Discover phyllo

Crispy, light and easy to work with, phyllo may be the perfect pastry. Discover tips for working with puff pastry, plus find great phyllo recipes to try.

How to cook with phyllo pastry
Brie, Apple and Walnut Phyllo Triangles
Photography by Matthew Kimura

What it is:
Fillo, filo or phyllo (from the Greek phyllon which means "leaf") is paper-thin sheet of dough made from water, flour and a bit of oil. When the sheets are layered and brushed lightly with melted butter or oil, they can be folded to become purses for sweet savoury fillings, stacked as mock puff pastry or spiced and cut into thin cookie-like wafers.

How to buy it:
Frozen phyllo dough is available in long rectangular boxes in most supermarkets. There are 18 to 20 sheets in each 1 lb (500 g) box. It must be thawed before using by refrigerating for up to 24 hours or letting stand at room temperature for about three hours.

How to use it:
Phyllo tends to dry out quickly so work as fast as possible and keep stack covered with damp towel. Rewrap unused phyllo and refrigerate it for up to two days. Leftover pastry is best suited to making wafers or items for which manipulation is required. Phyllo sheets that are dry, crumbly or severely torn are difficult to work with. If outer sheets of pastry are too torn to shape or roll, discard them and take new sheets farther down in the stack, otherwise filling may seep out during baking.

Slowly and gently pull phyllo sheets apart. If two sheets will not separate, leave together and brush with butter.

Baked phyllo is easier to cut with a sharp serrated knife.

Here are some great recipes featuring phyllo:
Coconut Curried Chicken Phyllo Rolls - Spicy and slightly sweet, these pretty morsels have a creamy consistency from the coconut milk.

Flaky Phyllo Cups - These cups are easy to make and freeze well, so consider making extra to use with other fillings, such as the one in Smoked Salmon Eclairs.

Anna Kapelos' Phyllo Fruit Slices - Our friend George Kapelos has shared many holiday occasions with our family, as well as this recipe from his late mother.

Chicken Phyllo Bundles with Herbed Sabayon - Made with chicken breasts, Dijon mustard and vermouth-infused herb mixture, this main dish is sure to please.

Shrimp Phyllo Nests - Crisp, golden appetizer cups look like little bird nests. Use them as a base for any number of toppings, such as smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Brie, Apple and Walnut Phyllo Triangles - A perfect fusion of Brie, apple and walnuts hides inside crisp, buttery phyllo pastry.

Phyllo Cups with Crab Salad, and Goat Cheese and Tomatoes - Savoury crabs go extremely well with goat cheese in this melt-in-your-mouth pastry.

Wild Mushrooms in Phyllo Crowns - Garlic cloves and thyme infuse the mushrooms and sweet peppers in this oven-baked recipe.

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn more ways to use phyllo with our recipe picks on page 2

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