Commonly used in Middle Eastern, Greek and eastern European cuisine, filo pastry recipes involves several layers of paper thin translucent pastry sheets. To strengthen the delicate sheets, you can use many layers together simultaneously. Pastry of this type is sold in rolled layers that are ready-made, frozen or fresh from the chiller cabinet. To prevent the sheets from drying out, you have to work quickly. As a matter of fact, it might be best to keep these in plastic wrap or covered with a damp cloth as you work. Usually, the layers are brushed with oil or melted butter to brown them as you bake. These are used for making various savory and sweet dishes such a decadent baklava, which is a nut and honey type of pastry or cheese and spinach triangles, which the kids will love. You can cook filo pastry in the oven and it won’t take long for you to enjoy each recipe, as filo cooks fairly quickly.
Have you always loved making pastry? Here is an online pastry course you can take that shows you the basics.
Baklava is a favorite Greek dessert that makes everyone think you are an expert pastry chef. It is just one of those desserts that everyone thinks takes a lot of skill to make, but which is actually quite easy. It could be because a lot of people think working with filo pastry is difficult, when it really isn’t. The big secret is in the layering! Here is a great recipe that will impress absolutely everyone.
- 16 filo dough sheets
- 4 sticks melted butter
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 pound coarsely ground walnuts
For the Syrup:
- 2 tbsp. fresh juice of a lemon
- 1 eight ounce jar of honey
- 3 cups sugar
Brush a nine by thirteen baking dish with some of the butter. In the dish, layer ten filo pastry pieces, brushing each one with butter before you add the next sheet. Keep a damp towel on the remaining dough. Over the dough, sprinkle a quarter of the nuts. On top, layer 4 filo pieces, and brush each with butter. Sprinkle a quarter of the nuts again. Do this one more time and for the last top layer, use the remaining filo pastry. Brush each sheet with butter. Make strips by cutting into the baklava about an inch and a half wide. Next, make slices diagonally about an inch-and-a-half apart, creating a pattern of diamonds. Bake about an hour or until golden.
To make the syrup, boil a cup and a half of water, the honey and sugar to boil over medium heat in a saucepan. Cook fifteen minutes and add the lemon juice. Cook 2 more minutes and leave to cool. Pour this over the baklava while it is warm. Let this soak overnight or at least six hours uncovered. Use nuts to garnish.
Goat Cheese Pouches
Goat cheese parcels are delicious packages of crisp filo pastry that encloses melted, warm goat cheese which begins any meal perfectly. Interested in making your own cheese? Here is an article about how to make your own cheese at home that makes a great addition to your recipe collection!
- 8 sheets filo pastry, cut in half
- 25g melted butter
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 250g of thinly sliced onions
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- A pinch of sugar
- 50g chopped walnut pieces
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- Fresh sprigs of thyme to tie each pouch
- Black pepper freshly ground
- 70g goat cheese, cut in half horizontally, 2 pieces
In a heavy saucepan, heat half the olive oil adding a pinch of sugar, garlic and onions. Cook gently, stirring and cover over low heat for half an hour. Let this stand until it gets cool. Next preheat your oven to two hundred degrees C, mixing the butter with the remaining oil. Take half a filo pastry sheet and brush this with the butter/oil mixture. On top of this sheet, place three more sheets at an angle to form a rough star shape. Each sheet should be oiled lightly.
In the center of the filo, scatter one-fourth of the onions and one-fourth of the walnuts. On top, place half of the goat cheese. Season with pepper and scatter half a teaspoon of thyme leaves. Pinch together the pastry edges after you have gathered them. Make the shape of a pouch and do the same process for the remaining ingredients. On a baking sheet, lightly brush with the oil mixture that remains. Bake until golden or for fifteen minutes. Each purse can be tied with a thyme sprig. You can even attach people’s names on the sprig and this can serve as name card holders on your dinner table. Serve immediately. This recipe makes 4 pouches. By the way you may be interested in this online bread baking course that shows you how to make bread as well, which also goes great with goat cheese, by the way.
Hope this helps! For more recipes you might want to check out this course that shows you basic pastry training skills.