mushroom-streudels Recipes

mushroom strudel

I am not proud of this, but I’m really just a one trick pony in the language department. Sure, after four years of high school French and the shortest exchange program ever, I can get by in Paris and because of this, can occasionally make sense of written Italian or Spanish, but Czech? German? I couldn’t be further from makings heads or tails of it.

cremini

As you might expect, as Alex and I luckily found ourselves at some untouristy eateries in Vienna–without a waitstaff that catered to the language-deficient or menus reprinted in 16 world languages–quite a bit of Hilarity Ensued. After many hours of walking on a hot day, Alex and I were beat, so we flopped down at a cafe and mindlessly asked for “iced coffees” completely forgetting that “ice” equals “eis” equals “ice cream” in German, and ended up with a big cup filled with coffee, cream, whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla gelato. I wish all mistakes were this tasty!

eis kaffee (sp?)

Looking to offset the heavy dishes Central Europe, I also ordered something that I guessed was going to be a light, healthy vegetable strudel, something I’d imagined dreamily warm with crispy, flaky edges and something I was certainly going to want to repeat at home. Unfortunately, I received a brick of rice with a few flecks of carrots and parnsips, wrapped in phyllo and smothered in a creamy herb sauce. It all went very well with my eis Kaffee!

phyllo, you always win

Nevertheless, this in no way diminished my dream to make my own vegetable strudel once I got home, so when I found a wild mushroom strudel recipe on Leite’s Culinaria, I was so eager to try it, I entirely forgot about my wholly justified Fear of Phyllo. Here, just look at my first effort, doomed from the start.

i hate phyllo dough

I quickly realized that there was simply no way I was going to make this dish into the four burrito-shaped strudel the recipe suggested, and took matters into my own hands, dealing with phyllo the only way I am comfortable–in a technique I loosely adapted from Hogwash, or the very first time I saw a phyllo effort I thought I might actually be able to take part in.

fold in half, lengthwisebrush phyllo with butterfold in half lengthwise againadd some mushroom filling

Instead of stacking fragile sheet after sheet atop one another, you simply work with one at a time, folding into quarters and rolling your filling up into a little package, flag-style. You end up with a neat little finger food, and, at least in my case, far fewer gray hairs at the end of the night. (Alex’s too, as he heard me talking smack about the phyllo’s mother a lot less from the living room.)

sprinkle on some parmesanstart foldingmarvel at how easy it isegg wash

Along with a big green salad, we ended up with a mighty delicious meal and I’m eager to make these again for a party sometime soon. So, whose got some phyllo tips for me, should I ever get the nerve to try this again?

miniature mushroom strudel

Mushroom Strudel
Adapted from The Complete Mushroom Book, via Leite’s Culinaria

My mother-in-law, whose phyllo expertise I bow before, always makes extra pastries and keeps them frozen until she needs them, a great planning-ahead party tip.

12 to 18 sheets phyllo pastry (12 to make four large strudel, 18 to make smaller triangles)
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter, melted (1/4 cup to make large strudel, 1/2 cup to make smaller triangles; alternately, you could use olive oil for a different flavor profile)
1 egg, beaten (for large strudel; I did not see the need to seal the small ones)

1 pound mixed, fresh, wild and cultivated mushrooms (we used only creminis, and ended up with plenty of flavor. If you omit the stems, start with 1.5 pounds)
1 medium onion, minced
3 tablespoons butter
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional, we skipped it)
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Leaves from 1 sprig marjoram or thyme
4 to 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling, if you wish (the latter amount for the minis)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Clear a large work surface for this, big enough for two full sheets of phllyo, your egg wash, parmesan and filling–trust me, you’ll need it.

Make the filling: Make sure the mushrooms are dust- and sand-free, wash if necessary, and trim if need be. Cook the onion in the butter and, when soft, add the mushrooms with the nutmeg. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until liquid has been released and has partially evaporated. Add the sherry and evaporate the alcohol by cooking over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the flour, herbs, and some salt and pepper, and let cool. The mixture will be moist.

