Phyllo – a wonderful ingredient for sweet and savoury pastries: recipe-Enlightened Sweet Potato and Green Pea Samosas

Photo courtesy of Krinos Canada

Photo courtesy of Krinos Canada

Phyllo, filo or fillo – however you spell it- is an amazing ingredient for making lighter pastry options. Look for it in the freezer at your local supermarket.

One sheet has under 50 calories and one gram of fat. But if you slather it with butter or oil, obviously the calorie and fat counts can soar. Brushing it with egg white, instead, is a simple way to make the dough flaky without using the added fat.

If you have never worked with phyllo before, don’t be intimidated. Just be sure to keep the sheets you’re not using covered with a damp tea towel.

From my book, The Enlightened Eater’s Whole Foods Guide (Viking Canada), here’s a savoury treat  that’s traditionally  deep-fried and laden with fat.  Unbaked pastries freeze well and can be baked from the frozen state. Simply freeze them on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet until frozen solid. Once they’re frozen, remove them from the freezer and store in a container, using wax or parchment paper between the triangles. Return to the freezer. Bake at a lower temperature- 350°F/180°C for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

Serve with a mango chutney.

Enlightened  Sweet Potato and  Green Pea  Samosas

2 teaspoons (10 mL)  vegetable oil
2  teaspoons   (10 mL)  ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL)  turmeric
1cup  (250 mL)  chopped onion
3 cloves  garlic, minced
1 tablespoon (15 mL)  grated ginger
1/8  teaspoon  (1mL)  chili pepper flakes
2  medium sweet potatoes (about  1 pound/ 500 g),  peeled and  diced into 1/4-inch/1-cm pieces
1/2 cup (125 mL)  water
1 1/2  cups (325 mL)  green peas
1/4 cup (50 mL)  chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper
10  sheets phyllo dough
2 egg whites, beaten

To prepare filling:
Heat oil in  the   skillet over medium  heat;   add cumin and tumeric and heat stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn them. Add onion, garlic, ginger  and chili pepper  and sauté until soft, about  5-  8 minutes. Add sweet  potatoes, pinch of  salt and   water. Simmer over medium low heat for 15 minutes. Add green peas and stir; cook another 10 minutes   or until tender.     Remove from heat and stir in chopped coriander season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Set aside and let cool.

To prepare pastries:

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying with vegetable oil spray.

Place one sheet of phyllo dough on work surface. (Keep remainder covered with a damp towel to prevent drying.) Brush sheet with egg white. Top with second sheet and brush with egg white.  Cut into lengthwise strips about 2 1/2 inches/ 6 -cm wide.

Place a scanty tablespoon of the   vegetable   mixture at one end of each phyllo strip. Fold to form a triangle. Continue folding and making a triangle shape.  Place on prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough and  vegetable  mixture. Brush the triangles well  with the egg white. Bake for  15 – 20 minutes, or until golden and crispy.  Watch carefully so that they do not burn. Serve warm.

Can be reheated.

Makes  30  pastries

Per serving nutritional information:
Calories: 39
Protein:    1 gram
Fat:    1 gram
Saturated fat:  less than 1 gram
Carbohydrate:  7  grams
Fibre:   1 gram
Sodium: 60 milligrams

I will post some dessert recipes using phyllo in the coming weeks.

Have you worked with phyllo? Does it intimidate you? What are your favourite pastries?

Tags: , , ,

Categories: Recipes

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

Get Enlightened Eater in your inbox

Subscribe to get the latest nutrition news, fresh recipes and more!

3 Comments on “Phyllo – a wonderful ingredient for sweet and savoury pastries: recipe-Enlightened Sweet Potato and Green Pea Samosas”

  1. katie
    January 2, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

    I made these using egg whites on the phyllo and it does not work. My phyllo appetizers were ruined. The Greeks use the whole egg or olive oil for the phyllo pastry to crisp up and bake through nicely. Stick with using olive oil…the authentic way.

    • katie
      January 2, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

      I made these using egg whites on the phyllo and it does not work. My phyllo appetizers were ruined. The Greeks use the whole egg or olive oil for the phyllo pastry to crisp up and bake through nicely. Stick with using olive oil…the authentic way

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: