Phyllo (or filo) dough has no saturated fat or trans fat, and no cholesterol. Phyllo dough is light, crisp and flaky, and so long as you use butter-flavored cooking spray between layers rather than real melted butter, it's a perfect low-fat choice for making savory or sweet pies, tarts, and strudels. The main criticism of phyllo dough is that it’s hard to use. With a bit of planning, handling phyllo dough needn’t be a problem.
- Difficulty: Average
- Time required: Minimum of 24 hours' thawing time, plus 10 to 15 minutes preparation
What You Need
- Box of phyllo dough
- Wax paper or plastic wrap
- Damp cloth
- Butter-flavored cooking spray
- Pie or tart pan, cookie sheet, silicone mat or parchment for baking
- Prepared fillings
- Sharp knife and ruler for cutting shapes in dough, depending on the recipe
- Serrated knife for cutting strudels or pies cleanly
- Thaw the phyllo dough roll(s) in the refrigerator, according to package instructions. Do not thaw at room temperature.
- Have filling and any other ingredients prepared and ready to use.
- Unroll the number of sheets you require for your recipe, plus a few extra. Peel them off together rather than separately.
- Stack the phyllo sheets you will be using on top of waxed paper or plastic wrap.
- Place some wax paper or plastic wrap on top of the last phyllo sheet.
- Cover stack of phyllo sheets with a damp towel to prevent them drying out. Accept that you might have to toss a sheet or two if they do tear or crumble.
- Uncover phyllo sheets as you need them, re-covering the remaining sheets until ready to use. Work as quickly as you can.
- Spray butter-flavored cooking spray or brush some melted jelly between each phyllo sheet as you build up layers.
- Use phyllo sheets in place of pie crusts by fanning them in a star-shaped pattern, and either trimming the sides or folding in the edges for a galette-style pie.
- Wrap your choice of fillings as you would a burrito for an easy strudel.
- Using a sharp knife, cut phyllo sheets into strips, and fold flag-style over filling to make triangles.
- Cut dough into squares. Spoon filling into the center of phyllo squares and gather the corners to make “kisses.”
- Cut diamond shapes or squares to make Napoleon-style layers.