PHYLLO Pastry_Chocolate Apple Nut Phyllo triangle pockets

Between the sheets of Phyllo pastry...
Chocolate Apple Nut triangle pockets

Buttery light and flaky describes... 
anything enveloped by the delicate sheets...
of PHYLLO pastry.

If you're rushed for the recipe...go straight to the end of the post.

Many people have shied away from using this mysterious ’PHYLLO’ dough ingredient. Most do not know what to do with it and some still do not know what it is. That’s alright...but its time you get acquainted with this magical dough which will yield impressive results every time.

I was slowly introduced to this Mediterranean dough with my favourite Greek, Armenian and Lebanese foods. I thoroughly enjoy most of their sweet and savoury treats.  I'm marvelled at all that is accomplished with these very thin sheets made of simply flour, water and a tad of oil or white vinegar.

Practically any blend of ingredients enveloped within this crispy, light and flaky sheet is a pleasure in every bite.
Especially when I buy Lebanese pastries such as these. Sold quite expensively I might add...so they better be the best you can find! Throughout the years I've unfortunately packed on a few pounds just having to find the very best place that makes these great treats of pure joy ;0)
If ever you are visiting the Montreal region...write to me for an update on this very best find!

The main ingredients found in these particular pastries usually consist of:
A variety of nuts...usually: pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts and at times walnuts. Sweet syrup developed with simple sugars as well as a minimal amount of honey. Splashes of Rose water as well as orange flavoured water. Most importantly the binder that realizes the flakiness could only really be butter.
My personal tip: Throughout my experiences with certain recipes...I have also blended butter with a little vegetable oil such as canola or grape seed. This does not alter the results greatly and it does help in minimizing a few calories. Who wouldn't want that.

Now, admittedly...I still am a long way from creating these decadent jewels.
For now, I'll just enjoy selecting my favourites from the many displays of wonderfully crafted pastry delicacies.
Add to these afternoon delights...an aromatic espresso for me and a cafĂ© au lait for my 'hubby'...and we're good to go.

The day I had finally decided to learn how to use this product...I never looked back.  I dove right in and actually managed to create many very successful appetizers and desserts. 

Once you understand the principal physical qualities that have to be respected with this lovely ingredient...a whole new avenue has opened its way for you to wow yourself and others.
Therefore, before I get into one of the recipes I've made lately let's find out what Phyllo is...where it comes from...and finally how to use it.

So, join me and let's take a small peak into this thick raw dough that is stretched to the maximum and finished off into delicate paper thin pastry sheets.

If you know everything there is to know on PHYLLO dough...
you can SKIP this whole section and scroll down straight towards today's recipe.

PHYLLO dough GUIDE 101

What is PHYLLO?
Phyllo, filo, or fillo...[pronounced: fee-lo]
...meaning 'leaf' in the Greek language.
Flaky, tissue/ paper thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough. A pastry dough layered in very thin sheets that become flaky when baked.
Used for making pastries and appetizers in and Mediterranean (mostly Greek) and other Middle Eastern cuisine.
Phyllo sheets should not be confused with puff pastry, which like Phyllo has multiple layers, but is made with butter or oil between layers. When the layered Phyllo preparation is baked or deep-fried it becomes crispy and resembles puff pastry, though their preparation is very different and they are generally not substituted for one another.
Phyllo dough is made with flour, water, and a small amount of oil and raki or white vinegar, though some dessert recipes also call for egg yolks. Homemade Phyllo takes time and skill, requiring progressive rolling and stretching to a single thin and very large sheet. A very big table and a long roller are used, with continual flouring between layers to prevent tearing.
Machines for producing filo pastry were perfected in the 1970s, which have come to dominate the market. Phyllo for domestic use is widely available from supermarkets, fresh or frozen. -- Ref.: wikipedia

. Other than the popular flat sheet type...Phyllo can also be sold in the form of shredded dough call 'kataifi’ or ‘kadaif’ dough a.k.a. ‘Angel Hair’ : This particular dough can be layered or rolled into a log and then sliced into 1/4 inch rounds.
. It can also be found in different shapes such a as in 'pre-baked phyllo cup shells'. For these...you can simply add your preferred filling (about 1--1.5 tsps.) and oven bake the filled shell at 350F/180C/Gas4 for about 7-9 minutes.

