Phyllo is tremendously versatile - it can be manipulated for appetizers, main dishes, and dessert too. For that reason, it should always be on-hand in the freezer for the dreaded drop-in or for a last-minute dessert treat. And once baked, phyllo can be stored in an airtight container so all you need to do is add the flavour at the last minute - this gives you more time to spend with your guests.
Steven demonstrated three super-simple phyllo treats featuring ingredients you can buy pre-made at the grocery store to save yourself both time and effort!
Nuts, Brie and Craisin Purses (Or Salmon and herb, or...)
Servings: Makes 6.
1 C salted nuts (we used walnuts but you could also use peanut brittle if you have it!)
1 C 1/2 " cubes Brie cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/2 C Craisins
1/4 C Cranberry Sauce or any jam
9 12"x8" sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1C sugar, 1T cinnamon, blended
1 - Get your Brie, Craisins, nuts and jam ready and on the counter.
2 - Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface; keep remaining sheets covered with plastic wrap and damp towel to prevent drying.
Trim to 10 1/2-inch square (reserve scraps for another use). Brush phyllo with butter and sprinkle with 11/2 teaspoons sugar and cinnamon mixture. Repeat 2 more times to make 3 layers. Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar after the melted butter for extra crunch and flavor.
Cut rectangle in half crosswise and then half again lengthwise, making four 3x4-inch stacks.
Place a few pieces of Brie, about 4 Craisins, 3 or 4 walnuts and a bit of jam in center of each stack (don't over-fill or they'll ooze when they cook).
Gather sheets around filling to form pouch, press gently at the "neck" of the pouch to seal. Brush pouches with butter. Transfer to small baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 6 pouches total. They can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic and refrigerate, or freeze for a week or two.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake phyllo pouches (thawed if you've frozen them) uncovered until golden brown and filling is heated through, about 10- 12 minutes.
Transfer to plates, serve phyllo pouches warm - the filling will be hot so make sure you let them cool a little before serving.
Smoked Salmon and Chevre phyllo napoleons
Servings: Makes 6.
6 fresh phyllo pastry sheets or frozen, thawed
6 t seasoned breadcrumbs
2 t unsalted butter, melted
Smoked Salmon Filling
1 C Chevre (Goats Cheese), crumbled
8 oz Smoked Salmon (reserve 6 pieces for garnish)
2 t grated parmesan
1/4-1/2 C Whipping Cream
3 T Chopped Dill (reserve 1T for garnish)
1 T each: Dijon mustard and lemon zest
Salt and pepper
For Phyllo Squares:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets. Stack phyllo sheets on work surface.
Trim to 10 1/2-inch square (reserve scraps for another use). Place 1 phyllo square on work surface (cover remaining phyllo with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towel).
Sprinkle with 1 generous teaspoon breadcrumbs. Top with second phyllo square. Brush lightly with melted unsalted butter. Sprinkle with 1 generous teaspoon breadcrumbs. Top with third phyllo square. Sprinkle with 1 generous teaspoon breadcrumbs.
Cut phyllo stack into 9 equal stacked squares. Arrange stacked phyllo squares on prepared baking sheet. Repeat layering and cutting with remaining 3 phyllo sheets, breadcrumbs and butter making total of 18 stacked phyllo squares.
Bake until phyllo is golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to racks and cool completely.
For Smoked Salmon, Chevre filling:
In the bowl of a food-processor combine the Chevre, Smoked Salmon, cream, 2 T dill, Dijon and lemon zest. Season to taste. Pulse a few times to bring the mixture together - do not over process, you want the mixture to have a bit of texture to it.
Place mixture in a zip-loc bag, squeeze out any air and refrigerate until needed.
Let the mixture soften at room temperature for about 10 minutes before you use it. Work the mixture toward 1 corner of the bag, snip the corner of the zip-loc forming about a 1-inch diameter hole (as you would a bag of milk).
Just before you intend to serve the Napoleons, assemble your serving plates and using your Ziploc-cum-piping-bag, squirt a small amount of Chevre mixture on to your plate to act as an anchor. Lay 1 phyllo square atop the blob. Carefully pipe about 2 T more of the mixture on top of each phyllo layer. Add half a piece of the smoked salmon to garnish the cheese mixture, place another phyllo square and repeat process. Build to 4 layers high (or higher if you like!).
Sprinkle with the remaining chopped dill. Serve with a simple mixed green salad for an elegant and simple, do-ahead first course.
Phyllo nests with lemon & strawberry fool*
Servings: Makes 4 servings.
1 (1-lb) package frozen phyllo - thawed but cold
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 can spray whipped cream or 11/2 cups of Cool Whip
1 jar prepared Lemon Curd
8 strawberries, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 pkg pre-made meringues (broken into pieces)
Thaw the dough at room temperature. Without unrolling phyllo log, cut 2 (3/8-inch-thick) slices crosswise from one end of log. (Save remaining phyllo for another use.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly brush a baking sheet with some of melted butter.
Carefully unfurl slices from phyllo rolls on a work surface, discarding any plastic or paper rolled within. Gently separate strands, keeping them parallel, then gather into 4 groups, about 14 strands each. Cover 3 groups with plastic wrap.
Gently hold one end of remaining (uncovered) group of strands and brush with some of melted butter, then dust with 1/2 teaspoon confectioners sugar using a fine-mesh sieve.
Flip over and brush other side with butter and dust with confectioners sugar in same manner. Loosely coil up coated strands to form a small nest and put on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining clusters to form 3 more nests.
Bake nests at 375 degrees F in middle of oven until golden, about 6 - 8 minutes (or until just golden brown). Cool nests on sheet on a rack, 8 to 10 minutes.
Gently stir lemon curd and whipped cream together until just combined. Fold in the meringue. Dollop a generous tablespoon of the mixture in the center of your nest and top with strawberries.
England is the home of this old-fashioned but delicious dessert made of cooked, pureed fruit that is strained, chilled and folded into whipped cream. The fruit mixture may be sweetened or not. Fool is traditionally made from gooseberries, though today any fruit may be substituted.