Nuts and fruits are common additions to baklava and other filo plots.
Filo parcels are small triangles or packets of filling fitted into filo, also known as puff pastry or fillo, pastry. Filo dough is very thin and multiple layers are typically used in creating a filo package. The filling can be savory or sweet and pastries are popular in Mediterranean, Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisine.
The Greek word phyllo means “leaf” in English. Filo dough is made from wheat flour, water, a little oil and white vinegar or a little raki, the Greek version of Italian grappa. The flour is mixed first with the oil and vinegar and then water is added as needed. The dough should be elastic, soft and flexible. The dough is then rolled and stretched until it becomes a large paper-thin sheet. If handmade, the sheets will likely be thicker than store-bought ones. A pasta machine can also be used.
Chopped spinach and filo pastry are used to make the tasty Greek spanakopita.
Once the desired thickness is achieved, filo packs can be made. As dough dries quickly, any dough not being worked on should be covered with parchment or parchment paper and a clean, slightly damp dish towel. Most filo parcel recipes call for the sheets to be layered after brushing in margarine or melted butter.
After the filo pastry layer, it’s time to cut into the desired shapes and add the filling. Filo triangles stuffed with feta cheese and spinach, known as spanakopita in Greece, are a favorite, but pockets can be filled with just about any filling, sweet or savory. Fruits, tofu, cheeses, meats and vegetables are also possible fillings. To make a triangle, the buttered layered dough is cut along the long edge into 6 cm strips. The stuffing is placed at the bottom and folded as if you were folding a flag. By the time the other end of the strip is reached, the filling has already been wrapped in several folds of dough. This is then brushed with butter and cooked until golden.
Baklava is probably the most famous pastry baked in filo pastry. It can be roasted in a whole pan or with chopped nuts, usually pistachios or walnuts, and the cinnamon can be wrapped in filo packets and soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup after cooking. Small strudels can also be made with fruits like pears and apples. Filo packets can be eaten hot or cold and are commonly used in Greece as snacks, appetizers, and lunch box fillers. Larger spanakopites or tiropitas made with cheese are popular snacks.