The magic of phyllo

You can wrap just about anything up in phyllo dough, brush it with oil or butter and bake for a tasty treat. Sweet, savory – it doesn’t matter. It might look difficult, but if you ever folded paper footballs in class – that’s the same technique for folding a phyllo-filled triangle, anyone can do it!  It is a bit time-consuming, but most phyllo items can also be frozen after folding, for a quick appetizer in a pinch. Just be sure to set them in one layer on waxed paper or foil until frozen – otherwise they may stick together and that just makes a mess when you have to pull them apart. Add a little more baking time from frozen and you’re good to go! 

Spanakopita (spinach-filled phyllo) is perhaps the most popular of these that you’ll see as a party appetizer. The filling is typically made of spinach and feta, and often flavored with dill. In Moroccan culture, similar filled phyllo pastries are called briouat. Actually, they traditionally use a pastry called brik or warka, but you can’t get that in the U.S. very easily so phyllo is a good substitute.

This variation is a fairly simple briouat filling of egg and herbs.  I sauteed minced onion in a non-stick pan until translucent, then added fresh chopped parsley and cilantro, a pinch of saffron threads and cinnamon. After the spices and onion had cooked for another couple of minutes, I slowly stirred in beaten eggs over low heat to mix into the other ingredients and gently scramble. As soon as the eggs firmed up, I removed the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.

When the filling was cool, I used it to fill the pastry and folded to make triangles. I sealed the edges with canola oil and used that also to brush the tops lightly before baking.  They bake for about 20 minutes at 350 or until nicely browned.  

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