Few doughs are as popular for desserts or savory dishes as the buttery puff pastry. Another popular pastry mix is phyllo (sometimes spelled “filo”). You might recognize it from Middle Eastern recipes such as spanakopita and baklava.
Because of their similar appearances, you may wonder, “Can I substitute puff pastry for my Recipe?”. We will answer this question and explain the basics.
What is puff pastry?
Puff pastry is a French method of baking that uses chilled slab butter between layers of dough. The mixture is then rolled out flat and repeatedly folded in a process called “laminating”. As the pastry bakes, steam from the butter causes it to rise. The dough becomes crispy and golden brown.
Puff pastry is difficult to make from scratch due to its complicated preparation. However, there are many store-bought alternatives. You should not buy shortening if you are looking for puff pastry at the grocery store. Butter-based mixtures will make the dough taste completely different.
What is phyllo dough, you ask?
Filo dough, or phyllo dough, is a Middle Eastern and Greek pastry-making technique. The homemade phyllo layers are rolled out flat and then brushed with butter. Finally, stack the sheets on top of each other until you have a pile.
The filo pastry is baked until it turns golden brown and crispy. It can be used in different recipes, despite sharing similarities with puff pastry.
Is phyllo dough similar to puff pastry?
No. However, it is easy to distinguish between filo and puff pastry. These are the key differences:
- French-made puff pastry is a French invention. The recipe for phyllo dough is Middle Eastern and Greek.
- Puff pastry is made from a slab of chilled butter rolled flat and folded into a dough sheet. To make a flakier pastry, Phyllo brushes melted butter on each layer.
- Puff pastry is sold in one “sheet”, while Phyllo can be stacked in thin sheets between 5-10.
- To thaw phyllo dough takes 24 hours. Puff pastry can be thawed within an hour.
- Puff pastry rises faster, but Phyllo dough is crisper.
Good news! The good news? Both can be found at your local grocery store in pre-made versions.
How can you use phyllo dough in your kitchen?
These are some of the most delicious recipes:
Traditional Turkish pastry is made of flaky filo. Honey is drizzled on top and sometimes topped off with walnuts or pesos. It will take 1 hour to prepare and 1 hour and 15 minutes to cook.
This recipe requires:
- Three-quarter cup water
- One-half cup honey
- 1 package of phyllo dough
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 lb walnuts, finely chopped
This is the final step in this recipe.
- Follow the instructions on your package to thaw your phyllo dough.
- After it has thawed, you can cut it to fit your baking dish. Butter your pan, then add your dough.
- Combine honey, sugar, lemon zest, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to boil for four minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool.
- Mix the walnuts with cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Butter the baking pan by placing a phyllo sheet on it. Add another butter-spread sheet to the top. Repeat the process 10 times.
- Spread one-fifth of the nuts on top of the Phyllo.
- Continue the brushing-with-butter process to add five more layers of Phyllo. Layer another layer of nuts.
- You can repeat steps 6-7 more times with 10 layers of Phyllo as the top. This will give the baklava a flaky texture.
- Make diamond shapes from the pastry by cutting it into 1 1/2″ wide pieces.
- Bake at 325°F for one hour and fifteen minutes.
- Let cool honey be spooned over hot baklava. Then let it cool to room temp.