Tag Archives: phyllo dough

Pumpkin and Spinach Phyllo Pie

27 Nov

It’s a good thing to start new traditions… I am a very family-oriented person and I love family gatherings. However, my family is spread all over and we no longer get-together as a family like we used to. You see… we used to gather every holiday in my grandma’s house – Xmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 3 Kings Day… but now that she’s no longer with us, people don’t see the need to get together as a family anymore.

I invited my mom, my uncle, my aunt and her husband to my house for a Thanksgiving lunch. Lunch is what we always celebrated together… but everyone already had plans so it was only my mom and I this year. This is a new family tradition – vegetarian Thanksgiving lunch @ Madelyn’s.

My aunt gave me 2 large pumpkin pieces a few days back and I decided this Thanksgiving would be a study in pumpkin, if you will. Titi Carmín might have been busy doing her thing, but she was all over this Thanksgiving dinner…

This recipe was inspired by a recipe I saw in The New York Times… but I adapted it to make it with the ingredients I had available at home. I was not going to be a slave to running to the grocery store at the last minute to make something by a recipe. So I urge you to also tweak this recipe to fit your taste and the ingredients you might have available.


1 cup pumpkin, cut into small pieces
½ cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 leek, cleaned well and chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts, chopped
1 small tart apple, peeled and cut into 1” pieces, like Granny Smith
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
½ cup 4 cheese blend of grated cheeses
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
3/4 pound phyllo dough, thawed and at room temperature (more if needed)
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and oil the foil. Place the pumpkin on the baking sheet and season with salt, pepper, olive oil and a few thyme sprigs. Place in the oven. Bake until tender, 30 to40 minutes. Every so often, turn the pieces over so they brown on most sides. Remove from the oven and transfer them to a bowl to cool. You can do this the day before if you want.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the leeks. Cook, stirring, until leeks are tender and just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Add the apples pieces and the spinach. Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Turn the heat off and add the pumpkin. Stir to combine and to warm the pumpkin if you cooked some time ahead. Stir in the walnuts, goat cheese, and grated cheese blend. Set aside.

3.  Brush a pie pan or small glass pyrex pan with olive oil and line the bottom with parchment. Brush the parchment with olive oil.

4.  Unroll the phyllo dough. Keep it covered with a damp towel. Take a sheet of phyllo and place it on your work surface. Brush lightly with olive oil and place another sheet on top. Fold the two layers in half. Place on the bottom of your pan, don’t mind any overhang. Add your filling over the phyllo sheets. Bring any overhang of phyllo to top the filling. Cover the filling with a few additional phyllo sheets that have been brushed with olive oil just like the first ones. No need to be super careful, the last phyllo sheet I like to crumble on top to give it a rustic look.

5.  Bake on the middle rack of a large oven at 400F for 50 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

I make this on my toaster oven where the coil is very close to the pie top. So if you find the top is browning too fast, just place a loose sheet of aluminum paper on top to avoid any over browning. In my toaster oven this cooked for only 25-30 minutes.

You can serve this hot or warm.

I usually go Italian for my Thanksgiving menus – making lasagnas, risottos or polentas in past years. So it was refreshing for me to go the Greek route this year. I might have to do this again… this was delicious and very easy to make.

Stuffed Baked Brie

18 Mar

The other night we got together to watch the French film La faute à Fidel…  a very nice film showed in a French film festival recently at the University of Puerto Rico.  I was not able to attend the original showing, so my friend Laura’s mother, who’s a film buff and loves to buy films, lent it to us for a night of French movies and of course, French food…

I’ve been meaning to make a different version of the Camembert Chaud at the Bistro de Paris restaurant we love so much… where they take a round of camembert cheese, take the top off and warm it up in the oven and serve with French bread toasts, walnuts and sour apples.

I wanted to see if I could challenge myself and work with some phyllo dough I had bought and was always afraid of using.  I always do that, I like things at the market, but then leave them in the fridge or the pantry and do not use them immediately.   I built myself some courage and this is what turned out…




A 4.5 ounce round of Brie cheese
2 tbs of guava jelly
1 ½ tbs toasted walnuts, cut into small pieces
2 tbs caramelized onions – recipe here
4 sheets of whole-wheat phyllo dough – defrosted
4 tbs of butter, melted
Canola spray


  1. Take a baking sheet and line with parchment paper.  Spray with canola oil.
  2. Take one piece of the phyllo dough and place on top of baking sheet.  Brush lightly but evenly with melted butter using a pastry brush.  Place the second sheet of phyllo crosswise, perpendicular to the first sheet.  Brush again with the melted butter.  Place the third sheet of phyllo diagonal to the frist two, as if covering the spaces left open by the first “cross”.  Brush again with melted butter and place the fourth and last phyllo sheet perpendicular to the 3rd sheet, therefore creating another cross with the sheets.  Spread  the last sheet with the remaining butter.
  3. Cut the brie cheese into two halves, creating a top and a bottom half.  We’ll be making a “sandwich” using the two brie halves.
  4. brie-relleno-por-dentro
  5. Place the bottom half of the cheese in the middle or the phyllo sheet stack.  Spread the caramelized onions on on top of the brie half.  Now, spread the guava jelly on top of the onions.  Place the walnuts pieces on top of the guava jelly. And now top everything off with the remaining half of brie cheese.  It may get a bit messy, but it’s all good.
  6. brie-relleno-antes-de-cerrar
  7. Now you’ll start wrapping the brie with the phyllo… take one section and fold it over the cheese.  Now try enveloping the cheese with another side… you’ll see you’ll have a lot of phyllo left over that you won’t know what to do with it.  Just take it all and gather it on top of the cheese like making a bun…  I just could not take pictures of this because my hands were so messy with melted butter.
  8. Place the stuffed brie in the fridge for about 30 minutes to set a bit… 
  9. After 15 minutes have passed, pre-heat the oven to 450 F.  When the oven is ready, bake the brie covered with a piece of parchment with a foil paper on top for about 10 minutes.  Then take off the parchment/foil covering and let the phyllo get golden brown.
  10. Take out of the oven and wait about 2-3 minutes for the cheese inside to adjust to the temperature and cut and serve immediately after.  We served them with water crackers and apple slices.



We loved the mixture of the tangy brie with the sweet guava jelly and onions.  But I had a few mishaps and I want you to learn from my mistakes.  So here are some tips when making this Stuffed Brie:

  • Use the same baking sheet where you’ll bake the brie to set it up.  I transferred the brie from that baking sheet to something smaller to put it in the fridge and I almost lost the entire bottom when transferring it back to the baking sheet to bake.
  • The temperature of the oven is important… if the temperature is not that high, your phyllo dough takes longer to cook and get golden and might give your jelly an opportunity to seep out. 
  • This is not a good dish to assemble at home and transfer somewhere else to bake…  I suggest you assemble and bake in the same premises.  I have not tried yet the bake first and then transfer and reheat… if you do, let me know if it works better.


Hope you love it as much as we did…

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