Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sweet Potato Phyllo Pastries

For Christmas I got that cookbook I raved about here and here. This doesn't mean that I'm decreasing my trips to the library - heck no, with unheard-of high temps here in Minneapolis we are getting our walk on as often as possible and the library is one of our four main destinations! - it just means that I'm checking out one less cookbook and way more teen fiction. Sometimes I can't tell what makes teen fiction teen fiction. Do you still respect me?

But, hey, about these phyllo pastries! They are excellent. And the phyllo at my co-op is spelled "filo". That's funny, right?

Before making these - and I'll just be honest here and clarify that by "making" I mean "co-making" because really I did the filling (easy part) and my mom did the rolling (hard part) - I was really intimidated by phyllo dough. It's finicky stuff. But my mom made it look so easy. They're like burritos, only filled with delicious sweet potatoes. And sort of glamorous. Here's how she did it:

Sweet potato how-to collage

And they ended up so beautiful at the end - fit for important company, indeed! Make them!

finished roll-upssweet potato roll-up process

Sweet Potato Phyllo Pastries
Yield: 6-8 pastries

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1.5 lbs)
1 tablespoon butter
1 bunch scallions or 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 package phyllo sheets, thawed
about 1/4 cup melted butter, for brushing phyllo
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Steam, roast, or boil sweet potatoes until soft. (A microwave works!) Coarsely mash them.

Heat the butter in a skillet and saute the scallions and 2 teaspoons cumin seeds until fragrant, about 1 minute (if using shallots, cook for about 3 minutes, adding cumin seeds for the last minute). Add the warm sweet potatoes, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir with a wooden spoon until combined well. Allow mixture to cool.

Keep the thawed phyllo pastry covered with a cool, damp towel while you prepare your work space. Have melted butter and a brush ready. Place one sheet of phyllo pastry on your work surface and brush with melted butter. Working quickly, place another sheet of phyllo on top of the first and brush with butter. Repeat until you have about four sheets of phyllo stacked. Spoon a half cup portion of the sweet potato mixture and place along the bottom edge of the stacked phyllo. Roll away from you like you'd roll a burrito. Once the sweet potato filling is enclosed by the phyllo and you have rolled about a third of the way down the length of the phyllo sheets, gently fold in the sides (see picture above), and continue to roll. Repeat this process with remaining phyllo and sweet potato mixture; there will be about 6-8 pastries in total.

Arrange the pastries on a baking sheet, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and a little coarse salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Cut in half if you'd like and serve warm.

These were excellent leftovers as well: I microwaved them until warmed through (about 1 minute for one pastry) and then broiled them for another minute or two until crisped.

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