Savory Phyllo Pastries
Credit: Ben Fink
MAKES ABOUT 20
If your feta is very sharp, soak it in cold water in the refrigerator for a day before using.
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1/2 lb. feta
1/2 lb. mild brick cheese, monterey jack,
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 1-lb. package fresh or thawed frozen phyllo dough
1. Position oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350º. Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. To make the filling, grate feta, then brick cheese, on the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Add egg and milk, mix well, and set aside.
2. Using a pastry brush, lightly butter a 12" x 9" sheet pan with some of the melted butter. Unwrap phyllo and carefully separate top sheet of phyllo from stack and lay it flat in prepared pan. Quickly cover phyllo stack with a clean, damp dish towel to keep sheets from drying out. Brush phyllo in pan with some of the melted butter. Remove a second sheet of
phyllo from stack, lay over the first, and brush with more of the butter. Repeat process, keeping stack of phyllo covered and warming butter over low heat if it begins to thicken, until half the phyllo, about 14 sheets, has been used.
3. Spread filling evenly over buttered phyllo, leaving a 1" border around edges. Continue layering as in step 2, using up the remaining phyllo. Brush top with the remaining butter. Use a sharp knife to cut pastry into 3" squares, down to bottom of pan. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Variation—For spinach boereg, melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium high heat and saute 1 large chopped peeled onion until golden, 5-8 minutes. Squeeze out excess water from one 10-oz. packaged thawed frozen spinich, add to skillet, season to taste and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until moisture evaporates, 5-8 minutes. Set asid to cool; stir in 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill. Add spinich mixture to fillling in 1, omitting egg and milk, and proceed with recipe.