When it’s not ripping and breaking, or tearing and fraying, phyllo dough can be quite a treat.
Phyllo dough is paper-thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough, most typically found in Mediterranean cuisine. Indeed, the dough is most often associated with spanakopita and baklava – but little else. Which is perhaps why one of the leading producers of the dough has a running contest involving phyllo.
Always a sucker for a good recipe contest, I submitted this entry to the contest, taking inspiration from my vanilla mashed sweet potatoes, and the traditional spanakopita, or spinach pie (hence the clever names). Interestingly enough, the Bulgarian dish, Tikvenik, bears a passing resemblance to my yamakopita.
Sweet Potato “Pie” or Yamakopita
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 8 Sweet Potato “Pies”
WHAT TO GRAB:
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
2/3 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
6 to 8 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 package of phyllo dough
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, toasted pecans, cream, vanilla, and salt. Mix well, until fully combined.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Place one sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface with the long end in front of you. With a wide brush, lightly butter the dough and sprinkle it with about a teaspoon of sugar. Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough directly on top of the first. Butter and sugar the second layer, and repeat with two more layers of phyllo dough.
4. Once you have four layers of neatly stacked phyllo dough, cut the sheets in half, vertically. Place 1/3 cup of the sweet potato filling at the bottom of each sheet and roll the phyllo up diagonally to make a triangle (as if folding a flag) (see here). Fold the triangle of phyllo over straight, then diagonally, continuing the pattern until you reach the end of the sheet and the filling is completely enclosed. Continue assembling the phyllo layers and folding the filling until there is no more filling. You should have eight triangles.
5. Place the triangles on a baking sheet. Lightly brush the tops with the melted butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve warm!