Help for the 24th - Cooking with Phyllo

Hi All,

My sis-in-law is due on December 31, and as a result, we’ve decided to have a very low key Christmas instead of traveling down to my parent’s place. Since I’m not pregnant, and the only other relative in the same town as my brother, I’ve volunteered to cook dinner. I am doing a non-traditional Christmas dinner, with a selection of appies. Since I never get a chance to cook for a large group, I thought I would have some fun. I’ve modified a recipe I found online, and I’m making chicken cordon blue stuffed phyllo pasteries. However, I have never cooked with phyllo. I’ve read all the instructions online, but can’t seem to find an answer to this one question.

I know I can prepare the filling in advance, because it should be cool and not damp when I put it in the phyllo. But, once I have rolled the filling into the phyllo sheets, can I refrigerate them for a few hours before cooking, or do they need to go into the oven right away? Any other tips?

Thank you in advance! :slight_smile:

You sure can but put them in a covered container so they don’t get dripped on. It’s common to put them in for 30 minutes or so to firm up but you can even get away with a day in advance.

Come to think of it, look at these ready made ones you can buy in Australia at Lenard’s Chickens that you then take home to cook.

Other tips - baking paper. I swear by it, saves greasing the cooking tray and nothing ever sticks. Although I do my pastry on baking paper on a pizza stone.

You can chill them for a while, as long as they’re not too juicy.

BTW, I’d love to see that recipe!!!

Hmm I’ve done a lot of cooking with phyllo, and I sure wouldn’t let them sit in the fridge for more than, say, 30 minutes. Phyllo is very finicky, and unless your filling is totally dry, it’ll muck up the layers pretty quickly.

The trick to phyllo is keeping it at the right humidity. When you’re making the cordon bleus, spread the phyllo on the counter and cover with a slightly damp (not wet) towel. Work quickly so the phyllo doesn’t dry out.

Also - and this is perhaps more important than the above - make sure you 1) get phyllo that’s not really old and 2) let it thaw in the fridge or on the counter overnight before you use it. I’ve had grocery stores that rarely sold their phyllo, so the boxes in the freezer were a couple years old and hopelessly dried out. Also, if you forget to thaw it, it’s unusable. I’ve never been able to successfully “quick-thaw” it.

Thank you** Athena, Baker** and Don’t Ask. I didn’t have a chance to check in before I cooked, but I used your tips and it worked like a charm. The dish was a smashing success!

Baker, here’s the recipe… it’s a bastardized version of Chicken Cordon Bleu, in my family we prefer it with swiss cheese and we add mushrooms to the mix, so I suppose it’s not a cordon bleu at all :slight_smile:

The night before:

8 chicken breasts diced
Diced ham (a slice from the deli about 1/8 inch thick)
Diced mushrooms (4 large stuffer style, since that is what I had)
Fry in olive oil with 2 cloves diced garlic and a some italian herbs (I guestimated, not sure how much I used)

The day off:

Shred a mound of mozzarella cheese.
Take two phyllo sheets together, cut in half. Store 1 half under a wet cloth. Working quickly, use a pastry brush to butter the phyllo sheet. Put some shredded mozza and a handful of the mixture onto the sheet. Add more mozza on top, fold ends and roll. Do the same with the other half of the phyllo sheet. Brush some more butter on top and bottom of the roll and place on baking pan. Sprinkle with shredded mozza. Repeat until the mix is gone. I had nine rolls of a good size when I was done.

Bake at 350 until golden brown - took me about 30 minutes.

Thanks again for the advice!