Welcome to “Shortcuts” — where I share fun and easy recipes that take advantage of pre-made and packaged ingredients!
Do you have “phyllo-phobia”? You know, the fear of working with phyllo dough?
For years I avoided any recipe calling for phyllo — I envisioned tearing and ripping sheets of thin, fragile dough, followed by a tangled mess.
But it was tough to resist the call of those crisp, buttery layers, shattering as my fork hit the plate. So I did a little research and faced my fears.
And you can too.
Phyllo is actually very easy to work with. Here are just a few pointers to keep in mind:
Thaw thoroughly. Thaw the dough in the fridge overnight, and bring to room temperature (about 2 hours) before using. This ensures sheets of dough that separate easily, without sticking and tearing.
Be prepared. Have all of your ingredients at the ready before you unwrap the dough. You’ll want to move fairly quickly once you start, and having everything at-hand will streamline the process.
Keep damp. While working with phyllo dough, it’s important to keep the unused sheets from drying out. Most recipes suggest a damp towel but I find that a damp paper towel works best.
Easy right? Once you discover this multi-tasking shortcut, you’ll always want to have a box in the freezer to whip up everything from snacks and appetizers to main dishes and impressive desserts!
There is much to love about these turnovers. The flaky sheets of phyllo are the perfect match for the mild, not-too-sweet ricotta filling. There are no special ingredients involved, and this is a great way to use up that leftover ricotta you probably wind up having at one time or another (of course you COULD make your own ricotta cheese …).
And best of all, the unbaked turnovers can go straight into the freezer for an impromptu dessert any time — no thawing required! Simply pop them into the oven right from the freezer, adding a few minutes of baking time.
A drizzle of honey is all these turnovers need — enjoy!
adapted from Martha Stewart
3/4 c. ricotta
3 T. sugar
1/4 t. vanilla
1 large egg
6 T. ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 T. honey, plus additional for drizzling
6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla, egg, and a pinch of salt — mix well. In a microwave-safe bowl or small measuring cup, melt butter and honey, about 30 to 45 seconds. Stir well to combine.
Lay one sheet of phyllo on a work surface; keep the remaining sheets covered with a damp paper towel. Using a pastry brush, gently brush all over with the honey mixture. Repeat with two more sheets of phyllo. Cut the dough crosswise into four rectangles.
Place 2 T. of the ricotta mixture at one end of each rectangle, leaving the top right corner empty. Fold the top right corner diagonally down and to the left edge, enclosing the filling. Fold the triangle down over itself. Now fold the top left corner diagonally down and to the right. Repeat, as if folding a flag, and transfer the turnover to your prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remainder of the dough and the remaining three sheets of phyllo.
Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm, drizzled with additional honey. (Unbaked turnovers can be frozen. To bake, place directly into your pre-heated oven — do not thaw. Allow for an additional few minutes of baking time.)