recently i have been experimenting the delights and simultaneous evils of filo dough. it makes delightful dishes. half of the time i use it, i goes wonderfully. the other half of the time, the stuff tears all over the place and sticks together. yet, worth it every time.
there are several bulgarian dishes that are made with filo dough, so this fall i created a recipe for my new favorite bulgarian breakfast/dessert - pumpkin banitza.
1 (16oz.) can pumpkin puree
1/2 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
16 sheets filo dough, thawed
preheat to 400 degrees. mix pumpkin, sugar, pecans and cinnamon. stack two sheets of filo dough ad brush lightly with melted butter. (i orginally used a brush - i gave up - my fingers work so much better!) spoon out a 1/2 inch strip of filling along the long side of the dough, leaving about an inch or less free on the ends and the side of the dough. fold in the bottom edge first, then the sides, then gently roll it away from yourself until you have a tight roll. brush the top with more melted butter. repeat with the rest of the dough. place rolls on the pan (cookie sheet of any form, very lightly sprayed). bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown. place under the broiler for just a moment to crisp the tops. eat warm or at room temperature. so yummy! thank you bulgaria!
secondly, my friend kevin celebrates his birthday every year with a little holiday he's titled "pie-tacular!" he has everyone bring pies and then he gets to try all of them and then vote on his favorites. top honors always go to his wife who makes his favorite, pecan pie. last year i brought a peppermint pie and received some form of award. this year was very exciting for me, as i tied for second and won a lovely pie server - a kitchen tool i didn't own! even better than the honors was the rave reviews i got all night. i decided to go 'non-traditional' and make "pie-lettes." i made white chocolate hazelnut tarts. they were from a delicious treat by giada delaurentis - a family favorite from the food network. they were fancy but so worth it! i was going to show pictures of these, but i forgot and all i have to show for my success is a pie server and a completely empty mini-muffin tin!
white chocolate hazelnut tarts
8 frozen phyllo pastrysheets, thawed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, and finely chopped
1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
1 (3-ounce) bar bittersweet chocolate, grated, for garnish
preheat the oven to 375 degrees. lay 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface. brush the phyllo with melted butter. top with another phyllo sheet. repeat with more butter and 2 more phyllo sheets. cut the stacked phyllo sheets into 12 squares. line each mini-muffin cup with 1 stacked phyllo square, allowing the edges to ruffle and extend above the cup rims. repeat with the remaining 4 phyllo sheets and melted butter. bake until the phyllo cups are golden brown, about 7 minutes. transfer the muffin pan to a cooling rack and cool completely.
meanwhile, stir the white chocolate and 1/4 cup cream in a heavy small saucepan over low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth. pour into a large bowl and cool to barely lukewarm. stir in the hazelnuts. using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in another large bowl to medium-firm peaks. fold the cream into the white chocolate mixture in 2 batches. cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
put nutella into a small ziplock bag and snip corner. squeeze a small amount into each phyllo cup. put white chocolate mousse into a large ziplock and snip corner. pipe into each cup, mounding it at the top. sprinkle grated chocolate on top over the mousse.