Phyllo dough is one the most versatile pastries around, and phyllo dough dessert recipes are able to live up to that versatility as well.
What is Phyllo Dough?
Phyllo dough, or filo dough, is a thin pastry that is baked in layers or sheets. It can be made into savory or sweet pastries including spinach pies or puffed pastries and is used throughout all Middle Eastern cooking.
Phyllo dough can be difficult to work with the first time. When making phyllo dough, be sure to follow these tips to help your pastry turn out easier.
- Use a dough hook in your mixer when making the dough
- Continue kneading the dough by hand once it is out of the mixer until it reaches a plastic consistency
- Let the dough stand for a full two hours after kneading before working it
- Pull and stretch the dough by hand until it is nearly transparent
- Use a lot of butter between each sheet for a crispier pastry
Phyllo Dough Dessert Recipes
Each of these recipes begins with a simple phyllo dough recipe that is formed into the perfect puff pastry or layered dessert.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1/3 cup warm water
- Place the flour, oil and eggs in a mixer and slowly add the water while mixing
- Mix until the dough is completely moistened and switch to a dough hook
- Run the dough hook through the mixer until the dough has smoothed out slightly in texture
- Continue kneading by hand until the dough is very smooth
- Cover the dough in plastic and let stand
- Spread the dough out on a floured surface and stretch slowly until transparent
- Cut into sheets
Baklava or baqlawa is a layered nut dessert found in Greece, Lebanon and Turkey. The filling can vary based on taste and personal preference, but should contain a mixture of nuts for best flavor.
- Prepared phyllo dough
- 1/3 Cup Ground Cashews
- 1/3 Cup Ground Walnuts
- 1/3 Cup Ground Pistachios
- 1 Cup Melted Butter
- 1 Confectioner's Sugar
- 1/3 Cup Hot Water
- Divide the phyllo dough up into 10 layers
- Combine the ground nuts in a small bowl
- Layer each sheet with melted butter and every third or fourth sheet spread a layer of the nut mixture
- Place in an oven pre-heated to 425-degrees
- Bake until golden brown and flaky or for approximately 25 minutes
- Dissolve the confectioner's sugar in hot water and pour this syrup over the top of the pastry as it cools
Knafeh Cheese Phyllo Dessert
Knafeh is a sweet cheese pastry that is eaten for breakfast in Lebanon. Serve it as a warm dessert after dinner.
- 1/4 pound of fresh phyllo
- 1 cup of butter, melted
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Wrap the phyllo dough in plastic and place in the freezer until hard
- Transfer the frozen dough to a food processor and pulse until completely shredded
- Add melted butter to the phyllo as it defrosts to keep it from reforming
- Spread half the shredded dough on the bottom of a greased baking sheet
- Spread the ricotta in aneven layer over the shredded dough in the pan, trying not to compress the dough
- Arrange the rest of the phyllo over the ricotta and place in the oven to bake at 350-degrees for 45 minutes
- Carefully flip the dessert and continue baking until this side begins to brown
- Make sugar syrup to pour on top by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan
- Bring the sugar solution to a boil and addlemon juice
- Continue to boil until a thick syrup forms
- Pour the syrup over the top just before serving
Cooking With Phyllo Dough
Phyllo can be a difficult pastry to work with for the first time. It does recombine easily, however, and can stay separated with melted butter. Leave plenty of time for yourself when making any phyllo dough dessert recipes to recombine or layer the dough. With practice you'll be making phyllo dough desserts and puff pastries with ease.