Fillings for Phyllo Pastry
Phyllo dough is a great vehicle for making appetizers, deserts, and even entrees. I'm Karen Lasher, Chef owner of "Around the Table" in Camas, Washington. I'm going to talk to you a little bit about Phyllo dough. Phyllo dough comes in two forms. You are going to find them in the frozen food section of your grocery store. Here we have Phyllo dough in sheets and then Phyllo dough in shells. The shells are pre baked shells that come in the box. The Phyllo dough is a sheet of Phyllo that comes when you unwrap it like this. You always want to when you are working with the fresh Phyllo, you always want to keep it covered. It dries out very quickly and once it dries out it gets brittle and it is almost impossible to work with. So I'm just going to keep that covered for a little bit while I talk to you a little bit about the Phyllo. Handling Phyllo dough is probably the sheets, is probably the most difficult part of the whole task and where a lot of people fall into the trap of ending up with Phyllo dough that tears. It is frustrating and it can be exasperating. It comes frozen. What I recommend is when you bring it home put it in your refrigerator. It can stay in your refrigerator for a good couple of weeks, two to three weeks in your refrigerator it will thaw. Do not plan on using it that day. Bring it home, put it in the refrigerator and then the day you want to use it pull it out of the refrigerator a good hour before you are going to use it. That gives it time to come to room temperature and to be at a temperature that is workable for you. I'm going to pull a sheet here so you can see what it looks like. It is very thin and if it starts to have little tears that's o'kay. It will all come together. For the appetizers for Phyllo cups there is lots of different fillings that you can use both hot and cold. For the sheets one of the most popular and traditional is something called Spanikopita which is a mixture of spinach, spices, garlic and feta cheese. Also Phyllo dough is what is used to make Baklava which is a real rich honey sweet and nut treat that is very popular. I like to think of Phyllo dough as a vehicle for your creativity because you can make anything a filling for Phyllo dough. There are so many great options for fillings for your Phyllo cups and your Phyllo sheets and what I recommend is that you look at some cook books or do an internet search and just jump in and start by making something wonderful.