Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Feta & Garlic Stuffed Serpent's Coil

Every year during the holidays, my mom asks me to make something 'flaky.' After playing 20 questions, I finally learned that 'flaky' was her code word for something made with phyllo dough. She loves the crisp buttery layers that just give out the best flaky texture. And who can blame her? I love working with phyllo dough... despite not eating it while being gluten free. (I can't even begin to tell you how much I miss eating phyllo dough!) Since my mom loves appetizer items made with phyllo dough, I wanted to make something different from previous years. That's when I decided to make this Feta & Garlic Stuffed Serpent's Coil. A creamy, cheese filling is rolled and coiled in buttery layers of phyllo dough before baking to a golden brown. If you want an impressive appetizer or starter to your meal, this would be it...

For one, it has a beautiful presentation. Folk will either think it's too pretty to eat, but trust me when I say that it won't take long before someone dives right in. Secondly, anything made with buttery phyllo dough is going to be good. For this 'Serpent's Coil' I filled it with a mixture of 2 cheeses and garlic. However, you can make your favorite filling and prepare it in phyllo dough as the recipe states too. Although I served this as an appetizer, you can surely prepare this as a main entree when accompanied by a salad and other side dishes. To serve, I cut it like a pie and served it in wedges as seen below.


Feta & Garlic Stuffed Serpent's Coil
recipe inspired by Not Quite Nigella

Filling:
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
4 cloves garlic, minced


Pastry:
non stick spray or butter to grease
14-16 sheets fresh filo pastry
1 stick (8oz) unsalted butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl until completely incorporated. Transfer the mixture into a gallon sized storage bag or pastry bag. Chill in the refrigerator.

In the meantime, place  Grease a 10-inch pie plate with butter or non stick oil spray. Line a clean surface with a sheet of non stick parchment and take out your filo pastry. Cover the phyllo dough with a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Remove one sheet of pastry from under the tea towel and brush with butter. Top with another sheet of phyllo dough and repeat until you have a stack of four buttered phyllo sheets on top of each other.

ilo dries out very quickly so have a damp tea towel on top of it to prevent it from drying. Take out one sheet and recover pastry. Brush with butter and then place another on top of this and butter and repeat until you have four buttered sheets on top of each other.

Remove the filling from the refrigerator. If using a storage bag, snip one bottom corner of the bag to create an opening large enough for the filling to be piped out of. Pipe or place a line of filling the length of the phyllo dough about 1 inch from the edge. Flip the phyllo edge over the line of filling and begin rolling the phyllo dough to the opposite edge. Try to roll the dough into a nice, tight roll. Cover each completed roll with a damp tea towel and repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo dough and filling.

With this long filled roll, begin tightly coil it into itself starting from the center. Use all four rolls made and continue to coil it onto itself to create a large coil. {Sadly, I didn't take any pics while I did this but feel free to check out the pics on the Not Quite Martha link above for the site that inspired me to make this dish.}

Brush the top of the coil with melted butter and using a wide spatula, transfer the coil onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the top has lightly browned.

Remove from oven and serve hot. Slice in wedges like a pie to serve.