A sweet fruit medley laced with licorice-like star anise syrup awaits our family Easter table this season. Taking advantage of the fresh fruits available, I made this easy- to- put- together dessert in just a few minutes.
The star anise flavor took center stage in this recipe. Star anise is a favorite ingredient for a lot of Asian and Filipino dishes I do. It has a slight resemblance to licorice flavors. And when added to other ingredients with sugar it really hits that sweet spot anyone has!
I prepared crisp puff pastry squares by brushing some star anise syrup on them, then baked them on high heat for a few minutes. Once the pastry squares were crisp and ready, I skewered the fruits and topped them on the pastry, “tapa style”. And of course, I couldn’t help but drizzle some leftover star anise syrup on the top of that divine heap of fruits. It was fabulous !
STAR ANISE SYRUP PASTRY PUFFS with Strawberry, Lychees & Mangoes
Star Anise Pastry Puffs
1 package frozen puff pastries, cut in squares 2 x 2 inches
½ cup Karo syrup
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
1 whole star anise
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
Boil together all the syrup ingredients for 3 to 5 minutes.
To prepare pastry puffs:
Place the thawed pastry puffs on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven at 400 F degrees.
Brush each pastry puff square with the syrup.
Bake at 400 F degrees for 15 – 17 minutes.
When done, cool on cake rack for a few minutes while you prepare the fruit.
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh mango cubes, cut 1 in. x 1 in.
1 cup canned lychees, drained*
Prepare fruits by washing, hulling strawberries.
Pierce together skewer-style a strawberry, mango cube and lychee. Use medium length cocktail picks.
Top each pastry puff with the fruits in skewers. Use one skewer per pastry square. Drizzle the top of the fruit with leftover star anise syrup. Serve while pastry puffs are crisp.
COOK’S COMMENTS: Star anise is called “sangke” in the Philippines. They are available at Asian groceries here in the USA. Or find it at online sources for spices.
Lychees are an Asian fruit. When they are fresh and ripened, the outer skin is dark red, and has a coarse, blister-like texture. Inside, the nearly transparent, light pink gel-like fruit is sweetly fragrant, almost has a floral scent and is extremely sweet. Here in the USA, I opt for a cheaper substitute and use canned lychees for desserts like this one.
Mangoes are sweeter in the spring and summer here in the USA. For this recipe, I used the “ataulfo” variety. These are closest to the Manila mangoes I am used to. Some Asian groceries call them “champagne mangoes.Make sure to use the sweetest, golden-yellow ripe mangoes for this recipe.