Filed Under: Recipes
|Photo l Marie DiFeliciantonio
|Buttered up and oven-ready
Very few desserts amount from my efforts in the kitchen. Though I love dessert, I reserve its consumption for visits to qualified professionals at restaurants and patisseries. However, I was recently thrust into the sugar-making milieu after friends volunteered soup, salad and quiche for an afternoon luncheon and only the final course was left to make. I figured something light would be appropriate for a mid-day snack, and while berries and whipped cream was my backup plan, I schemed for something a bit more challenging, but not painstaking, as a test of skills.
a dessert common to Middle Eastern and Greek cuisines. This crisp sweet is composed of shredded phyllo dough filled with nuts and honey rolled into a two-bite puff that looks like a large Frosted Mini Wheat. See my loosely translated, un-shredded, cream-filled rendition after the jump.
For the dough
1 package phyllo dough
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
Â¼ cup brandy
For the pastry cream
(adapted from Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America
Â¼ cup cornstarch
Â¾ cup sugar (divided: Â¼ cup, Â½ cup)
2 cups whole milk (divided: Â½ cup, 1 Â½ cups)
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 pinch salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. unsalted butter (divided: 2 tbsp. solid, 1 tbsp. melted)
Prepare an ice bath. Preheat the oven to 400Â°.
Combine cornstarch with Â¼ cup sugar then stir in Â½ cup milk. Blend in egg yolks.
In a nonreactive saucepan, combine 1 Â½ cups milk with Â½ cup sugar and the salt over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
Temper the egg mixture and the saucepan mixture, whisking constantly. Return combined mixture to medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened (about 5-7 minutes).
Remove from heat and stir in 2 tbsp. butter and vanilla extract. Place pastry cream in the ice bath. Once pastry cream is cooled, add chopped dates, pecans and brandy to pastry cream filling.
Stack 2-3 sheets of phyllo on plastic wrap. Cut the sheets into 3â strips. Brush the edge of the strips with melted butter then spread a tablespoon of filling down the center, leaving about 1â on each side. Starting from the end closest to you, begin to roll away from you. Pinch ends closed and brush all sides with melted butter.
Place puffs, seams down, on a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil sprayed with non-stick. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Set to cool slightly, but these should be served warm.