To make small, triangular strudel: Take one sheet of phyllo at a time from their package; cover the remaining sheets with plastic and then a damp towel, ensuring they are completely covered. Brush one half of the sheet lengthwise with butter. Fold the unbuttered side over the buttered side, carefully, smoothing out any wrinkles and bubbles but not worrying if you can’t get them all. Again, brush one half of this lengthwise (a few inch-wide column) with butter, and fold the unbuttered side over it again. You’ll end up with one long column.

Dollop a spoonful of the mushroom filling near the end and sprinkle a teaspoon of parmesan over it. Begin folding one bottom corner of the phyllo strip over the filling until it meets the opposite edge, forming a triangle, as if you were folding a flag. Place the triangle seam side down on the baking sheet, brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

To make four larger strudel: Take 3 sheets of phyllo at a time from their package; cover the remaining sheets with plastic and then a damp towel, ensuring they are completely covered. Brush 1 sheet on both sides with melted butter, then place it on top of another sheet, and cover with a third. Repeat 3 times, to make 4 stacks of triple-layer phyllo.

Lay one of the 4 stacks of phyllo on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the edges with beaten egg. Put one-fourth of the mushroom mixture on the center of the phyllo and add 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Fold in the sides, then fold over and over into a neat parcel. Brush with beaten egg, turn over very carefully so that the seam is on the bottom, and brush with egg again. Repeat to make 3 more strudels.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

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101 comments on mushroom strudel

  1. First and most importantly:

    Always, always, always, always, always keep a nice damp towel on hand, preferably on top of your phyllo. Pull each sheet out individually (and QUICKLY re-cover the rest) and brush with butter/egg wash/etc. for layering.

    Second, and less important but still very useful:

    Make. Alex. Help.
    When you have four hands to do the separating, brushing and covering (mass-production style) your phyllo is less likely to dry out.

    My mother used to hate (and no, this is no hyperbole, I don’t think there was anything in the kitchen she disliked more) working with phyllo, until one day we used this technique while making baklava and we never turned back.

  2. i love the eis kaffee story!

    and your mushroom streudels look absolutely delish! but sorry, no tips for you, i used phyllo for the first time ever this weekend and was happy i was only making 4 pies so that the raggedy pieces of sorry phyllo i ruined wasn’t a disaster!

  3. I have issues with phyllo. I absolutely love it, but it refuses to love me back. That said, this looks really cool. Oh and btw, my cherry/corn cake dreams fell through as I again have the plague and sound like a foghorn, or a sexy partied-out rock star. Mike’s comments seem very helpful – I also heard something about a damp towel too. And lots of butter! :)

  4. Working with phyllo is lovely as long as you do the moist towel routine (bottom to top: counter, phyllo, moist towel, plastic wrap), work quickly, and use an obscene-OBSCENE-amount of *clarified* butter. It’s messy, but fun and far less prone to crumbly failure.

  5. There’s a small typo in your entry’s title: it’s spelled Strüdel, or Struedel if you don’t want the umlaut.

    You have a great site. :-)

  6. Hi there,
    You prob know this already but it sort of popped into my head and now I need to post it so i can forget it and get down to what I really should be doing:
    I do exactly what you do with phyllo i.e. the little triangles shapes and my favorite filling is mint, spinach, ricotta, feta and onion all mixed up together.
    I also make Bakalava, which when you give them to people, look amazing and difficult and they think you are very clever, when in fact they are easy. They are also one of the few things that i can use my bottle of rose water for (which I bought ‘cos i liked the label).

  7. All you really need is two damp (not overly wet or the fillo will get soggy) towels under and on top of the fillo sheets. Once you do that part, and use ample butter (doesn’t need to be clarified butter, just melted) on the sheets, you’ll find that stacking is actually easier than rolling or folding. But the little triangles look great.

  8. I flash-freeze things unbaked. You spread them on a baking sheet, freeze them until they’re solid and then pack them in a zip-lock bag until you need them. This keeps them from sticking together, while still tasting fresh whenever you bake them.

  9. Working with a full sheet of phyllo at a time does seem messy if all you’re doing is making triangles.

    My technique is to cut the phyllo roll, before unrolling it. So I cut a third (or a quarter) of the roll off and once I unroll the small part I just cut, I have a bunch of long strips I can use to make triangles. The rest of the dough gets wrapped up and returned to the fridge immediately.

    Now you only have to deal with strips already the correct width.