. Fresh Phyllo dough is a preferred choice and it doesn‘t tear as easily as the frozen one. However the frozen kind works has worked well with successful results every time.
. If you use a frozen Phyllo package (about 1lb [454gr.]...just make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator from the day before (about 18 hours or so).
. Before using it...leave the rolled, un-opened package out at room temperature for about 2 hours. NEVER thaw frozen phyllo at room temperature.
     . Just make sure that once it's opened...it won't hang around too long afterwards. This dough is a little finicky! Take out what you need and re-wrap the rest to be put back in the fridge. This dough usually keeps reasonably well for at least another week or so.
. The thing you need to be AWARE of the most is how quickly the sheets dry out in-between uses. Therefore, to prevent drying...gently unfold the Phyllo package and then always cover your sheets flat and in between two papers of parchment...finishing off with a very damp tea towel as the top layer.
. These sheets may sometimes have some small cracks and tears...it's very normal. Just remember...that even though these sheets may tear once and a while...it's no big deal. With the help of butter and/or oil...the dough can readily be patched together...with little notice when baked! Excess, torn pieces can be used for other recipes too. Surprisingly this dough is very forgiving. More on this later. However, if you can't wait...refer to the bottom of this post for an interesting 'Leftover Cheese pie' recipe.
. It is also best that you always have dry hands when manipulating these Phyllo sheets. When this dough comes in contact with water...it becomes 'gummy' and unmanageable!
. If a recipe requires certain size cut pieces...you can use a sharp knife or a pizza wheel cutter which I find works best.
. Make sure to have ALL the other ingredients for your recipe ready to go before un-wrapping the Phyllo.
. The brushing of melted butter or olive oil are the binding liquid fats of choice when making recipes with Phyllo. Some have even used butter-flavoured cooking spray with reasonable success.
. Use a silicone or soft bristle pastry brush to coat the Phyllo dough...starting from the outside edges towards the middle...this will help to keep it workable.
. Avoid getting over-greasy results by not over coating the dough with butter or oil.
. If the recipe requires cutting pieces in the pan before oven baking...delicately score ONLY the surface with a very sharp knifeAfterwards follow through back again until you have cut to the bottom of the pan create the pre-baked pieces.
. Most recipes with Phyllo will usually be baked on the 2nd rack up from the bottom in the oven at between 350F/180C/Gas 4...to sometimes 375F/190C/Gas 5.
. After having refrigerated the leftovers...make sure that when ready to eat these pies or pastries again...carefully either re-heat them in a very low temp. oven for no more than 10 minutes or just simply leave them cool down at room temp. NEVER re-heat in the microwave.

Chocolate Apple Nut
Phyllo triangle pockets
Makes 12 pastries

Click HERE for a PRINTER version of RECIPE

(American / Metric measures)

. 4 large 'Phyllo' dough sheets
. 1/2 cup (120ml) melted butter 
. 1/4 cup (60ml) canola oil
. 2 medium apples (i.e.: McIntosh...)
. 12 small pieces of semi-sweet (55-60%) chocolate
or 12 tbsp. of 'ganache'
. 12 nut halves: walnuts or pecans
. ground cinnamon (for sprinkle) 
. sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar and/or ground cinnamon for garnish (optional)

Note: these pastries can be prepared ahead of time and frozen between sheets of parchment paper.  Before baking, they need to thaw no more than 10 minutes. 

. Pre-heat oven to 375F/190C/Gas 5
. Position rack on 2nd level from the bottom of the oven.
. Clean and prepare a large enough space on the counter to work the pastries.
. Line a very large cookie sheet with a parchment paper or use a 'Silpat'.  Set aside.
. Dampen a tea towel to later cover the unused, 'Phyllo'.
. In a small bowl, melt the butter and then mix in the oil.   

...Prepare the filling and the sheets:
1. Measure and set aside the nuts and chocolate.  Peel and thinly slice the apples.  Set aside briefly. 
2. Place the 'Phyllo' sheets under the damp cloth.
3. When you are absolutely ready, take one sheet at the time and lightly drizzle the butter/oil mix.  Leave the remaining sheets under the cover to prevent them from drying.  
4. Afterwards, with your hand, quickly spread the mix throughout the surface of the sheet, while making sure the edges are well covered.  Make sure not to saturate the sheets.
5. With a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, evenly cut 3 strips from the first phyllo pastry sheet. The width will be about 4 inches/ 10 cm.
6. At the start of each strip, leave a small space before placing three apple slices, followed by chocolate, a nut and topped by a sprinkle of cinnamon.   
7. Afterwards, fold each strip into a triangle (as if folding a flag)...Start with the right hand corner and flip to the left by creating a triangle.  Continue with that pointed end and flip upwards.  Flip again to the opposite end and repeat the last few steps until you almost reach the end.  At this point make a small fold that will be left tucked under.
8. Brush a little of the butter mix onto the surfaces before placing them onto the baking sheet.  Repeat the same for the remaining ingredients.
. BAKE for about 15-20 minutes or until the pockets turn a golden colour.  When cooled onto racks, sprinkle with optional icing sugar and cinnamon.

For those who are still mystified...here's is more.
Proceed with the FOLDING of the triangle pocket formation by following the...
Triangle Fold-Over technique

1. Fold the right hand corner over to the LEFT to form a triangle with the mix.
2. Take the pointed end and fold straight UP.
3. Take the corner with the filling and fold over to the OPPOSITE side to the RIGHT.
     ...repeat the flipping technique:
4. Once again, take the pointed end and fold straight UP.
5. Take the corner with the filling and fold over to the OPPOSITE side to the LEFT.
6. Take the pointed end and fold straight UP.
7. Take the corner with the filling and fold over to the OPPOSITE side to the RIGHT.
8. Take the pointed end and fold straight UP.
9. Take the corner with the filling and fold over to the OPPOSITE side to the LEFT.
10. When you reach the end...make a small fold.
Place the triangle fold part down on the cookie sheet.

Go ahead...try these out and enjoy every bite.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SWEET creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

Here are other PASTRY recipes that may interest you:
- Apple Chocolate Phyllo BALUCHON parcels

- PUFF choux PASTRY ricotta cream ZEPPOLE
- Two CANNOLI special...with Ricotta Maple syrup filling