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Fear of Phyllo


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Phyllo has a bad wrap. Just mention the word and even an experienced cook can be struck with terror.
 
But once you master a few techniques, you can make this dough one of the most versatile weapons in your cooking arsenal.
 
Here are some tips:
 
*If using frozen phyllo dough, thaw it in the refrigerator 24 hours before using.
 
*Remove only the number of sheets called for in the recipe. Reroll the unused dough and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator up to three weeks.
 
*Any filling that is to be used with phyllo should be completely prepared and cooled before using. Even slightly warm filling will cause the dough to wilt.
 
*If you're brushing butter on the phyllo, melt and cool it in advance.
 
*To keep phyllo from drying out while working with it, lay sheets of plastic wrap over the dough. Some recipes call for covering the sheets with a damp towel. This makes the dough sticky and more difficult to work with.
 
*Starting with the edges and working in, lightly brush butter or oil on the phyllo with a soft pastry brush. Don't saturate the dough; a light coating is enough. You also can use a vegetable oil spray, or olive oil spray if using a savory filling.
 
*This is the key: Don't worry if the sheets become buckled or even torn. You can "glue" sheets back together with melted butter or oil. If your top sheet becomes torn, simply put another on top.
 
*Brush the tops of the finished pastries with butter or oil, or spray lightly with one of the oils.
 
*It's a good idea to bake phyllo pastries on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, especially if it's a sweet pastry that contains sugar. The sugar has a tendency to caramelize, making it difficult to remove the finished pastry from the baking sheet.
 
~ --Times home economist CeCe Sullivan and "Phyllo: Easy Recipes for Sweet and Savory Treats" by Jill O'Connor
 
Recipe by: Seattle Times 3/26/97 Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #722 by Rooby <MsRooby@sprintmail.com> on Aug 04, 1997