  10. I couldn’t wait to see the recipe after you posted the pictures on flickr. I’m glad they turned out so well. Another recipe from you that I need to add on to the list!

  11. Looks good, like everything you make!

    The only phyllo I have experience with is in Baklava….so I have no other words of advice for you other than: Butter, baby.

    :-D

  12. i’ve never made anything savory with phyllo sheets. I think this will be a good first experiment. I just made the Alice Water’s pasta with cauliflower, walnuts, and ricotta. it was delicious. i even found some beautiful multi-colored cauliflower to make it with. now on to the mushroom streudel….

  13. Without knowing what you did exactly to wrap the burrito style roll, my guess based on the photo alone is that you either over stuffed the filling or rolled it too tightly because it appears to be busting out of the dough. Either that or the dough layers got to brittle (dry) while working them together. The damp towel technique is mandatory here where our humidity can drop to single digits in winter. And defrosting the phyllo properly so the durn sheets don’t stick to each other… that makes me batty. Beautiful triangles. Individual servings are my preference anyway :)

  14. These look lovely! And I’m still wallowing in envy over your photos from Vienna. Man I need to go! (But they’re called Strudel. No Umlaut, no extra “e”, no “s” required to make them plural… just Strudel.)

  15. I always used puff pastry for savoury and phyllo for sweet.

    I made vegetable strudel a number of times, while living in Vienna, for a whole lot of Austrians, and not once did I use Phyllo. Also, not once did anyone complain. Sharon was right – Puff Pastry is tasty and not so horribly delicate. It handles the veg better and less cumbersome-ly than layers upon layers of phyllo.

  16. It never occured to me to be afraid of filo (sorry; can’t break the Brit habit) pastry until I started reading food blogs. I take a sort of gung-ho approach; add a layer at a time, and if one breaks, cover it mindlessly with another. But these look ridiculously beautiful; I adore mushrooms. And pastry. And these photos, jkdnjkdns yum.

  17. I am completely terrified of puff pastry and phyllo. Why? Because I have not tried them. One day I will come across a recipe that is so simple that I will try it. At one party, I saw someone put goat cheese, prosciutto and tomatoes on phyllo dough. They baked it flat like pizza. That was yummy….maybe someday.

  18. Okay, last edit! I’m going with Luisa’s corrected spelling. People, this is called “How To Edit Your Blog As Poorly As Possible, I Mean, Even Worse Than Usual.”

    More related: I’m so glad it’s not just me that is phyllo-challenged.

  19. I feel so much better now that I know I am not the only one to have issues with phyllo! I too use puff pastry instead, but your technique for the little triangles is interesting and I want to give it a try …
    In Trentino-Alto Adige, the Italian region bordering Austria, they make a traditional apple strudel using a simple dough that is very far from phyllo and puff pastry:
    300g flour, 50g sugar, 1 egg, 65g butter, 100ml milk and a pinch of salt
    use food processor method to make the dough
    let it rest in the fridge
    fill it, and brush it with egg wash
    450F for about 25′

  20. Most of the strudel in Germany appear to be made with puff pastry (Blatterteig) rather than phyllo, whether savory or sweet (not that the sweet stuff here is very sweet, anyway.) If you’re nervous around phyllo, just substitute the puff pastry.

    (For those curious, spelling it *streudel* would actually sound more like *stroydel* in German.)

  21. Instead of brushing filo with butter I use spray olive or canola oil. It’s easy to get an even, thin layer of oil and you don’t have to worry about a brush tearing the sheet. Also, you get pastries that aren’t so butter-logged and have less saturated fat. The only downside is that you lose some butter flavor. It also helps that I have access to fresh (not frozen) filo from the local mediterranean store. The frozen stuff always seems to come dried out from the beginning.

  22. What is not to love about puff pastry and mushrooms. I have never had the nerve to work with the stuff either, but after seeing that many yummy mushrooms sauteed in butter I am very tempted to.

  23. Nj Deb !

    ” 9. Smitten Kitchen. The food-porn factor of this site nears illegal levels. But to say the photography is the only reason we frequent this blog would do a disservice to Deb Perelman, who writes, cooks, and waxes on about food quite alluringly. ”

    http://www.chow.com/stories/11096

  24. Oh yes, fresh phyllo is a must if you can find it. Move fast and the suggestion for a kitchen partner is great. Don’t hesitate to use/grab spray Pam if you run out of melted butter. It’s all about speed before the phyllo runs dry. Damp kitchen towels must cover the pastry between moves. My primer was the Moosewood Cookbook for a good intro. It’s fun stuff with yummy results. Fresh phyllo, mis en place, lots of melted butter/back up can of spray Pam stuff, damp towels, with helper (ideally) and go!! Tick tock, tick tock.

