A lot of folks are afraid of phyllo, that tissue-thin dough from Greece. It is true that phyllo can be tricky but once you know what you are doing, and get used to working quickly, it’s not very hard. You need to follow some simple rules when dealing with phyllo.
Most phyllo is sold frozen. It needs to defrost slowly, in your refrigerator. Give it at least 24 hours. Don’t unwrap it or unroll it until it is thoroughly thawed. It will just crack up into a million little shards. Even if you follow these instructions, it might stick together or crack. I have found that certain brands are more reliable than others. One market may treat it with more respect than another. These are, unfortunately, things you learn the hard way.
When you are ready to use your phyllo, unwrap it and unroll it. Lay it out flat and keep it covered with plastic wrap. This is extremely important. Phyllo dries out in a New York minute. I work with it in the semi-arid climate of Colorado. If I can keep it pliable here, you can do it anywhere. As you pull a sheet off the pile, cover it again. It shouldn’t be uncovered for more than a few seconds.
Brush the phyllo immediately with melted butter. You can use olive oil (often used in savory preparations), even non-stick cooking spray instead. This will keep the phyllo pliable so you can fold it, roll it up, or squish it into a muffin cup (as is done in the recipe below). You don’t have to drench it in fat. It will be crispier if you go light on the butter or oil.
Here’s a tasty dessert that uses phyllo dough. It doesn’t use much, which is nice because sometimes you have a quarter of a pound left over. It’s quick and easy, once you get the hang of that phyllo dough. It’s been Pamela-tested. She loves it.
Phyllo Apple Pockets
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced (about 2 cups)
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
6 large sheets phyllo dough
6 tablespoons natural applesauce
2. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add apples, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat until most of the lemon juice has evaporated. Remove from heat and add cinnamon and salt.
3. Lay a sheet of phyllo down on a cutting board. Brush it with butter or spray it with cooking spray. Fold the sheet over and then fold it over again. You want to end with a square that is approximately 6″x6″. Since the size of phyllo sheets is variable, you are going to have to use your judgement on the best way to fold it.
4. Take the phyllo square and place it in a large muffin cup or a large ramekin.
5. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets.
6. Put 1 tablespoon of applesauce in each cup. Add about 1/3 cup apple mixture on top of applesauce.
7. Fold over edges of phyllo to cover apples. Brush with butter or spray with cooking spray.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until phyllo is golden brown. Serve warm or hot (though Pamela says they taste just fine cold).
Note: Leftover pockets can be refrigerated. Reheat for 10 minutes in a 350℉ oven before serving.
Link to PDF of Phyllo Apple Pockets Recipe