Filo is paper thin dough available in major grocery stores and Middle Eastern specialty shops. It is used in making my favorite dessert baclava. Filo can also be used to make other pastries and also appetizers and main dishes.
Filo comes in 1 pound packages, about 16 - 20 sheets to the pound. Each sheet is approximately 12" by 18", but shrinks a little when baked. Because it is so thin, it is fragile, and can be hard to work with. I have found Fantis brand to be more reliable than Apollo brand, though Apollo publishes a filo cookbook which you can get for $2.99 at:
Award Winning Fillo Dough Recipes 13600 Snow Road Cleveland, Ohio, 44142
Filo is kept frozen in the grocery store. The best way to prepare it for use is to thaw it in the frig for at least two hours (overnight is better), then at room temperature for 30 minutes.
When making baclava or strudel or one of the recipes below, filo and melted butter are layered, which when baked forms a crispy flaky pastry. It takes about a half a pound of butter (two sticks) to each pound (pkg) of filo. Here's how: Butter the baking sheet, then place two sheets of filo in baking sheet. Spread a tablespoon of melted butter over filo. I use a small pizza roller to spread it evenly, working from the center out. Actually, I melt the butter in the cover of a butter dish and dip the roller directly in the melted butter - it takes three times to cover a sheet. Repeat two sheets filo and butter until half of the filo is used. (Most recipes call for butter between every sheet of filo, but I find it just as tasty and much crispier with half the butter. Face it, calories aren't the issue if you're making this in the first place, but more butter is not better here.) Then spread out the filling over the filo. Add filo and butter again to make the top layer. Cut before baking with sharp thin knife using a sawing motion. You don't need to cut all the way to the baking sheet. Bake at 325F for about an hour. Some recipes call for pouring syrup over the hot pastry.
Besides baclava, Other fillings can be used.
Ingredients 12 oz chocolate chips 1 stick butter 1/2 cup flour 1 cup sugar 3 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 2/3 cup ground almonds 1/3 cup cracked almonds Syrup 2/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup water cinnamon stick Procedure Melt chips and butter. Add all other ingredients save 1/3 cup almonds. Use as filling in filo pastry. Sprinkle 1/3 cup cracked almonds on top. Cut and bake as usual. Make syrup and pour over hot pastry.
Ingredients 2 pints frozen raspberries 1/2 cup sugar 2 Tbl tapioca 1 Tbl corn starch Procedure Separate pulp from liquid. Save liquid! Combine pulp, sugar, tapioca, and let sit 15 minutes. Use as filling in 1/2 pkg filo pastry. (Spread out half the dough, put filling on one side of it, then fold it over.) Cut and bake as usual. Separate seeds from liquid Add corn starch. Heat to a boil to thicken. Serve over baked pastry.