  25. Oh yes, don’t over-stuff. It’s really about the pastry. The filling is important but it’s about the pastry first, savory or sweet.

  26. Oooh, this is a genius way to use that easy folding concept! Imagine, if you will, a morel strudel (and the angel investor to sponsor it). . .yum.

    Dancer – do it!

  27. how can we ever trust the woman who insults the mother of phyllo… i need to digest this and try and move on…

    WELL, i recently worked with phyllo – as in 4 days ago. the wounds are STILL relatively deep. it was a total BITCH.

  28. As well as keeping filo under a damp towel or wrap whilst you’re waiting to use it, I always put a sheet of greaseproof paper or parchment on the counter and build up the strudel on it. You can then use the paper to gently roll the strudel up and also to carry it to the oven and slide the strudel onto the tray. It works!

  29. Oh man, I love to work with Phyllo! I think I’m the only person in the world who actually likes it! What makes me happiest about using phyllo is buying it from the ridiculously hot, young Greek boy at the W. Side Market. Hells yeah.

    And these look delicious!

  30. I know phyllo is a pain in ass to work with.
    But in the end what ever you put in it is SOOOOOOO Good…
    The only tip I can can give you is the same as every one else,
    damp cloth & lots of butter…

  31. it’s very humid where i come from, so i work with one phyllo sheet at a time, then fold over the rest of the phyllo sheets in plastic and chuck them into the freezer. i then turn my lovey dovey attention to the singular sheet which i cut lengthwise to get the right column size. this way, my pastry layers are thin (they get pretty layered by the process of folding and turning like a flag) and i get the full amount of delicious mushrooms with each bite. when i’m done with that, i go to the freezer and retrieve my cold cold phyllo sheet and work on it the same way…a little labour intensive but worth it :)

  32. OMG that’s one seriously gorgeously tempting set of photos. They looks so savory and tasty I could just pick them right off the screen and eat them! :-) Coincidentally, I just bought a big pile of mushrooms.

    >> “Brush 1 sheet on both sides with melted butter, then place it on top of another sheet”

    I wonder if the reason you’re having trouble with filo is because of this line. I can’t imagine trying to pick up a single sheet of filo once it’s been buttered, much less turning it over, buttering the other side and then picking up the damp-on-both-sides thus even-more-delicate single sheet of filo which in addition has probably stuck to the work surface on the bottom-buttered side.

    You may already be doing things this way, but in the interest of clarity, the method I’ve seen people do (besides all the damp towel and melted butter tips) is:
    1) lay single sheet on work surface
    2) brush that w/ lipids
    3) lay another plain sheet on top (taken from the pile under the damp towel)
    4) butter the top of that
    5) repeat steps 3 and 4 as desired

    I second not worrying about cracks or folds since the next sheet will cover them.

  33. Hm… I should’ve looked the photo of the broken burrito-style pastry more closely like Jen Yu (comment 23) did. I noticed you seem to have assembled the sheets well enough to get to the rolling stage. The hole looks more damp than dry. Did it break on transfer to a baking sheet? Adding to Jen’s suggestions, maybe the filling was still a bit too warm or maybe too wet.

    And my big question, did you still bake the broken one? I bet it was still yummy. :-)

  34. I adore anything made with phyllo. I use Spanikopita filling (feta cheese, eggs, dill) in my triangles, freeze and enjoy forever! This one with mushrooms is a ‘must try’ very soon. I stopped brushing with butter years ago, once I discovered the aerosol Pam sprays in flavors. Butter, olive oil, canola… so much easier. I built mine up on piece of plastic wrap, which I used to move and sometimes roll the strudels. Now I’ll try the parchment suggestion next time. Sounds good. I bet a filling with chestnuts and raisins and/or citrons would be good too. Sometimes, after spraying top of folded triangles I sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  35. I didn’t realize phyllo was such a challenge, but I still would love to try it soon! We’re having a housewarming party in a few weeks, and I think this would be a perfect appetizer to serve. I could play around with fillings, too. Thanks for the idea!

