Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No-Fear Phyllo Torte

Sorry to repeat this one, but a reader kindly pointed out that although I called for dill in the instructions, I forgot to mention the quantity in the recipe. It’s there now. Obviously, I still need an editor.

May 2009 162

When I saw this recipe in the New York Times last month, I knew I had to try it, but it’s got so much butter and cheese that I needed a group event before I’d dare make it and risk eating most of it myself. Fortunately, my Italian ladies chit-chat group - “le matte”  - provided just the opportunity.  The Greek-inspired offering for my Italian group was obviously meant to be, since Milena, another of Le Matte who hosted the gathering, had a platter of dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) on the table when I arrived. It was a perfect pairing of cultures and food.

Don’t let working with phyllo pastry scare you away. It’s not that difficult if you follow the directions and this recipe doesn’t even require you to butter the phyllo sheets individually. You’ll be rewarded with this gem of a dish if you do.  May 2009 150

 Phyllo and Feta-Ricotta Torte

1 pound Greek feta cheese, crumbled

3 cups cottage cheese (I used ricotta)

3 large eggs

1/3 fresh dill, minced

1/4 cup Romano cheese (I used Parmesan)

1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

1 1-pound box phyllo dough

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Greek honey, for serving (optional)

The day before making this, thaw the phyllo in the refrigerator. Then, when you go to bed at night, place the box on the counter at room temperature. I also took the extra step of refrigerating the ricotta cheese overnight in a sieve lined with cheesecloth with a weight on top. It might not be necessary, but at least 1/2 cup of liquid came out from the cheese.

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, combine feta, ricotta, eggs, dill, 2 T. Parmesan, the nutmeg and pepper and pulse to combine. (You can also use a large bowl and a fork). Mixture should be well combined, but still chunky, not smooth.

2. Butter a bundt pan. Sprinkle remaining 2 T. Parmesan into the pan. Drape a sheet of phyllo on top of bundt pan, poke a hole into phyllo where center tube is and push phyllo into pan to line it. Do this with another phyllo sheet, but place it perpendicular to first sheet. Continue adding phyllo sheets in this crisscross manner until all sheets are used. Don’t worry if it seems like an excessive amount of sheets. They will compress down and absorb all the butter that you’ll pour on top in the next step.

Here’s what it looks like when you’ve got all the sheets in place:

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3. Scrape cheese filling into pan, and fold edges of phyllo over filling. Using a sharp knife, poke many holes (at least 20) in dough that reach all the way to bottom of pan. Slowly pour melted butter over torte; some butter will seep through holes and some will remain on top of dough.

4. Place bundt pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until torte is puffy and golden brown and looks like this:

May 2009 135 5. Allow torte to cool in pan for 1 to 2 hours before inverting onto a plate and slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature, with honey if desired.

30 comments:

Christelle said...

Just the crust makes me drool!! That's so cruel... just before lunch!

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

beautiful! Looks so yummy!

doggybloggy said...

hello richness - this looks so good I bet the club loved it.

Stacey Snacks said...

You know I am the queen of tarts......you are killing me this a.m.
This is not allowed in my house, I don't have le matte coming to help me eat it!!!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Fantastic! That torte looks mighty delicious!

Cheers,

Rosa

Elra said...

Beautiful torte Linda. I like phyllo pastry a lot!

The Cooking Photographer said...

I'd like some of that for breakfast Linda. It has cottage cheese in it, I figured that's breakfast! Where's my coffee...

The Food Hunter said...

that looks awesome.

Digigirl said...

I love phyllo dough and this is a usage I haven't seen before. It is awfully indulgent, though. I wonder what else could be put inside there? I will have to ponder on this...

veggie wedgie said...

Wow! How creative!

Maryann said...

Now, THAT is a thing of beauty!

Marta said...

Well I'm glad you tried it and shared it with us!
I know what you mean about saving recipes for special events. I do that too. I have a couple of cakes that I'm just waiting for someone's birthday before I can justify making them!
I want a chit-chat group like yours, my Italian gets rustier by the day... I've started talking to myself in Italian, let's not tell anyone that ;)

Lori Lynn said...

That does sound great, glad you showed the photo of the phyllo in the bundt pan.
Like how you staged those photos too. Darling!
LL

Lisa said...

I love the way this looks. And the scallops too!

Helene said...

I love Phyllo, especially to make baklavas. I've missed that recipe from NY Times. It turned out really well.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Mmmmm...it does looks buttery and cheesy good, Linda! I like how you made it in a Bundt pan. Very pretty!

Selba said...

Wow.. it really looks so scrumptious!

Sue said...

Oh that looks fabulous....I love phyllo dough and never would have thought to use it in a bundt pan...the cheese filling sounds great but think of all the other possibilties....

Emily said...

Wow it's gorgeous! What presentation!

5 Star Foodie said...

Wow, a gorgeous phyllo torte! I would love a taste with some honey! Sounds so wonderful!

Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura said...

I'ts literally bursting with flavour !

Juliana said...

WOW, great looking torte. Could not have been better, my mouth is watering just to look at it. Nice pictures.

Bridgett said...

Your posts are so impressive and this one is just hands-down amazing. The look, the flavors used...everything. I love how phyllo is so easy to use but produces amazing results. Love this!

cathy said...

i'm inspired to use phyllo! i've always avoided it, but i think it's finally time to try it!

Nicole said...

That is a work of art! So beautiful. And I am sure it must taste as good as it looks.

Proud Italian Cook said...

This is brilliant Linda, again, I've never seen anything like this.
Your blog is like eye candy, love it!

Peter M said...

Linda, bravo...this looks fab and you learned one of the basics...phyllo loves butter...lots of it!

Rowena... said...

What an absolutely beautiful creation! I'm in awe especially over the use of a bundt pan as you would normally only expect to get a cake out of it.

Anonymous said...

You say to add DILL, but there is no DILL in your ingredient list.

Karen said...

This is beautiful! I would love to try it for a potluck. One problem -- I really don't like feta. Too salty for me. What about substituting another cheese? Gruyere? What do you think might be good? I know this would make it not Greek, but I really like the idea of the phyllo used this way, the cottage cheese and the parmesan.