Apple Pomegranate Borek

Apple Pomegranate Borek

I’ve been pushing the boundaries of my culinary knowledge with my kitchen experiments this week, this has resulted in some successes but a lot of failures as well. This one, while not wildy imaginative, was incredibly delicious and if you can look past the butter, it’s not terribly bad for you either.

Think of it as a less sweet, more tart and apply cousin to baklava. Each serving sized satchel is surrounded in flakey buttery phyllo while the bottom is saturated in honey. The tartness of the pomegranate, apples, and lemon cuts through the sweetness of the honey and while it’s not the prettiest thing to look at, the crisp buttery phyllo makes the perfect edible wrapper.

I had envisioned this as part of my West Asian Thanksgiving dinner, but by the end of that meal I was so exhausted, I wasn’t really in the mood to make that vision a reality, much less wrangle some unruly phyllo dough. Needless to say, this got nixed from the menu.

I know I’m always harping on people for using pre-made stuff, but even I have my limits and making paper thin sheets of dough that don’t stick together is where I draw the line. Besides, handling pre-made phyllo is challenging enough. If you’ve never used it, don’t let me scare you off. Here are some tips to get you started:

5 tips to make Phyllo pastries

  1. Make sure you get it from a store that goes through a lot of phyllo. I’ve noticed that when it gets old, the layers tend to stick together and that’s just useless. Also, look for telltale signs of defrosting and refreezing like ice crystals on the box.
  2. Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight. If you do it at room temperature it has a tendency to accumulate condensation which makes the dough stick together. Also if it’s not defrosted all the way, you’ll find it cracks and sticks.
  3. Make sure you leave your “stash” of unused phyllo covered in moist (not wet) paper towels. Otherwise the phyllo will dry out and crack when you try to work with it.
  4. When you’re handling it be gentle and patient, the layers may stick a little, but with a little persistence you can usually get the sheets apart more or less intact. Since most recipes (including this one) call for layering the phyllo it’s not the end of the world if you have a few holes or tears.
  5. Don’t over-butter the layers. While it’s tempting to “paint” on the butter, like a coat of shellac you’ll end up with greasy phyllo if you go overboard. Get just enough butter on there so the layers adhere. I’ve found that using a dabbing motion with an almost dry brush works pretty well at getting just the right amount of butter on there.

What’s your favourite phyllo dessert?

1 pomegranate
3 apples peeled and sliced (I used Honeycrisp and Granny Smith)
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 C honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs arrowroot starch (or tapoica starch)

1 package phyllo dough defrosted
4 tbs melted butter

Seed the pomegranate into a bowl. Peel and slice the apples and add them to the bowl. Toss with lemon juice, honey and cinnamon and leave for a about 5 minutes for some liquid to come out of the apples. Dissolve the the arrowroot starch in the liquid at the bottom of the bowl making sure there are no clumps.

Move the oven rack to the lower middle position and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush some melted butter on the inside of a 9×9 baking pan.

Lay down a sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface, dab a very light coating of melted butter all over the sheet with a pastry brush. Top with another sheet of phyllo dough. Dab a very light coating of melted butter on top of this sheet, then fold the sheet in half (your dough should now be 4 layers thick).

Slice the layered dough in half then lightly butter around the edges of each sheet. Place about 1/3 cup of apples and pomegranate seeds in the middle of each sheet. Do no put any of the liquid in the bottom of the bowl in yet as it will make the phyllo tear like wet paper (we’ll use it later).

Gather up the corners of the dough and pinch together at the top to make little satchels. Place in the buttered pan then repeat 3 more times (for a total of 8 satchels) or until you run out of apples. Brush the remaining butter onto the tops of your satchels.

Put the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven then pour the honey apple liquid on top of the pastries, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes to caramelize.

Give it 10 minutes to cool and serve. These are best served when you make them.

  • http://vindelatable.blogspot.com/ Vin de la Table

    This might be my new favorite phyllo dessert. Great idea. I might even sneak some crushed amarettto cookies inside.

  • http://vindelatable.blogspot.com Vin de la Table

    This might be my new favorite phyllo dessert. Great idea. I might even sneak some crushed amarettto cookies inside.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com/ The Duo Dishes

    Favorite…maybe a little baked apples and Nutella stuffed in phyllo, brushed with butter and sprinkled with toasted hazelnut cinnamon sugar. Mmmmm! But what you’ve created sounds magnificent as well!

