We're getting close to the Jewish holiday - Shavuot. A holiday related to cheesy pastries and delights. In reality, Shavuot, is about early fruit, or first fruit. It has a beautiful biblical history. However, as time passed, It became a holiday that celebrates cheese cakes, and delicious pastries filled with roasted vegetables and.. well, cheese.
For me, that actually works out really well. I LOVE CHEESE! I love cheese cakes, I love bread with cheese, I love cheese on its own with a piece of fruit. There! I said it!
I decided to put the cheesecake recipe aside, for now, because I feel, that's an easy thing to find.
I'd like to focus on a delicious dish, a very simple to make, very impressive, made with phyllo pastry. The advantages of using phyllo dough, aside from its flaky texture, is that it is basically fat-free. Think about it like this - you control the amount of fat you add to this dough. And, oh, I love me some control.
Alright. Shall we?
1 package of phyllo dough - most important: place it in the refrigerator NOT the freezer, the night before you intend to use it.
100 g melted butter
250 g Philadelphia or a different full fat cream cheese
200 g fresh spinach leaves
1 cup chopped kalamata olives
250 g cottage cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 whole egg, for the finish
In a slightly greased pan, sautee the spinach leaves just until they are soft, but not too much.
Remove from pan, and place in a mixing bowl, trying to leave out the liquids.
Add the cheeses and the olives. Mix together, taste, and add salt and pepper to your taste.
On a clean, dry work surface, place one leaf of phyllo pastry.
Brush a layer of melted butter.
Place a second layer of phyllo pastry on the previous one and repeat. Do this one more time, a total of 3 times.
Once you completed this part, using a spoon, place a generous log of filling about 3 inches from the bottom end of the pastry.
Carefully, lift the pastry from the bottom end, and cover the filling. This part is a little bit like making Sushi.
Once you covered the filling completely, tighten the dough around it, and only then, keep rolling it until you reach the top end of the dough.
Now, gently place the log in a round baking pan. Any baking pan would work here, but I personally like a ceramic pan for this. I think it's just so beautiful.
Repeat this action as many times as needed until your pan is set.
Now, in a small bowl or a glass, beat your egg, and brush the pastry lightly.
Bake at 180 degrees celsius (350 in Fahrenheit) for about 20-25 minutes, until it's nice and golden brown.
This dish can be kept in the fridge until the time of serving.
Before serving, place it on the counter at room temperature, then heat in the oven 180 degrees, for about 10 minutes.