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I’ve been wanting to experiment with phyllo (or fillo or filo) forever, but never really got around to it.  So I bought a box of phyllo dough about two weeks ago without a clue what I was going to do with it.

I did some research, and most of the recipes with phyllo I found were for making baklava, phyllo cups with some kind of filling inside or turnovers.  Baklava seemed quite challenging in and of itself, and even more so considering I’d never even worked with this dough before.  Phyllo cups seemed maybe not quite challenging enough.  So turnovers looked like a good place to start experimenting.

Since making turnovers (at least these particular turnovers) is not a traditional baking process, I wanted to make them on my own without a recipe.  I looked at some chocolate turnover recipes online and found the process to be similar in each case, so I just took the same principles and applied them to my own turnovers (namely the baking time and length – the amounts of filling don’t need to be strictly measured.)

Ok so, working with the phyllo was…interesting to say the least.  It looks and feels like paper.  In fact, it’s just like working with tissue paper except it’s stiffer and less flexible.  It must be handled with extreme care and gentle fingers.  Basically just pretend like you’re disabling a bomb when peeling off the sheets and you’ll be golden.  The sheets become even more delicate when brushed with the melted butter.  And there are about a million and a half sheets in each roll, and my package came with two rolls!  If all phyllo dough packages are like this, you won’t need to buy it again for years probably.  But at least it’s stored in the freezer, as luck would have it.

After assembling the six sheets of buttered phyllo, I used a pizza cutter to cut the rectangle into four 2×2 squares, which were actually the exact size of a clothespin squared (since that’s what I used to measure.)  Then I placed a chocolate square and some chopped hazelnuts on each square, brushed some egg wash on the edges, folded it into a triangle and sealed the edges with my fingertips.

(*Note: I know, I know…my phyllo “square” in the picture is a rectangle, but later I trimmed it into a square.)

They’re baked on a sheet pan in a 325 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes.  And even though working with the dough is a bit of a hassle, the end result is totally worth it.  Biting into one yields the most amazing combination of textures and flavors…the buttery, flaky pastry; the rich, smooth chocolate with tiny nuts; the cold, sweet strawberry.  These all complement each other beautifully.  Chocolate and hazelnut naturally go together, as do chocolate and strawberries.  And how could you go wrong throwing some pastry into the mix!

Chocolate Hazelnut Turnovers with Strawberries

Makes 4

Ingredients

  • 6 sheets of phyllo
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 squares of chocolate (I used Lindt – my personal favorite – milk chocolate and Newman’s Own organic milk chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 4 strawberries
  • a few chocolate squares, melted (for drizzling, optional)
  • confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling, optional)

Directions

  • Melt the butter.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Peel off two sheets of phyllo and place on a flat surface.  Brush the top sheet lightly with butter.  Add two more sheets on top of the first two.  Lightly brush those sheets with butter.  Add two more sheets.
  • Cut into squares with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.  They must be perfect squares to end up with triangles.  (I got four 2×2 squares out of my sheets, but the size of the sheets may vary depending on the brand of phyllo.)
  • Finely chop the hazelnuts.  Add one square of chocolate and about two teaspoons of chopped hazelnuts to each square.  (Vary the amounts and proportions as you see fit.)
  • Make an egg wash with the egg and a little milk, cream or water.  Brush the edges of each square with the wash.  Fold the top left corner of the square down to match the bottom right corner.  Firmly seal the edges with your fingers.  Place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 5-8 minutes until they just start to brown.
  • Leave on baking sheet for a few minutes to cool.  Transfer to a plate and garnish with strawberries. (Drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and/or chopped hazelnuts if desired.)
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