How to prepare Filo or Phyllo Pastry

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Filo pastry (also spelt phyllo) is a delicate pastry which needs to be covered while you use it so it doesn’t dry out. In other ways it is a forgiving pastry which can be layered and scrunched – it doesn’t have to be neat to look good unlike other pastry.

Filo pastry usually comes frozen so you need to defrost and use it immediately. If you leave it to sit in the fridge for too long it becomes dry at the edges and sticks together which makes it hard to work with.

How to prepare filo pastry

– You will need to melt some butter and have a pastry brush ready.

– Unroll the filo pastry on to a dry board or plate. Cover it with a clean tea towel to stop it drying out.

– Remove one sheet of filo pastry and lay it out flat (you don’t need to use any flour). Brush the sheet lightly with melted butter. Lay another sheet of filo on top and brush that with melted butter. Continue until you have enough sheets prepared for your specific recipe. Four sheets is usually enough for most recipes and you should brush the top sheet with melted butter unless your recipe says not to.

– Now you can fold or shape or cut the filo to size.

– To make an attractive topping for a pie or tart brush sheets of filo or phyllo pastry with melted butter, scrunch a few sheets and lay them on top before baking.

Quick Filo Goat’s Cheese Tartlets

1. Oil a muffin tin. Brush melted butter on four sheets of filo pastry. Layer them on top of each other. Cut into squares to fit the muffin holes. Press the filo squares into the muffin holes, place a spoon of red pepper relish, marmalade, redcurrant jam or pesto in each filo cup and top with a generous piece of goat’s cheese or brie.  Finish by brushing the edges of the filo pastry with more butter.

2. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C/400C/Gas 6 until golden and bubbling (15-20 minutes).

– If you use a mini-muffin tin, they can take as little as 5-6 minutes to bake.

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