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com/ The Duo Dishes

    Favorite…maybe a little baked apples and Nutella stuffed in phyllo, brushed with butter and sprinkled with toasted hazelnut cinnamon sugar. Mmmmm! But what you’ve created sounds magnificent as well!

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com/ Lorraine E

    I’m with you on fresh ingredients but I too draw the line at phyllo (and admittedly other pastry). These look lovely and luscious. Love the idea of apples and crispy phyllo!

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine E

    I’m with you on fresh ingredients but I too draw the line at phyllo (and admittedly other pastry). These look lovely and luscious. Love the idea of apples and crispy phyllo!

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    Again, very imaginative and creative use of ingredients Marc…baklava is my favourite phyllo dessert!

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    Again, very imaginative and creative use of ingredients Marc…baklava is my favourite phyllo dessert!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    I haven’t had too many filo desserts, but the one I had in El Segundo– bananas, cream cheese, peanuts, and chocolate in a parcel– was amazing!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    I haven’t had too many filo desserts, but the one I had in El Segundo– bananas, cream cheese, peanuts, and chocolate in a parcel– was amazing!

  • http://www.practicallydone.com/ helen

    Look past the butter. Hmm, I understand the individual words, but the phrase doesn’t make any sense to me…

    Phyllo intimidates me. I’m looking for a grandmother to show me a thing or two on how to handle it.

  • http://www.practicallydone.com helen

    Look past the butter. Hmm, I understand the individual words, but the phrase doesn’t make any sense to me…

    Phyllo intimidates me. I’m looking for a grandmother to show me a thing or two on how to handle it.

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com/ Peter

    Marc, good tips on handling phyllo…follow those steps and one should do fine.

    Another tip is use clarified butter and drizzle the melted butter on the phyllo, then paint it on (not to overbutter as Marc recommended).

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com Peter

    Marc, good tips on handling phyllo…follow those steps and one should do fine.

    Another tip is use clarified butter and drizzle the melted butter on the phyllo, then paint it on (not to overbutter as Marc recommended).

  • http://www.redcook.net Kian

    Bureks are great pastries. I love the savory type as well. There’s a place in the Bronx with the unlikely name of “Tony & Tina’s” that serves great Albanian bureks. They’ve got spinach and meat bureks. Delicious. At Arthur Ave. and 189th St.

  • http://www.redcook.net Kian

    Bureks are great pastries. I love the savory type as well. There’s a place in the Bronx with the unlikely name of “Tony & Tina’s” that serves great Albanian bureks. They’ve got spinach and meat bureks. Delicious. At Arthur Ave. and 189th St.

  • http://www.justgetfloury.com/ Ginny

    Delicious! I just want to lick the honey off the plate! :)

  • http://www.justgetfloury.com Ginny

    Delicious! I just want to lick the honey off the plate! :)

  • marc

    Vin de la Table, Oooo that may very well make a nice addition. I’m thinking it might also be good served with some amaretto cookie ice cream…. I need to go stick the ice cream maker in the freezer!

    The Duo Dishes, wow Nutella and apples, that sounds interesting!

    Lorraine, I can’t imagine how the heck they made phyllo in the olden days before machines…

    Thanks Peter G, baklava is one of my favourites too as long as it doesn’t have walnuts.

    Mark, wow that sounds good.

    Helen, just give it a try. Like many things it takes a bit of practice, but it’s not as hard as you’d think.

    Peter, great suggestion!

    Kian, 189th, is like another country to me, but I may have to trek up there to try this place out. It sounds great!

    Ginny, shh… don’t tell anyone, but that’s what I did;-)

  • marc

    Vin de la Table, Oooo that may very well make a nice addition. I’m thinking it might also be good served with some amaretto cookie ice cream…. I need to go stick the ice cream maker in the freezer!

    The Duo Dishes, wow Nutella and apples, that sounds interesting!

    Lorraine, I can’t imagine how the heck they made phyllo in the olden days before machines…

    Thanks Peter G, baklava is one of my favourites too as long as it doesn’t have walnuts.

    Mark, wow that sounds good.

    Helen, just give it a try. Like many things it takes a bit of practice, but it’s not as hard as you’d think.

    Peter, great suggestion!

    Kian, 189th, is like another country to me, but I may have to trek up there to try this place out. It sounds great!

    Ginny, shh… don’t tell anyone, but that’s what I did;-)

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  • Hady Kayed

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I have a question. How early you can prepare the sachets before you bake them?

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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