What is phyllo dough?
They’re extraordinarily thin layers of pastry dough that crisp up when baked. Phyllo dough is traditionally used in recipes like spanakopita or baklava, but I use them in all kinds of recipes, ranging from appetizers to entrées to desserts.
What is the difference between phyllo dough and puff pastry?
Puff pastry and phyllo dough are different in composition but can be used in many complementary usages. As mentioned above, each sheet of phyllo dough is a paper thin layer of pastry that, when stacked and baked, transforms into earth shatteringly crispy pastry. This is due in part to very little fat being in the dough. It’s essentially just flour and water. No fat means that the dough dries out quickly when you work with it, which is why most recipes with phyllo dough recommend covering the pastry that you’re not using with a damp paper towel until needed.
Puff pastry, by contrast, has fat (aka: butter!). And lots of it! Layer after layer of butter and dough are folded on top of each other and then rolled out many times. Once baked, the dough separates (thanks to steaming!) and you see all those crispy layers begin to rise and pull apart.
How to thaw phyllo dough
Remove frozen phyllo dough from the box and place the sealed plastic container in a refrigerator overnight. Remove from fridge about 2 hours before using to allow the dough to come to room temperature.
If you’re in a bind, you can place frozen phyllo dough on a countertop and let it thaw quickly for a few hours, skipping the overnight rest in a fridge.
Either way, it is absolutely essential to allow phyllo dough to thaw completely before working with it. Otherwise it’ll crack and tear! No thanks!
Ingredients for phyllo-wrapped feta
- Phyllo dough sheets
- unsalted butter, melted
- block of Greek feta cheese
- fresh herbs, such as dill or thyme
- black and white sesame seeds
- sea salt flakes
- truffle honey
How to assemble
Working quickly, place one half sheet of phyllo dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the top lightly with melted butter, then immediately place another half sheet of phyllo on top. Repeat until you have 5 layers.
Add the block of feta in the middle of the stacked phyllo dough. Next, place a few sprigs of fresh herbs on top, such as dill or thyme. Fold the phyllo dough up and around the feta, wrapping it like a package. Turn over so the seam is facing down.
Brush with melted butter one final time, then bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Immediately drizzle the feta with truffle honey (or your favorite honey!), then sprinkle on sesame seeds and a few flakes of sea salt.
How long will this keep?
No question about it, cooked phyllo dough is always best when eaten day of. It does not hold up well in a fridge or on the counter overnight. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat any leftovers the next day, just know that it won’t be nearly as crispy.
Other flavor options
- In place of fresh herbs, spoon 1-2 Tbsp of your favorite jam on top of feta before wrapping and baking
- Add chopped sun dried tomatoes and basil in place of sesame seeds and truffle honey
- Leave as is, but serve phyllo-wrapped feta on top of creamed spinach for a dish reminiscent of spanakopita!
If you make Phyllo-Wrapped Feta with Truffle Honey, please let me know by leaving a review below!
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For other holiday appetizer ideas, check out the following recipes!
- Roasted grape crostini with whipped ricotta
- Spiced nuts
- Cherry tomato confit with garlic and shallots
- Baked pita bites with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and dill
- Baked brie phyllo cups
Phyllo-Wrapped Feta with Truffle Honey Recipe
- 5 half sheets of phyllo dough
- ½ stick unsalted butter melted
- 7 oz block feta
- fresh dill
- 1 Tbsp truffle honey or other honey
- ½ tsp sesame seeds
- ½ tsp black sesame seeds
- ½ tsp flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Working quickly, transfer 1 half sheet of phyllo dough to the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, quickly brush the phyllo with butter. Immediately place another sheet of phyllo dough on top, then brush with butter. Repeat until all 5 sheets of phyllo are stacked.
- Place block of feta in the center of the phyllo. Top with a few fresh sprigs of dill, then quickly and carefully fold the phyllo over the feta to create a packet.
- Turn the wrapped feta over so the seam side is facing down. Brush the top with melted butter, then bake for 25-30 minutes, or until phyllo is crispy and golden brown.
- Drizzle phyllo-wrapped feta with truffle honey, then sprinkle on sesame seeds and sea salt, then garnish with fresh dill. Serve immediately.