Kritiko Phylo

Cretan Phyllo

THIS CRUNCHY phyllo has a pleasing texture similar to that of a thin biscuit, which it retains as it cools. When fried, tiny bubbles form in the pastry, making it crispy, almost like a rustic puff pastry. The soft and pliable dough can be easily rolled out with a rolling pin. Cretan Phyllo is particularly good for making small fried pies, like Finger-Sized Fried Greens Pies and Onion, Tomato and Feta Turnovers.

In the Cretan town of Chania, the same dough is rolled out and cut into long 2-inch-wide ribbons with a pastry wheel, then submerged in hot oil to make festive fried dough sweets that are drizzled with honey and sprinkled with almonds and walnuts.

Ingredients

  • 3½–4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ cup vodka
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • About cup water

Method

Place cups flour and the salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix. With the motor running, add the vodka, lemon juice and oil, then add just enough water to make a soft dough.

Let the dough rest in the processor for 15 minutes.

Process the dough for 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until it is slightly elastic. Let rest in the food processor for 20 to 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough briefly, until it is smooth and elastic, adding a little more flour if it is sticky. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Cover 3 of them with plastic wrap and, with a rolling pin, roll out the dough as thin as possible, dusting often with a little flour. Or, if you have a pasta machine, roll out strips of phyllo as described in the manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat with the remaining dough. Use immediately, and proceed as instructed in the individual recipes.

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