Monday, November 14, 2016

Spread holiday cheer

with festive recipes that will warm up your guests this season

A delectable blend of goat cheese, walnuts and fresh figs makes these Fig-Filled Phyllo Pouches perfect appetizers for winter holiday celebrations.

Fig-Filled Phyllo Pouches


8 ounces soft mild goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
20 sheets Athens® Fillo Dough (9”x14”), thawed
15 fresh figs, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese and walnuts, mixing well.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter with oil over medium heat. Layer 4 phyllo sheets, brushing each with the butter–oil mixture. Cut six, 4-inch squares from phyllo stack. Place 1 fig half in center of square. Squeeze figs open and stuff with two generous teaspoons of goat cheese filling. Drizzle lightly with vinegar. Brush phyllo from edge of filling to each point of square lightly with water. Gather points of square and pinch together just above filling. Brush pouch with butter–oil mixture. Repeat process 4 times to make 30 pouches.

Place filled pouches at least 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake in preheated 350ºFoven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield: 30 small pouches

Surprise your guests with dessert in a glass! These orange dark chocolate and cream Cannoli Martini Desserts make festive and fun holiday treats.  

Cannoli Martini Dessert


2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon light cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup confectioners sugar (adjust to taste)
1 1/2 bars 3.5 oz. Lindt Intense Orange dark chocolate
10 sheets Athens® Fillo Dough (9" x 14"), thawed
1 stick margarine
1 ounce Vino Cotto di Montillo (optional)

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the ricotta cheese, light cream, vanilla and confectioners sugar. Cover the ricotta mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

On a small plate, grate 4 to 5 chocolate squares.

In a small saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat. Place the phyllo dough on a dry work surface. Place the first phyllo sheet onto the work surface. Brush melted butter evenly over the entire surface. Brushing from the edges to the center to prevent cracking. Repeat stacking and brushing until you have ten sheets of phyllo.

With a sharp knife cut the buttered phyllo dough stack into four rectangles. Transfer the phyllo to an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 375ºF oven. Every 10-15 minutes remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Using a spatula, flip each stack of phyllo to evenly cook the dough. It's alright if pieces crumble during this step. Repeat this step until the phyllo dough becomes deep, golden brown and crispy. Some phyllo pieces will become crispier sooner than others. Remove these so they won't burn, place them into a bowl and set aside.

If the center of each stack of phyllo isn't browning up, split each stack in half using a fork or butter knife. Lay the uncooked side facing upward on top of the other sections and place it back in the oven to brown. Keeping each stack of phyllo in tact is not necessary. The goal is to brown it up.

When the phyllo dough appears light, crispy and dark golden brown all over, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow the phyllo to completely cool at room temperature. Important: Do not refrigerate baked phyllo, as it will soften. Place all cooled phyllo into a large freezer bag. Using a rolling pin, crumble the phyllo into small pieces. If there are any pieces of phyllo that aren't brittle enough to crumble, remove them.

Serve in a 6-ounce martini glass. Fill the bottom half of the glasses with crumbled phyllo pieces. (If using Vino Cotto, drizzle about 1 teaspoon over the phyllo pieces.) Next, sprinkle a thin layer of grated chocolate over the phyllo pieces. Spoon the chilled ricotta mixture over the grated chocolate leaving about a 1/2-inch space from the top of each martini glass. Sprinkle another thin layer of grated chocolate over the ricotta mixture. To garnish, insert one chocolate bar square at an angle into the ricotta mixture. Serve immediately.

Yield: 5-6 servings

1. Allow fillo dough to thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.
2. Carefully unroll fillo sheets onto a smooth, dry surface.
3. Cover fillo completely with plastic wrap, then a damp towel.
4. Keep fillo covered until needed. Do not leave uncovered for more than one minute to avoid drying out.
5. Microwave butter until melted. This will give you a lighter and flakier pastry.
6. Brush each layer of fillo with melted butter, margarine or oil.
7. To prevent edges from cracking, brush edges first and then work into center.
8. Be sure to brush the last layer of fillo with melted butter.
9. Fillings should be chilled and not excessively moist.
10. Fillo may be rolled and refrozen to store when not in use.

No comments: