Seasons’ Eatings: Spring Fruit Spring Rolls
By Karleen Armstrong
Boulder, CO – This is the time of year that always trips me up. I’ve got my SPF on, the air conditioning in my car is on full blast, and kids are running around the neighborhood on a weekday. It feels like summer. Except it’s still spring. I want juicy corn, red ripe tomatoes, and drippy watermelon, but the farm stand around the corner from where I live doesn’t open for a few more weeks! This end of the season trickery is a good reminder to remain in the moment and enjoy the tastes of spring that we all long for in the gloom of winter. Summer isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
I’m continuing the trend of dishes in edible shells this week. Last week, Amri used spring roll wrappers to create a Malaysian snack omelet. As a pastry person I wanted to challenge myself to create fruit spring rolls: a dessert using the bright fruits that take us from spring to summer.
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One stop at Alfalfa’s market, a Boulder, CO, institution and I had my pick of seasonal, organic, and often, local produce. There are even bags of greens labeled with the farm they were grown at. I stuck with strawberries, mango, blood oranges, and almonds to keep this dessert sweet. These fruits are not local to Colorado, but at I feel good about eating organic and supporting a local business.
These fruity spring rolls make a perfect snack and lend themselves to endless variations. You don’t even need to turn the oven on and they’re gluten-free! I wanted to return to some dessert basics and filled mine with a simple vanilla and orange infused pastry cream. Pastry cream is traditionally used to fill French pastries or layer cakes. This made for a nice compliment to the fruit filling. I got a little extra creative and made mint pastry cream but in the end I felt it didn’t pair well with the fruit. Feel free to substitute yogurt for a lighter option, or any other filling you can dream up. A spring roll isn’t complete without something to dip it in. I made a complimentary blood orange and honey sauce to help you get through the wrapper on that first bite. Whichever foods and flavors inspire you this week, I know this dish will be the perfect project!
Spring Fruit Spring Rolls
Adapted from Food Network
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Assembly Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 8 pieces
For the Pastry Cream
- 2 Cups milk
- ¼ Cup sugar
- 2 Egg yolks
- 1 Egg
- ¼ Cup cornstarch
- 1/3 Cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Teaspoon zest from blood organge.
For the Spring Rolls
- 8 Rice paper rounds
- 8 Strawberries
- 1 Mango
- ½ Cup sliced almonds
- Honey for drizzling
For the dipping sauce
- Juice from two blood oranges
- ½ Teaspoon of honey or to taste.
For the Pastry Cream (Can be made ahead)
- In a medium sized saucepan, stir together milk, ¼ cup sugar, and orange zest. Heat over medium-high heat, so as the scald the mixture, but not quite bring to boil. You should see bubbles to form along the inner edge of the pan right as you reach this point.
- While you’re heating the milk, in a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, egg, 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch until well combined and smooth.
- When the milk mixture is ready, slowly drizzle it into your egg mixture as you whisk. This is so you don’t scramble the eggs with the hot milk. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan and return to the stovetop.
- Whisk the mixture constantly until it thickens and begins to boil. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.
- Transfer to a bowl or container. Cover with plastic wrap so a skin doesn’t form and let cool completely.
This pastry cream will keep for about 3 days before it begins to break down.
For the Spring Rolls
- In a skillet, heat almonds over medium heat and toast until slightly brown.
- Prepare fruit. Hull strawberries and chop into small slices. Slice mango in half, remove the pit, slice each half in a grid and remove chucks from the skin.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water. Soak one rice paper round for about 30 seconds or until it becomes soft. Transfer to paper towel to drain excess water. The rice paper will want to start sticking to the paper towel, so gently transfer it to another surface to assembly.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of pastry cream on the center of the rice paper round. Top with strawberry slices, mango slices, almonds, and drizzle the filling with honey.
- Carefully fold the sides of the rice paper around the filling like a burrito.
- Repeat with remaining rice paper rounds.
For the Dipping Sauce
- Combine the blood orange juice and honey to taste. Dip spring roll into sauce and enjoy