Phyllo pastry is sold in sheets almost as thin as tissue paper. Take out the number of sheets you’ll need and immediately wrap up the unused ones, since they tend to dry out quickly. If you’re using a large number of sheets, place them on the counter and cover them with a damp cloth to protect them.
If you have to cut the pastry, use scissors rather than a knife, so as not to rip it.
The “flakiness” comes from layering the sheets: the number depends on the recipe, but generally you can allow for 3-4 sheets for the bottom and the same number for the top of the dish.
- Lay a sheet out flat and brush with melted butter; cover with another sheet and brush again, continuing until you have the desired number;
- line a mold or baking dish with the sheets;
- add the filling;
- cover with more sheets that have been brushed with butter;
- make a few incisions on the top of the pastry, using a sharp knife;
- sprinkle with a few drops of water;
- bake in a 180° C (350° F) oven for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
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