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52 Weeks of Baking: Experiments in Phyllo

I thought about skipping out on this week's 52 weeks of baking (I'm actually making cupcakes for Jimmy's birthday tomorrow, and I thought I'd double-up and have two for next week). However, 51 weeks of baking just doesn't have quite the same ring to it, so I ponied up and took the time between Top Model (secret vice) and Lost (not-so secret vice) to head to my kitchen and see what I could whip up.
I contemplated making crackers, cookies, or muffins, but Molly's on vacation (and I know she'd be sad to miss out on the in-office treats), so I decided to try some phyllo dough experiments instead. Earlier in the week I had been inspired by these beautiful herbed phyllo breadsticks (I'm not the only one, this post is from over a year ago, and yet it's appearing on a bunch of blogs now) and wanted to see if I could make something similar. I ended up with a few different phyllo "breadsticks" and one "tomato pie."

To check out what I did, read more

No real recipes this time, this was just me playing around with phyllo dough (which, for those of you who don't know, is paper-thin sheets of pastry dough that can be found in the freezer section of your supermarket). My first experiment was to take one sheet of dough, lay it open on a flat surface, brush melted butter on half (lengthwise), spread out some fresh basil (on the half with butter), scatter some parmesan cheese on top of that, fold the other half on top and then roll it up into a tube. I then baked the tubes in the oven at 375 for about 5 minutes on each side.

I did several variations of that general concept, one with cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg and one with cheese, salt and pepper and a few others with basil. The overall taste was light, salty, and crunchy - they'd make for a great quick snack. However I would only serve these at an outdoor party (so many crumbs! the phyllo dough is so flaky) and I wouldn't use basil again, it does that over-cooked black coloring that is blech!-looking.

I also ended up folding some phyllo dough into a ramekin, filling it with a mixture of tomatoes (which I should have fully de-seeded and salted to let some of the water drain out first), basil, parmesan cheese, and salt; and then topping it with more phyllo and brushing that with butter and sprinkling with garlic powder. I called the result "study for tomato pie" because it wasn't good enough to be a real pie, but definitely had the outline/prospects to become one.

When I was done with those few experiments, it was time for Lost to begin, so I closed down the kitchen and took my flaky snacks to the living room.

Have you ever worked with phyllo dough?
Tell me about it in the comments!



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