A simple, stunning tart for Easter

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Easter dinner isn't the sort of meal we try to rush. The whole point is to savor the food, not sprint through it the way we do most weeknights.

But that doesn't mean we don't appreciate an easy, time-saving trick here and there.

In this case, I've applied an easy technique to both the appetizer and the dessert, an approach that allows cooks to focus on the all-important glazed ham, the roasted vegetables, perhaps a cocktail.

The trick begins with purchased frozen phyllo pastry cups — called "fillo shells" — that can be found in the freezer section alongside the puff pastry and often near the frozen fruit. They usually come 15 to a box and are fully cooked. They thaw in minutes, so all you need to do is fill — each one holds about 1 tablespoon of filling — and eat them. However, you may need to bake them depending on your filling.

For the appetizer, we don't even need a recipe. Just transform the classic Easter quiche into bite-size treats.

To do this, heat the oven to 400 degree. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, then arrange the phyllo cups on it. Fill each cup with 1 to 2 teaspoons of fillings. Chopped cooked meats, chopped vegetables and shredded cheese are great choices.

In a one-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk 1 egg, a splash of water, milk or cream, and a bit of salt and pepper. Carefully pour about 1 teaspoon of the egg mixture over the fillings in each cup. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the egg is puffed and the fillings are lightly browned. That's it. The quiche cups can be served warm or room temperature.

For the dessert, I went with a ridiculously easy and delicious no-cook option — creamy lemon-berry tartlets. These are so simple you even could delegate this part of the meal to the kids. —

Creamy lemon-berry tartlets

1/2 cup creme fraiche

2 tablespoons purchased lemon curd

Pinch cinnamon

15 frozen baked phyllo cups*

1 cup fresh berries

Powdered sugar, to sprinkle

In a small bowl, whisk together creme fraiche, lemon curd and cinnamon until slightly thickened. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of the mixture into each phyllo cup. The filling should be lightly mounded in the cups, but not overflowing.

Top each cup with several berries, then arrange the cups on a serving platter. Spoon powdered sugar into a mesh strainer, then hold it over the filled cups and gently tap to dust with sugar.

*If the tartlets won't be consumed immediately, you don't need to let the cups thaw before filling. Just proceed with the recipe and by the time they are eaten they will be perfect. You'll usually find jarred lemon curd in with the jams and jellies.

Servings • 15

Source: Associated Press