Summertime is the perfect season to enjoy fresh fruit as part of a healthy dessert. If you are entertaining or having a special dinner, try this easy and elegant dessert that uses sliced strawberries and creamy yogurt and pudding to lighten up the end of a hearty meal. Strawberries are naturally sweet and an excellent source of vitamin C. By using vanilla no-fat or low-fat yogurt to replace part of the whipping cream traditionally used in such recipes you can cut the fat content without sacrificing creaminess.
1 sheet of frozen phyllo or puff pastry
1 package low-fat instant vanilla pudding
1 cup 1% milk
1 cup vanilla yogurt
2 pints fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons icing sugar
Take one sheet of frozen puff pastry from the package and thaw it on a plate. This takes about half an hour. Do not unfold it.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a wooden or glass (sterilize it first) cutting board or block, unfold the pastry carefully. Cut it into four strips of equal width of about 2 and 1/4 inches wide. Use a pizza cutter sprayed with cooking spray for a sharp cut. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 pieces. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed up and golden in color. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and place the sheet on a wire rack to cool.
While your pastry is cooling, use a medium mixing bowl to prepare your vanilla pudding according to the directions on the package. ***Use one cup of 1 percent milk and 1 cup of vanilla yogurt in place of whatever liquid is called for.
Use a sharp serrated knife and halve the pastries horizontally as you would cut a hamburger bun or a dinner roll. Wash and slice the strawberries. On 12 plates, place the bottom halves of the pastries. Spoon 3 tablespoons of pudding onto the bottom halves, and then spoon the sliced strawberries over the pudding yogurt mixture. Cover with the pastry tops and sift icing sugar over the whole dessert. Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve immediately. This recipe makes 12 servings, but you can refrigerate the puff pastry once it has been baked for about three days in an airtight container.