or whipping cream
150 g/9 oz sugar
4 egg yolks
125 mL/ milk
2 tablespoons liqueur (eg amaretto, citron, Grand Marnier)

Pour the cream into a large bowl and whisk until it is firm and forms stiff peaks. Place the cream in the fridge while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Beat the sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl until the mixture is thick and pale. Heat the milk in a saucepan until almost boiling. Add the egg yolk and sugar mixture and whisk continuously over a gentle heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Add the liqueur, mix well and set the custard to one side to cool.

When the custard is cool, gently mix in the whipped cream. Transfer the mixture to a shallow container and cover tightly. Place in freezer and leave for 3 hours or until the semifreddo is firm to the touch. It will keep in the freezer for a few months.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison Best Blogger Tips


  1. Val, this sounds quite sultry with the semifreddo on top. Next time just use the ramekin as a mould and then bake the phyllo buttered...it'll look awesome like a purse.

  2. I am so jealous of your couch potato weekend! I could really use one of those right now.... This tart sounds soooo good!

  3. What an awesome job you must have! I'm jealous. That would NEVER happen where I work.

    That is one comforting, yet elegant, dessert. Such a pretty picture, too! I'd love one here right now - it's a cool and rainy day.

  4. Mmmmm, filo. I love it. It's like eating buttery crunch paper.

    Enjoy your mini vacation! I will be arriving shortly. I want some of that blueberry tea.

  5. Wow Valli, what a nice boss!!! Enjoy your day tomorrow! Wish I was going with you!!! Yum, Yum, on the tart!

  6. Thanks for the tip Peter!
    We are very lucky Deborah and Abby!
    I'd love to have you join us for blueberry tea Emilie.
    We will have a great weekend Deb!!!

  7. Thios recipe lokks so nice Valli, I congrats you, well your pictures always are soooo beauty. I love philo too. Nice recipe. Gloria

  8. You lucky woman! a 45 minute massage!

  9. Your friends are indeed lucky to have you making them such a fantastic dessert. I have to try this out as i love phyllo pastry .
    Hope u have a gr8 time at the spa :)

  10. Oh, how lovely...a Couch Potato weekend at a spa! That's great, Valli...as are these apple tarts...I love apple desserts. I think they are especially homey and comforting. :-)

  11. This sounds amazing! A crunchy phylo shell with apples, cinnamon, honey and cranberries...mm... and amaretto semifreddo!! Bookmarked

    Have a great weekend.

  12. What a beautiful title for a posting Valli.
    The filo cluster apple tarts sounds tempting.

  13. Yum! and Yum!

    And a massage?! *jealous* :)


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