In this recipe, butter-brushed layers of paper-thin phyllo pastry are filled with spinach and cheese, then baked until the turnovers are shatteringly crisp and the cheese oozes inside.
Sounds pretty good, doesnít it?
If you havenít worked with phyllo dough before, know this: It dries out very, very quickly. To keep it supple, thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator and donít open the package until just before youíre ready to work with it. Use a damp, wrung-out towel to keep it covered while you are preparing the pastries.
1. Make the filling: Cook the spinach with a little water in a big, covered pot, just until the spinach wilts. Drain it, rinse lightly and let it cool. Use your hands to squeeze out nearly all the liquid. Chop the spinach and put it in a bowl. Grate the cheddar on the large holes of a hand-held grater or in a food processor. Add cheddar, eggs, dill and pepper to the spinach and mix well.
2. Get equipment and ingredients ready: Melt butter. Assemble the following: pastry brush; sharp knife; a dampened, wrung-out cotton towel; one or two baking sheets (can be lined with parchment paper or not); the filling; melted butter; and phyllo dough.
3. Prepare the turnovers: Open the box of phyllo dough and carefully unfold the roll of dough onto a large work surface. Youíll be working in batches of 4 or 5 sheets of dough at a time; each batch will form four turnovers. The sheets are very delicate and may rip, but donít be concernedóyou are creating layers that will be folded up and the rips will be hidden. Itís good to work quickly, as the dough dries out very quickly, but you can also buy time by placing the wrung-out towel over the exposed stack of dough while you fold up each batch.
For each batch, pull off two sheets of the dough and place them with the long edges facing you on the work surface. Lightly brush the surface all over with butter (you donít need to cover every inch, however). Pull off a third sheet, place over the others and brush again with butter. Do this once or twice more, for a total of four to five sheets.
Cut the brushed layers vertically into four wide, equal-sized strips. Place 2 or so heaping tablespoons of filling near the bottom of each strip. Now fold up each strip like a flag: starting at the bottom near the filling, fold the dough over the filling to form a triangle and continue to fold the triangle back and forth up the strip to end up with a filled turnover. Brush each turnover very lightly with butter and transfer it to a baking sheet.
Continue this process until all the filling is used up. At this point, they can be baked immediately, covered tightly and refrigerated, or frozen.
4. To bake: Heat oven to 375 degrees. If turnovers have been frozen, thaw them partially before baking. Bake turnovers until they are golden brown, 20-30 minutes.
Copyright by Terese Allen