Puff pastry and phyllo (or filo) dough produce amazing appetizers, breakfast pastries, and decadent desserts. While you can get out your French rolling pin and make them yourself, you can also settle for the convenience of grabbing a package from the frozen food aisle. Both doughs are flaky and delicious, but they shouldn’t be used interchangeably.
Puff pastry is made by rolling out pastry dough and placing a pad of butter on top. Fold it over, and roll it out again. Repeat the process to create contrasting layers that produce a thick, flaky and airy pastry when baked. The buttery pastry, however, is high in calories and saturated fats. On the other hand, phyllo dough consists of paper-thin sheets of dough layered on top of each other, which gets crisp and flaky when baked. Mainly made of flour and water, phyllo dough is a healthier option than puff pastry.
Puff pastry is available in frozen sheets, cups or shells. Defrost in the refrigerator to make sure those butter layers stay nice and cold, and handle the dough as little as possible. Phyllo dough is available in frozen sheets or shells. The shells do not need thawing, but the sheets must be completely thawed before using. The dough will dry out quickly so immediately cover thawed phyllo with plastic wrap and a slightly damp towel. Baklava is probably the most famous dessert using phyllo dough, but with the addition of a lot of butter and sugar, it’s also not the healthiest! Search for recipes using these doughs online, and have fun creating the occasional pastry.
Spinach Artichoke Phyllo Cups (Printable PDF)
½ package (10 oz.) frozen spinach, thawed
3 oz. artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
⅓ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
24 frozen mini phyllo (filo) shells
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place phyllo shells on a baking sheet. Using a clean towel or paper towels, squeeze excess moisture out of spinach. In a medium bowl, stir spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic, pepper, salt, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, and mozzarella cheese until well blended. Fill each shell to the top (about 2 teaspoons filling). Bake in oven until filling is hot, about 5-8 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings, 3 cups each
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 90 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 200 milligrams sodium, 9 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 4 grams protein