Creamy Roasted Strawberry Phyllo Triangles

Makes 24 cookie-size triangles.

Note: This recipe works best with the harder, often white-centered grocery store strawberries rather than the locally grown berries that will be too juicy. Roasting the strawberries prevents a watery filling, honey elevates the fruity flavor, and lemon juice brightens it. Be generous with the buttering of the phyllo sheets. The filling expands when heated, so keep the triangle a little loose when folding. Phyllo sheets are not equally sized. Depending on the brand, the sheets range in size from 9 by 14 inches to 14 by 16 inches. Use your best judgment when cutting the strips of buttered, layered sheets: 3 inches wide is a good goal, but if the phyllo is 14 inches wide, it divides evenly into sections that are 3 1/2 inches. Farmers cheese is a drier version of cottage cheese; Neufchâtel could be substituted. The filling can be made up to 3 days ahead. The triangles can be made up to 3 months ahead. Freeze the unbaked triangles on baking sheets and transfer to a freezer container or zip-top plastic bag. Bake directly from the freezer at the same temperature and for the same amount of time.

• 8 oz. frozen phyllo sheets (see Note)

• 8 tbsp. salted butter

• 1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped (see Note)

• 2 tbsp. sugar

• Juice of 1 lemon

• 1 tbsp. honey

• 1/2 c. farmers cheese (see Note)

• 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Directions

Defrost the phyllo overnight in the refrigerator.

Melt the butter over medium-high heat until foamy. Pour the melted butter into a glass measuring cup or bowl, and let it sit for a few minutes while the butterfats drop to the bottom. Pour the clear, yellow butter into another measuring cup or bowl and reserve. Discard the butterfats.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

For the filling: Spread the chopped strawberries out on one of the baking sheets and sprinkle with the sugar. Roast on the upper rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the berries have collapsed and the liquids have reduced to syrup. Scrape the berries and syrup into a medium bowl. You should have about 1/2 cup. Add the lemon juice and honey, and stir well. Let the filling cool for a few minutes while setting up the phyllo sheets.

Reline the baking sheet with parchment paper.

For the phyllo wraps: Set up an area on the counter to work and line it with 1 or 2 generous pieces of plastic wrap, establishing a workspace larger than the phyllo sheet. Unfurl the rolled up phyllo sheets, placing them to one side of the workspace. Cover them with a sheet of plastic wrap and then a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out.

One at a time, peel off a sheet of phyllo (replacing the plastic and towel each time) and place it on the plastic-wrap-lined counter with the long edge parallel to the edge of the counter. If it splits or tears, just piece it back together atop the plastic wrap.

Use a pastry brush to gently dab some butter here and there on the phyllo sheet and then briskly and lightly brush it across from edge to edge. Do not dismay if the sheet tears. Butter is the glue. Stack the next sheet on top of the last and brush again with the butter. Repeat until 3 sheets are stacked and buttered. With a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, slice the stacked sheets into 6 equal sections, each about 3 1/3 by 9 inches long.

Stir the farmers cheese into the filling; the filling should be stiff. Place 1 firmly packed generous tablespoon of filling at the 3 1/3-inch edge of each section of phyllo. Grasping one corner (use an offset spatula to loosen it from the plastic wrap), fold the phyllo over the filling on an angle, to form a triangle. Continue to fold the triangle over itself, like folding a flag. It should not be tight or snug, but a relaxed fold.

Brush butter over the top and sides of the pastry (if overlooked, they will not brown as well as the top), place it seam-side down on the baking sheet and continue with the remaining phyllo sheets until there are 6 little pies. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets, 3 at a time, making 6 pies with each 3-sheet stack.

Slide the baking sheets into the oven, rotating and swapping the position of the baking sheets after 10 minutes. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the little pies are golden brown, flaky and shiny. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Spring Greens and Herbed Cheese Phyllo Triangles

Makes 24 appetizers.

Note: Use early spring greens, such as baby spinach, Swiss chard or kale, as more mature greens may be too bitter. Be generous with the buttering of the phyllo sheets. The filling expands when heated, so keep the triangle a little loose when folding. Phyllo sheets are not equally sized. Depending on the brand, the sheets range in size from 9 by 14 inches to 14 by 16 inches. Use your best judgment when cutting the strips of buttered, layered sheets: 3 inches wide is a good goal, but if the phyllo is 14 inches wide, it evenly divides into sections that are 3 1/3 inches. Farmers cheese is a drier version of cottage cheese; Neufchâtel could be substituted. The filling can be made up to 3 days ahead. The triangles can be made up to 3 months ahead. Freeze the unbaked triangles on baking sheets and transfer to a freezer container or zip-top plastic bag. Bake directly from the freezer at the same temperature and for the same amount of time.

• 8 oz. frozen phyllo sheets (see Note)

• 8 tbsp. salted butter

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 3 green onions, sliced (about 1/4 c.)

• 4 oz. young spring greens (about 2 c.) (see Note)

• 1/2 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

• 1/4 c. chopped toasted walnuts, optional

• 2 tbsp. fresh mint leaves, chopped

• 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 c. farmers cheese (see Note)

Directions

Defrost the phyllo overnight in the refrigerator.

Melt the butter over medium-high heat until foamy. Pour the melted butter into a glass measuring cup or bowl, and let it sit for a few minutes while the butterfats drop to the bottom. Pour the clear, yellow butter into another measuring cup or bowl and reserve. Discard the butterfats.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

For the filling: Warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add the green onions and cook for about 3 minutes, until wilted. Add the greens and a very small splash of water, cover the pan and steam the greens for 3 minutes, until wilted but still a very bright green. Remove the lid and cook off any remaining moisture for no more than 1 minute.

Scrape the cooked greens and green onions into a medium bowl. Stir in the parsley, walnuts, mint, salt and pepper. Let the filling cool for a few minutes while setting up the phyllo sheets.

For the phyllo wraps: Set up an area on the counter to work and line it with 1 or 2 generous pieces of plastic wrap, establishing a workspace larger than the phyllo sheet. Unfurl the rolled up phyllo sheets, placing them to one side of the workspace. Cover phyllo with a sheet of plastic wrap and then a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out. One at a time, peel off a sheet of phyllo (replacing the plastic and towel each time) and place it on the plastic-wrap-lined counter with the long edge parallel to the edge of the counter. If it splits or tears, just piece it back together atop the plastic wrap.

Use a natural bristle (not silicone) pastry brush to gently dab some butter here and there on the phyllo sheet and then, briskly and lightly, brush it across from edge to edge. Do not dismay if the sheet tears; butter is the glue. Stack the next sheet on top of the last and brush again with the butter. Repeat until 3 sheets are stacked and buttered. With a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, slice the stacked sheets into 6 equal sections, each about 3 1/3 inches wide and 9 inches long.

Stir the farmers cheese into the filling; the filling should be stiff. Place one firmly packed generous tablespoon of filling at the 3 1/3- inch edge of each section of phyllo. Grasping one corner (use an offset spatula to loosen it from the plastic wrap), fold the phyllo over the filling on an angle to form a triangle. Continue to fold the triangle over itself, as if folding a flag. It should be a relaxed fold — not tight or snug. Brush the butter over the top and sides of the pastry (if overlooked, they will not brown as well as the top), place it seam-side down on the baking sheet, and continue with the remaining phyllo sheets until there are 6 little pies. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets, 3 at a time, making 6 pies with each 3-sheet stack.

Slide the baking sheets into the oven, rotating and swapping the position of the sheets after 10 minutes. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the little pies are golden brown, flaky and shiny. Cool the pies for several minutes before serving.