Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Phyllo Pastry Puzzle

I thought I would be daring for my first recipe and try to master phyllo pastry so I decided to try a vegetable streudel recipe. For the recipe go to

This was my first time ever looking or even touching phyllo pastry that hadn’t already been mastered into perfection so I read up on people’s blogs to see the best way to handle it and what to watch for.

The consensus was that it needed to be

1.)   Thawed in the fridge the night before and then left on the counter for an hour before using.
2.)    Best kept moist with a damp towel over it.
3.)    Wrapped up immediately after use because it dries out very quickly.
4.)    Most importantly- Super thin and tears easily.

So difficult in fact that they suggest using scissors if you need to make smaller pieces because it will fall apart in your hands if you try to use any sort of force to tear it.
As per instructions, I thawed it in the fridge according to its directions and then left it on the counter for 60 minutes before using it. Using very gentle hands, I opened the packaging and unrolled it as though I was unrolling the original Mona Lisa canvas. I laid it flat on the counter admiring its artistry. It really is an interesting cooking material.

So far so good, no tears.

Next, I picked up the first sheet from the corner and started to pull it away from the rest which quickly led me to the danger zone. Just as I had lifted it about half way the whole thing started to rip!

Disgruntled by my immediate failure, I quickly grabbed the rest of it that was quickly ripping at in every direction and I balled it up and threw it on the counter. I expected it to be tricky, but I was puzzled by the fact that it couldn’t even handle it’s on very light weight as it was lifted- ridiculous!

So I attempted it again. This time I took the individual sheet and I rolled it into a tube before moving it- SUCCESS! I placed it onto the cookie sheet and unrolled it- no rips.

With that simple trick it was smooth sailing. The recipe called for 6 sheets with an olive oil misting between each layer. I didn’t have that, so I used a silicone brush with melted butter (but I think I will be purchasing a mister because it would have went a lot faster.) Layer by layer I unrolled it impressed with the fact that it was actually looking like the recipe.

I had prepped the vegetables beforehand so I put them on the phyllo pastry once it was successfully layered and then it was the moment of truth- I had to roll it up.

Vegetables aren’t exactly the light so I thought this was where my success would quickly turn into the danger zone but surprisingly the phyllo pastry had a lot more strength once 5 of its brotheran had joined. With some minor tearing it still was in the shape of a log! YAY ME!

I baked it in the oven according to the directions and it smelled delicious! I couldn’t wait to cut into it and eat it.

Here’s a picture of what it looked like when it came out of the oven

I don’t think I let it cool enough the first time I cut it though because it was very difficult for me to get the thin strips like they show on the prouditaliancook. Once I let it cool a bit more, I tried to cut it again and it was much easier. I had to use a fork to eat mine mainly because I had so many vegetables in it. I think next time I would opt to put less vegetables because I may have overstuffed it causing it to be more difficult to cut and causing the phyllo to tear a bit.

This recipe was delicious and very easy to do once you learn the simple tricks about phyllo pastry. It definitely doesn't look as good as the picture from the prouditalianblog (picture below), but I'll work up to that!

I may even make bite-sized versions of this by cutting the phyllo into small squares. That way I could avoid having to cut into it all together and I would get to eat it much faster!

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