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Phyllo Dough

Everyday Food, May 2005

Commonly found in Greek and Middle-Eastern cooking, these tissue-thin sheets of pastry dough, which are made mostly with flour and water, can be used in both sweet (notably baklava) and savory dishes.

Uses for Phyllo
The sheets can be cut and made into packets, cones, and triangles; stacks of whole sheets become a crust for pies.

Handling Phyllo
Unroll stack of sheets; lay flat on plastic. Cover with more plastic topped by a damp towel. Sheets must not become too wet (they'll stick) or too dry (they'll crumble). Remove one at a time as needed.

Preparing Phyllo
Thaw phyllo according to package instructions (or overnight in the refrigerator). Place rolled phyllo on a cutting board; slice crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. The dough is easily layered and shaped (don't worry if sheets are slightly torn).

Storing Phyllo
Phyllo in an unopened box can be frozen for up to a year or refrigerated up to a month (check the label). After opening, use within two or three days. Do not unwrap sheets until you're ready to handle them. Rewrap unused sheet and keep tightly wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator (do not refreeze) until ready to use.


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