Looking to experiment more in the kitchen this year? Resolved to lose those last 10 pounds? Whatever your motivation, there’s no better time to discover phenomenal phyllo. Here’s a few ways you can incorporate a golden crunch into your cooking repertoire.
First, a history lesson: phyllo has been around since basically forever (real time: the early 1300s). It’s a simple, unleavened dough — meaning it’s made without yeast — that holds sweet and savory fillings with aplomb, it’s been the pastry base of choice for Ottoman sultans, Greek grandmas and world-renown chefs for hundreds of years. If it’s your first time working with phyllo, try starting simple. For a golden brown cracker spiced to perfection, we love this recipe from Bon Appetit. For an appetizer that’s more substantial, try our pulled pork diplomas. To ensure your phyllo success, make sure your frozen dough is properly thawed — pop it on the counter before you head to work, and it will be ready to use by the time you get home.
For your next dinner party, make a lighter-than-air take on a flatbread to serve as guests mingle. This white pizza combines manchego, goat cheese and sautéed mushrooms, but you could easily change up the toppings to suit your menu. Try a classic caprese mix of mozzarella, basil and sundried tomatoes, or substitute mascarpone, sliced figs and a drizzle of balsamic for a bite that balances sweet and tart. For a showstopper of a main course, dedicate an afternoon to famed chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s classic Moroccan pastilla. Flaky layers of phyllo swaddle a rich roast chicken, braised spinach and pine nut filling made extra decadent by the surprise addition of brandy and dark chocolate.
Man cannot survive on grilled chicken and steamed broccoli alone. Or if he can, he is probably miserable. There’s no reason for dessert to derail your New Year’s resolutions. Phyllo contains meager amounts of fat, little to no sugar, and fewer carbs than its puff pastry counterpart. For built-in portion control that packs a flavorful punch, we love filled mini phyllo shells. Already baked, these flaky layers can hold any manner of small indulgences. Swirl together Greek yogurt and honey for a creamy base, then top with orange segments or sliced strawberries for a guilt-free treat. Or, go for Middle Eastern flair with these dried fruit and pistachio cups. We recommend only pulling one box from the freezer at a time — that way, there’s no going back for seconds. And thirds. And fourths. Then again, who are we to judge?