|Alternative names||Filo pastry, phyllo, fillo|
|Main ingredients||Flour dough|
Filo (or phyllo) (Greek: φύλλο 'leaf') is a kind of very thin unleavened dough used for making pastries such as baklava and börek in Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. Filo-based pastries are made by layering many sheets of filo brushed with melted butter; the pastry is then baked.
The practice of stretching raw dough into paper-thin sheets probably evolved in the kitchens of the Topkapı Palace during the Ottoman Empire, based on Central Asian and/or Roman prototypes. Baklava is probably the earliest dish using filo, and is documented as early as the 13th century.
Filo dough is made with flour, water, and a small amount of oil and rakı or white vinegar, though some dessert recipes also call for egg yolks. Homemade filo takes time and skill, requiring progressive rolling and stretching to a single thin and very large sheet. A very big table and a long roller are used, with continual flouring between layers to prevent tearing.
Machines for producing filo pastry were perfected in the 1970s, and have come to dominate the market. Filo for domestic use is widely available from supermarkets, fresh or frozen.
When using filo to make pastries, the thin layers are made by first rolling out the sheets of dough to the final thickness, then stacking them with melted butter layers; this contrasts with puff pastry and croissant doughs, where the layers of butter are stacked into a thick layer of dough, then folded and rolled out multiple times to produce a laminated dough containing thin layers of dough and fat.
Filo can be used in many ways: layered, folded, rolled, or ruffled, with various fillings. Notable pastries made with filo include:
The Turkish name yufka means both the thin dough used for baklava and börek, and a kind of flatbread, also called sac ekmeği, cooked on a sac, a domed metal plate. The bread form may have been "an early form of filo" since the Kitab Diwan Lughat al-Turk, a dictionary of Turkic dialects by Mahmud Kashgari recorded plated/folded bread as one meaning of the word yuvgha.
Filo is known by a variety of names in ethnic and regional cuisines. Among them are:
- Yufka in Turkish cuisine; there are different sorts of yufka for börek or baklava
- Gollash in Egyptian cuisine
- Petë in Albanian cuisine, and pies made out of it pite or byrek,
- Jufka (pl.) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia for the dough, while leaves are called kore
- Kori za banitsa (pl.) in Bulgaria for the dough, with pastries made from it generically known as banitsa
- Kori (pl.) in the Republic of Macedonia
- Perry, Charles. "The Taste for Layered Bread among the Nomadic Turks and the Central Asian Origins of Baklava", in A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (ed. Sami Zubaida, Richard Tapper), 1994. ISBN 1-86064-603-4
- Patrick Faas (2003). Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 185.
- Press release from Athens Foods, Cleveland, OH
- Oxford Dictionaries.
- Alan Davidson (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7. p. 307.
- Türk Dil Kurumu, Büyük Türkçe Sözlük search form
- Perry, Charles. "The Taste for Layered Bread among the Nomadic Turks and the Central Asian Origins of Baklava", in A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (ed. Sami Zubaida, Richard Tapper), 1994. ISBN 1-86064-603-4.
- Engin Akın, Mirsini Lambraki, Kosta Sarıoğlu, Aynı Sofrada İki Ülke: Türk ve Yunan Mutfağı, Istanbul 2003, ISBN 975-458-484-2.
- The dictionary definition of filo at Wiktionary
- Media related to Phyllo at Wikimedia Commons
- Phyllo dough at Wikibook Cookbooks