Phyllo

Phyllo, filo, or fillo (Greek φύλλο 'sheet') dough or pastry is paper-thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough used for making pastries in Greek and Middle Eastern Cookery [ [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/phyllo phyllo - Definitions from Dictionary.com ] ] .

Phyllo dough is made with flour, water, and a small amount of oil. It is almost always used in multiple layers separated by melted butter. When these are baked, they become crispy and the result resembles puff pastry, though the method is very different, and they are generally not substituted for one another.

Phyllo is used in many of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire. The individual sheets are layered with butter and other ingredients, then baked to make flaky pies and pastries, including "baklava", "börek", "gözleme", "spanakopita", "tyropita" and "bstilla". Rolled out dough layers (made of starch) are also used for making "güllaç", a Turkish dessert mostly eaten in the holy month of Ramadan. Phyllo layers together with walnuts and rose water are placed one by one in warm milk. A similar Egyptian dessert is called Umm Ali.

In Turkish cuisine pastries prepared with phyllo are called "börek" , in Egyptian cuisine they are called "gollash", in Albanian cuisine they are called "byrek", in Austrian-German-Hungarian cuisine the dough is called Blätterteig and pastries made from phyllo are called strudel. In Bosnia, the word "burek" is only used for the pastries with meat and other kinds are called "pita". In Serbian language phyllo is called "kore" (plural) while the pastries have various names, depending on mode of preparation. In Bulgaria the dough is called "kori za banitsa" (pl.) and the generic name for the pastries is "banitsa", although there are special names for some specific kinds.

An early, thick form of phyllo appears to be of Central Asian Turkic origin.Mack, Glenn Randall & Surina, Asele. "Food Culture In Russia And Central Asia". Greenwood Press, 2005. [http://books.google.com/books?id=j7MTx_zcIR0C&pg=PA57&dq=yufka%2Bcentral%2Basian&sig=NNYxROhS3MVFXdvOdQ_-pHkTXgY "page 57"] ] As early as the 11th century, the "Diwan Lughat al-Turk", a dictionary of Turkic dialects by Mahmud Kashgari recorded pleated/folded bread as one meaning of the word "yuvgha", which is related to the word "yufka". The idea of stretching raw dough into paper-thin sheets is a later development, probably developed in the kitchens of the Topkapı Palace. [See the "baklava" article.]

Homemade phyllo takes time and skill. It requires progressive rolling and stretching of the dough to a single, thin and very big sheet, with continual flouring of its surface, which tends to break apart. A very big table and a long roller are used. Once finished, the phyllo is floured, folded, then used as desired. Most phyllo is made with wheat flour and water, but some dessert recipes call for egg yolks in addition. Machines for producing filo pastry were perfected in 1971. [ [http://www.athens.com/news/release.aspx?id=47 Press release from Athens Foods, Cleveland, OH] ] Nowadays phyllo is produced mostly by machine. Phyllo for domestic use is widely available from supermarkets, fresh or frozen.

Phyllo can be used in many ways: layered, folded, rolled, or ruffled, with various fillings. Some common varieties are:

* with apples: "Apfelstrudel"
* with cheese: called "Peynirli börek" in Turkey, "Burekas" in Israel, "Tyropita" in Greece, "Gibanica" in Serbia, standard "Banitsa" in Bulgaria
* with chicken: called "Tavuklu börek" in Turkish cuisine, "Kotopita" in Greek cuisine
* with vegetables: "sebzeli börek" (spinach, leek, eggplant, courgette etc.) in Turkish cuisine, "Chortopita" in Greek cuisine ("Prasopita" when filled with leeks)
* with meat: called "Kıymalı börek" or "Talas böreği" (with diced meat and vegetables) in Turkish cuisine, "Kreatopita" in Greek cuisine, Burek in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and elsewhere
* with nuts and syrup: "Baklava", "sütlü nuriye", "şöbiyet", "saray sarma" in Turkish cuisine
* with potatoes: called "Patatopita" in Greek cuisine, "Krompiruša" in Serbia, "Patatnik" in Bulgarian cuisine
* with powdered sugar on top
* with spinach and feta cheese: called "Ispanaklı börek" in Turkish cuisine, "Spanakopita" in Greek cuisine, "Spanachnik" in Bulgarian cuisine

"Su böreği" in Turkish cuisine consisting of boiled dough layers with cheese in between can be described as a salty version of baklava.

Some recipes also use an egg yolk glaze on top when baked, to enhance color and crispness.

In Western countries, filo is popularly used by South Asian immigrants to make samosas.

Bibliography

* Perry, Charles. "The Taste for Layered Bread among the Nomadic Turks and the Central Asian Origins of Baklava", in "A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East" (ed. Sami Zubaida, Richard Tapper), 1994. ISBN 1-86064-603-4.
* Lambraki Mirsini, Akın Engin, Aynı Sofrada İki Ülke, Türk ve Yunan Mutfağı, Istanbul 2003, ISBN 9754584842.

References

External links

* [http://www.baking911.com/pastry/phyllo.htm Baking911.com - "Phyllo dough recipes"]


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