I'm a newbie to puff pastry & fillo, so I'm starting with frozen. I have a package of each in the freezer, and want to make a dessert for New Year's Eve. What's the difference in how each is used? Is there a difference beyond shape?
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They are very different. Filo dough is very paper thin and is usually stacked with butter spread inbetween and cut to shape for use as tart shells or crusts for sweet or savory preps or as a layering separator, as in baklava. It tends to be crisp Puff pastry is a laminated butter/flour pastry that rises four times (at least) it's thickness when baked. It's used as a shell or tart crust and is great for turnovers, sweet or savory. It also makes great bread sticks pared with cheese and seasonings.
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In my hands puff pastry is much easier to work with. Filo tears really easily. If you're doing one or the other for NYE I'd vote on the puff to start with!
Thanks guys. This is helpful. I will go with the puff & see what happens. I mean how bad can it be? :-)
The quickest and easiest way to see and taste the difference is to make a chocolate purse from each dough.
Remove one sheet of phyllo from a thawed package (freeze the remainder), brush both sides with a film of melted butter and use a pizza wheel to cut a 1/4" strip from the short end of the dough, the cut the rest of it into 4" squares. Stack the squares, top with a 1" square of good chocolate or a small spoonful of ganache, pull the corners together and tie the bag shut with the 1/4" strip of dough. Bake it at 350 degrees F until very golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Now take a 4" square piece of thawed puff pastry (freeze the remainder), place a square of good chocolate or a spoonful of ganache in the center of it, bring the corners up and pinch them closed. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden and there are no visible puffs of raw dough, about 25 minutes.
Allow the purses to cool for 10 minutes before sampling them to see which you like best.
You could also make purses filled with jam or preserves or spinach and cream cheese for your taste test if you don't have chocolate.
I am making baklava for NYE, using phyllo, my second time. I got my husban to assist with the layering and butter-brushing. I'm not sure about puff, but with phyllo one needs to keep the sheets covered wigh a slighlly damp cloth so the don't get dry & break/rip/tear.