  36. you could probably make this in a 9×13 baking dish….layer filo, butter, etc, then filling, then more filo & butter. i like the triangle method better, though. much more party friendly

  37. Yum! Thanks for the great recipe and for generating all the good ideas for working with phyllo. I made mixed mushroom puff pastry straws last year for a party, and loved them! I’m inspired to return to phyllo… Anyone want to send me a killer baklava recipe???

    Thanks, to for the flash-freeze idea! Any thoughts on preserving the crispiness of pastry for a few hours, as when preparing for a party? Refrigerate and reheat? Keep in an air-tight container?

  38. Don’t like Phyllo dough (eating, not using), but your little triangles look nifty.
    Nifty enough that I might be arsed to make them for the next picnic we have.
    And thank Graces somebody (Luisa) knows that “strudel” is just that – no umlauts or anything, misspelling German quickly becomes atrocious.

  39. I’ve made almost these same things, but with puff pastry instead of phyllo! We called them mushroom turnovers, though that’s not quite right either, since turnovers are usually made with a heavier crust-dough (pâte sucrée/choix or brisée, depending). I’m interested to try these phyllo versions.

    My mother is part-Greek, and we used to have huge spanikopita-making days in which there was much cursing of the phyllo. That said, my mom always seemed to pull it off without much disaster, so perhaps the cursing was part of the ritual? I like to think so.

    I must also add that a very good friend of mine (another Alex, actually) used to make baklava in our *dorm kitchen*! He’s from Bulgaria and has been making baklava since he was wee, but still: I think this is a good indication that the phyllo beast can be tamed!

  40. Looks delicious, but tell me, can anything wrapped in buttery flaky pastry really be a “light” dinner? Please say yes.

    And thanks for the tips on freezing. I once tried to freeze some swiss chard ravioli that I had slaved over. My brilliant idea was to put little pieces of parchment between them so they wouldn’t stick together. I’ll bet you can guess that they fused with the parchment and were totally inedible. So sad.

  41. This is what you get when you order an ice (or iced) coffee here in Australia too.

    Definitely more or a dessert than a beverage! Yum!

  42. The secret to phyllo/filo pastry is to not worry too much about things if they look a bit messy, just keep patching things up with butter and more layers of pastry. The traditional phyllo/filo pies in Greek villages are the most gloriously messy things you’ll ever see – but that’s what makes them so delicious! The more mess you make, the pastry more surface area there is and the more crispy, deliciousness you get! You can keep it under a damp towel while working, but I find if you work quickly enough drying out is not really a problem. Never ever put hot or even slightly warm filling in, or it’s the end. Also, if you work on a tea towel and use it like a sushi mat to roll things gently, you should be able to roll up big logs of stuff.

    We buy here (in Melbourne, Australia) fresh handmade phyllo/filo from turkish bakeries/grocery stores and it is the absolute best (next to making it yourself). It is thicker and goes crunchy/chewy when baked. And, crazy! but you CAN make it yourself with a pasta machine – and it comes out brilliantly. Don’t be afraid! You can achieve the ultimate crunch!

  43. These look amazing. How easy do you think it would be to make a spanikopita type thing using this same method? What kind of cheese would one use?

    My father is also big into iced coffee, so I’m sure he’d love the coffee ala ice cream version as well!

  44. I think it would be delicious, and that you should send me some. :)

    My mother-in-law (whose recipe I promise to share, soon) makes spanikopita with three cheeses (“pot” cheese, feta and mozzarella) but I think you could use whatever you like. She also adds a bit of breadcrumbs to absorb the moisture. The biggest trick is to drain/squeeze out the sauteed spinach really well. Oh, and send me some, but I already said that.

  45. I agree about finding the fresh if you can, it is less obstreperous to work with and — very important for Ms. Last Minute of Western Brooklyn — you don’t have to decide the night before and take the phyllo out of the freezer. Damascus Bakery on Atlantic Avenue has fresh phyllo, and I am sure there are many other sources around town.

    My mother remembers her grandmother pulling strudel dough over a table to get it paper-thin.

  46. deb, what exactly is “pot” cheese?
    Could you please try describing it to me so I know what to look out for?
    All I could find is that it’s a soft cheese similar to ricotta. Does is have the same consistency? Is it less or more sweet than ricotta?
    Thanks!
    I’m really stumped here…

  47. Deb, I have to take a moment to say something about the nutmeg you chose to omit.

    Mushrooms love nutmeg; I think a damn good scrape could do nothing but elevate your recipe.

    As you were.

  48. Making these right now using puff pastry. I don’t like nutmeg but put a few grates of fresh in. In tasting the finished filling for salt & pepper, I taste an obvious “sweetness” which I’m thinking the nutmeg brought out. Delicious!

    Having for supper along with a nice salad and your “favorite side dish” of squash & almonds. Wow, my husband is going to love me! Ha Ha

    btw, the mushrooms I used were from Costco and called baby bellas.

  49. There’s a little Greek deli by my work. They make this wonderful thing that looks like what you made, but it’s filled with wonderful cheese. Mmmm. I know it’s got a fantastic Greek-filled name, but they let me call it a cheese pie. It is wonderful. I think I will have one at lunch tomorrow.

    Also, while your Mushroom Strudel look good, I am opposed to mushrooms so I don’t think I’ll be attacking this recipe. That eis Kaffee, on the other hand….

  50. I love phyllo! :) It’s a pain in the tuchus at first, but you get used to it. One key is to wet a “tea-towel” (or a towel made from flour-sacking) and drape it over the phyllo you’re not currently working with. I keep mine wrapped in the plastic it came in (I use frozen phyllo) as well, which helps to keep it from drying out and that’s the key. Once it starts drying out, you’ll find the amount of insults to its mother increases (Oh, I know well what you meant!!!).

    I know it’s hardly a “foodie” thing to do, but I find that using a spray such as Pam helps immensely in avoiding sturated fat *and* keeping the phyllo happy. Plus, it’s fast and convenient!

    Making the triangles like you did is a great way to make things with phyllo. There are tons of great shapes you can make. You can also make little burrito-like shapes with a similar technique. What I really like is a recipe I have for a southwestern-type appetizer in phyllo that calls for sprinkling cumin on the butter (Pam, in my case) between the layers of phyllo. It is just gorgeous in the finished product!

  51. Dear Deb,
    first of all I´d like to tell you I´m a big fan of the blog and the recipes. And because of that, I was kind of confused today when I saw the above recipe and its related photo published in a Brazilian website called Panelinha. Panelinha has a community area where every member can post his/her recipes, and a member posted your recipe and your photo, mentioning that both (recipe and photo) were extracted from your blog. Although there are no specific rules about publishing recipes or images in the community and your blog doesn´t mention any rule about it, I was sort of confused, so I thought it would be better to tell you. And the people at Panelinha also put a disclaim like “Andreia strikes again with a wonderful recipe”. Here´s the link: http://panelinha.ig.com.br/site_novo/comunidade/colaboradores/receita_colaborador.php?id=827&receita_id=6523
    Best,
    Ligia

  52. Yes! Absolutely delicious. And I have half of the filling in the freezer ready for the kind of guest who will appreciate it. I do love this site . . .

  53. I didn’t read thru all comments so I don’t know if anyone suggested this phyllo tip….
    if you can buy your phyllo at an ethnic market (Middle Eastern, Greek…), you will probably see that there are different thicknesses shown by a number on the box. Try #7. It is thicker than what you can buy in the grocery store. I think #4 is what’s at a regular grocery and it’s almost always in the freezer. If you can buy the thicker phyllo that has not been frozen, you will find that it is a dream to work with. Easy, easy..and you won’t insult anyone’s mother.

  54. Curious!! This is from a poor stupid gal who knows less and less of such specialty cooking ;) – I know of Filo dough from the Turkish cuisine? Is it the same thing that you use here – the phyllo pastry sheets? Can I buy them from a super market? Pls help – I am dying to make these strudel.

  55. Once you complete each triangle, do they need to be covered with a damp cloth too, so that the finished triangles don’t dry out before baking? Or are you meant to brush the top and all sides with the egg wash to prevent the whole triangle from drying out?

  56. Deb: what is pot cheese that you mention in your comment re spanikopita?

    I have only used phyllo very occasionally and usually as a quick pie crust. I picked this technique up from Martha Stewart which made the buttering easier. Lay down the first sheet, spray it with butter spray (Pam) and then the next. Also easier to do in a small space than finding a space to lay it all down and butter and butter the next, etc. Laying them one on top of the other makes for buttering both sides.

  57. Here is a simple tip that will make the whole process of working with phyllo faster and much more efficient than with a a brush…
    lay sheets of phyllo on your board and use a small sponge paint roller (purchased from the paint store for a $1) soaked in melted butter to paint the phyllo sheets quickly and perfectly, thus avoiding dried out sheets!
    Edie Mullen

  58. Yum!! Even that messed up one looks YUM! We can only get frozen phyllo pastry here so mine tends to be crusty before baking but it helps with a damp tea towel covering it til I’m ready for them (or til they’re ready for me).

    Love your blog!!

  59. These look very good… I just made your three bean chilli (which was amazing) and I will try this next. First time working with phyllo…keep your fingers crossed for me :)

    While reading the comments, I noticed a lot of people talking about baklava and I was just wondering if anyone had a really good recipe for it (preferably Lebanese style but any would do)

    Thank you so much!!!!

  60. So, you bake them, then flash freeze them and then, when you need them, you thaw them and bake them again for 15 minutes? Or fewer minutes? Or can you bake them straight from the freezer? Do they end up soggy at all?

    1. You can bake them straight from the freezer. They don’t taste soggy (but would be more likely to be soggy if you let them defrost first). They should only need one to two extra minute’s baking time.

  61. Hi, Thanks for another great post. Where more could everyone get that kind of information usual perfect way with words? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the find such information. thanks a lot :)

  62. I tried these. I would recommend to follow the instructions to fold the dough four times. Then, halve that in the other direction (hamburger fold as they say in the craft world). I found that my pastries were too flaky.

    This way, you could make even tinier strudels!

  63. I stayed up late making these as a weekend road trip snack. Made the mistake of mentioning it to the people we were meeting at the cottage – they insisted we share!!! Everyone loved them. Next time I will make double and keep some in the freezer for another time. Was worried I had over-seasoned but because the pastry tastes quite bland they were just perfect – Deb you were right as always. Thank you!

  64. I also always make triangles with phyllo because it’s the easiest shape to work with – nice equilateral ones cook evenly and I’ve seen my housemate fail with moneybags (burnt tops, soggy fatty bottoms). I’d like to step up some day and try to make a full pie (maybe full of spinach and ricotta) with a a few sheets all layered in together.

    One thing I did once see a chef do and have replicated as its easy, is to sprinkle in between each sheet/fold of phyllo a combination of cumin/caraway/nigella seeds, and carefully place a couple of coriander leaves. These little insertions then create artistic little shadows between the layers of pastry, and are small/thin enough not to seriously disrupt the evenness of the final product.

    I’m interested to try this one because the filling seems so wet – I usually make a spicy potato-and-pea mixture not unlike something you’d put in a samosa, then serve them with harissa yoghurt. But they really need the yoghurt as the filling is a bit drier.

  65. Made this, and I’m usually a klotz in the kitchen – but I had absolutely no probelm with the phyllo, and the end result was both pretty and tasty :D

  66. This was a hit with my Austrian hubby on Valentine’s day (& as you can imagine he was brought up on huge chunks of meat served in heavy cream sauces – or butter- with cream cake for dessert). I used the “classical” Austrian approach to the filo & it worked just fine: 2 damp tea towels. The first to cover the working surface – I made the strudel on top of it and the second to cover the rest of the pastry whilst I was spreading butter & filling. I then used the “base” tea towel to help me roll the strudel & transfer it to the baking sheet

  67. At last! A cook who is as inept with phyllo dough as I am. I think I can actually handle this approach.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  68. I used your recipe as a sort of guideline cause one of my dinner guests is a vegetarian so instead of butter I used olive oil and added some fresh tarragon — fingers crossed she likes it. I love cooking with filo — no rolling out or shrinking pastry and even if it looks a bit tattered it’s still very stylish!

  69. These look amazing. I am oh so smitten with your kitchen Deb. I am in the midst of a bumper crop of mustard greens right now. Any thoughts on using greens as part of the filling?