Phyllo dough can be difficult to work with but just about any Greek pastry recipe can be made with puff pastry turning it into a delicious Greek puff pastry recipe.
Phyllo Dough & Puff Pastry
Phyllo dough is paper-thin dough made from a mixture of flour, water, and just a touch of oil. Phyllo is generally used in multiple layers because a single sheet would not be strong enough to hold any filling.
Puff pastry, on the other hand, tends to be much thicker. While a pastry made with phyllo dough gets its delicate layers from actual layers of delicate pastry sheets, puff pastry gets its layers from folding the dough with a block of butter.
Here's how it works: first, a dough is made with flour, butter, and cream. This dough is allowed to chill while a block of butter is rolled out and allowed to come to room temperature. Then the dough is rolled out and the butter block is placed in the center. The dough is then folded three times, rolled out, and let to chill. This is repeated at least six more times. While it is entirely possible to do this at home, it is really a project that consumes a lot of time and can be tedious, which is why only professional bakeries do this. Professional bakeries will also have a sheeting machine that rolls out the dough. Everybody else in world uses pre-made puff pastry dough. The pre-made stuff is just as good and sometimes even comes cut in squares that just need to be filled and baked. Believe me, I'm a professional baker and I say that there is no loss of honor if you use the pre-made puff pastry dough.
Greek Puff Pastry Recipes
Most Greek puff pastry recipes that call for savory ingredients like meat or vegetables will ask you to use a Greek spice mix. You can make your own using this recipe:
Greek Spice Mix
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch (to keep the mix from clumping)
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 beef bouillon cube, crushed
- 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Mix all ingredients well.
- Store in an air tight container.
- Four squares of puff pastry, about four inches each side, thawed
- 2 ounces kalamari olives chopped
- ¼ red onion, diced
- 4 ounces of any waxy potato (new red potatoes work well), peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 ½ tablespoon of Greek spice mix
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 egg beaten
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix everything except the egg in a large bowl.
- Place ¼ of the mixture in the center of each puff pastry square.
- Brush the edges of the squares with the beaten egg.
- Fold over and press with a fork to seal.
- Poke a few holes in the top of the pastry to let air out.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let cool.
- Eight squares of puff pastry, about 3 inches per side, thawed
- 8 ounces of baby spinach
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 6 ounces of feta cheese
- 1 egg, well beaten
- 1 tablespoon of fresh dill, chopped
- Ground black pepper
- Olive oil for brushing
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Drop the spinach into boiling salted water for one minute.
- Drain the spinach and rinse under very cold water.
- Finely chop the spinach.
- Mix the spinach with the scallions, feta, egg, and dill.
- Place a generous tablespoon of the mixture in the center of each puff pastry square.
- Moisten the edges of the pastry with a pastry brush dipped in water.
- Fold the pastry in half to form little triangles.
- Brush with olive oil.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.