Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fun with Phyllo

If you have never cooked with phyllo dough, it can be quite intimidating, but really you can't mess it up too much. Once it's cooked, it's flaky and buttery, so of course it's delicious! I made these two recipes from ingredients that are great together. For each one,  the method was pretty much the same, just with different fillings.

Filling #1: Brie and Cranberry Phyllo Puffs

When I was in England, I was introduced to brie and cranberry sandwiches. The combination of the sweet cranberry and the smooth texture of the cheese is amazing on a crusty baguette, and just as tasty in buttery flaky pastry.

Filling #1 Brie and cranberry
I cut a small piece of brie cheese and laid it onto the dough. Then I topped the cheese with a bit less than a teaspoon of canned whole cranberry sauce.

Filling #2:  Pumpkin Phyllo Puffs

Pumpkin Butter is an amazing find from Trader Joe's! It used to be only available during the holidays, but now they have it year round in the jam/jelly section. Most of the time I just eat it on toast with goat cheese. So I was excited when I came up with this recipe so that I can use more of the yummy pumpkin butter.

Filling #2 Pumpkin Cream Cheese
I combined about 4oz (half a box) of cream cheese with about 1/2 cup of Pumpkin Butter. Whisk to make a smooth mixture. I used a little less than 1 tbsp for each triangle.

Assembly directions for Phyllo Puffs

Prep your workspace:

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over the stove.. I used about 1 stick for half a box of phyllo dough (which is enough for one of these recipes)

2. Lay out the phyllo dough on the counter with a damp cloth or plastic wrap on top. This prevents it from drying out.

3. Line a cutting board or the counter with wax paper to build your masterpieces on. Also line your cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper so you don't have to wash them at the end.

Build your masterpieces:

1. Carefully lift one sheet of phyllo dough ( yes it's thin like paper) onto your wax papered cutting board. Brush on a layer of butter all over the one sheet.

2. Next, carefully take a 2nd sheet of dough and place it directly on top of the first one that has been buttered. Repeat the buttering.

3. Repeat until you have 4 buttered layers of dough stacked together.

4. Take a sharp straightedge knife, and cut the dough lengthwise into 3 strips about 2-3 in wide.(In the picture you will see I cut 4 strips along the width of the dough. It really doesn't matter, but after doing it that way, I realized you get longer pieced to fold if you do it lengthwise.)

5. Add the filling to one end of the strip of dough. Begin folding the triangle, carefully sealing the edges. If there is not enough butter to seal edges, add more. Keep folding until you have a nice enclosed triangle. Lay it on the baking sheet. Repeat until you have used all your phyllo dough. 

6. Bake at 350* for about 10-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on these since they can brown quickly and if not sealed properly can leak filling which can burn.

7. Let them cool a bit before serving and Enjoy!

* Don't spend more money than you need to for a pastry brush. Buy some cheap wood handled paint brushes from the hardware store to use in the kitchen for brushing butter on phyllo dough, basting meats with barbeque sauce, etc.
*Use any of your favorite ingredients for fillings, following the same method. 

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