Puff pastry days are over

Gone are the days when most canapés would traditionally have been made with either a puff or short crust pastry, but the time has come to bring a bit of glamour to your table and start thinking about dough in a new way. I have been experimenting with all different types of crusts and bases recently.Replace butter with yoghurt.Pie pastry dough made with olive oil bakes up surprisingly crispy and light, without a hint of oiliness. I recently made a pie crust recipe with vegetable shortening which was light and flakey.People are expanding their horizons, seeking new alternatives for their pies, tartlets and quiche bases - pastries such as phyllo. Phyllo is a versatile and healthy alternative to other types of dough, and is now used across the culinary board, developing far beyond the traditional baklava or spanakopita.Flaky and delicious, phyllo (also spelled filo or fillo) is delicate and can be used for appetizer and dessert recipes. It’s composed of many tissue-thin sheets of dough that, unlike puff pastry, have very little fat and at this time of year when were all trying to squeeze into our bodycon party creations thats not such a bad thing.
Phyllo dough has been with us for hundreds of years and was first developed in Istanbul, despite the assumption that it originated in Greece, as it is commonly used in their dishes, indeed the word phyllo is actually Greek, meaning “leaf”. It was originally used by chefs in the kitchens of the Topkapi Palace to make dishes for the sultan. The Greeks then adopted this pastry and adapted it to create the modern extremely paper-thin version we know today. Until 1946 phyllo was always made and rolled out by hand, where master artisan bakers would spend hours pressing and stretching the dough into its signature sheet. Then in 1946 Le Conie Stiles invented the phyllo stretching machine, allowing the production of pastry to reach a much larger commercial scale. Although chefs do still make their own phyllo by hand, this ready-made pastry enables those who do not have either the time, or ability, to enjoy experimenting with their own baking creations.Make sure you always have a packet in the fridge at all times.
makes 4
1- 2 rectangular filo sheets, depending on the size of your sheets
Leaves from 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
60 gms / 4 tbsp butter melted
125 gms / 5 oz. soft goat’s cheese
4 tsp honey

Cut the filo sheet in half lengthways, and in half crossways to make 4 rectangles measuring approximately 15x20 cm (6”x8”).
Brush the rectangles generously with butter, ensuring that about 1 tbsp is saved to brush the tops.
Sprinkle some thyme leaves along the long length of each pastry rectangle and fold it in to encase it. Crumble some goat’s cheese in a line along the opposite short side of the pastry. Starting at the goats cheese end, roll the pastry once over the goats cheese and carry on rolling all way to the thyme, sealing the join.
Repeat the process to make 4 rolls.

Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and brush once more with the remaining butter. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C – 355°F for 15-20 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Serve immediately with a drizzle of honey on top.


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