Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Fillo Up!

In looking around for ideas for new cooking classes at Today's Kitchen Store, I thought about the remaining packages of fillo dough I have in the freezer.  So many people make the comment "that must be so hard / time-consuming / tricky!" when I bake and sell baklava, that it seemed to me that a class on using fillo dough might start to demystify it for others.

So, with a little extra time on my hands this week, I decided to experiment.

I can practically layer sheets of fillo (for baklava or spanokopita) in my sleep, it's so easy -- just repetitive -- and I've been known on occasion to use fillo for a flaky layered pie crust or rolled up jelly-roll style.  I even enjoy making little triangular pillows with the stuff, filled with something cheesy and savory.

But I got to thinking: could I make "cups" with them by draping squares of fillo layers over the bottom of muffin tins and baking them?

The answer, of course, is yes, I could.  And I did.

I did discover, however, that they did not need to be baked for long -- at 15 minutes at 350 F, these olive oil-brushed beauties got just a little overdone.  But, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so...

I decided I wanted to make mini taco salads with them.  I cooked some homegrown Vermont cranberry beans and turned them into refried beans that I then mixed with a bit of sour cream for the first layer.  I topped that with fresh guacamole, homemade stoplight salsa, and shredded cheddar cheese.

Had I left it at that, I probably would have had a really great dish.  However, I decided to warm it all up in the oven -- and while that didn't overbake the fillo, it did allow the moisture from all the layers to soak into the bottom of the fillo, leaving a soggy mess that then spilled all over my fingers when I tried to eat them.

Granted, messy fingers won't stop me from eating something good, but suffice it to say that the fillo cup idea is probably best left for cold salads with minimal moisture!

Another lesson learned!

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