Tips for Phyllo
by Kate Heyhoe
Greek phyllo dough, the pastry used for baklava and savory turnovers, can be bought frozen in most markets today. The paper-thin dough can be a bit temperamental, but if you follow these tips, you should have no problem working with it:
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for thawing in the refrigerator, which usually takes about 12 to 24 hours. Quick thawing methods (such as in a microwave) are less reliable, often resulting in gooey areas that stick together.
- Let the package sit at room temperature, unopened, for an hour or two before use. This helps the sheets loosen up.
- Work quickly. Once the package is opened the sheets dry out rapidly. Unroll only the number of sheets you need for the recipe, then wrap the remaining rolled up sheets in plastic, seal tightly and refrigerate for up to a month.
- Cover the sheets with a layer of plastic wrap, and place a damp towel on top of it. The moister the air in your environment, the less likely the sheets will crack and become brittle.
- Lightly brush or spray each sheet with melted butter or olive oil. Don't drench the sheets, a small amount is all you need. A spray bottle works well for melted butter (dilute with 1/3 portion of water, and reheat in microwave if mixture thickens), as does a can of nonstick olive oil spray. Clarified butter makes the sheets extra crispy.
- Don't worry if a sheet tears while stacking the layers. No one will notice after the sheets are baked together.
- Cut phyllo sheets with scissors— it's easier than using a knife.
- Have fun with shapes: make phyllo baskets and cups for holding other foods. You can stack your phyllo sheets and press them into a muffin tin or other mold. Or go free form: fold the corners of a square of phyllo (several sheets) into the center, then push the sides up to create a nest. Or, drape long sheets of phyllo over the edges of a pie tin, fill with ingredients, then fold the edges up across the top to seal. Bake and cut into wedges.
- If you're baking phyllo cups or phyllo baskets in advance, avoid filling them until just before serving. Moist contents will cause the phyllo to become soggy.
Kate's Global Kitchen
Kate's Global Kitchen for April, 2000:
4/01/00 Food Jokes and Joke Foods
4/08/00 Easter and Passover Menus: From Nice to Greece
4/15/00 Spring Centerpiece Sides: Phyllo Baskets, Veggie Matchsticks, and Glorious Gratins
4/22/00 Easter Lore & Post-Easter Eggs
4/29/00 Wake-Up: It's Daylight Savings Time! World Power Breakfasts
Copyright © 2000, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created April 2000