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Baklava, made with filo pastry
Alternative names Filo pastry, phyllo, fillo
Type Pastry
Main ingredients Flour dough

Filo, phyllo, or filo pastry (from the Greek: φύλλο 'leaf') is a laminated dough of paper-thin sheets of unleavened flour, separated by a thin film of butter.[1] It is used for making pastries in Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines.


Main article: Baklava § History

The practice of stretching raw dough into paper-thin sheets probably evolved in the kitchens of the Topkapı Palace, based on Central Asian and/or Roman prototypes.[2][3]


Filo pastry is a Ottoman invention, although the word (which means leaf) has entered English vocabulary through the Greek language.[4][1] The Turkish name yufka means to open a dough.[5] It also means a 'leaf'. Yufka may have been "an early form of filo" since the Diwan Lughat al-Turk, a dictionary of Turkic dialects by Mahmud Kashgari recorded plated/folded bread as one meaning of the word yuvgha,[citation needed] which is related to yufka, the modern Turkish name for filo as well as a Turkish flatbread.


Prepared filo (also named kori) served with cheese in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia.

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, which have come to dominate the market.[6] Filo for domestic use is widely available from supermarkets, fresh or frozen.


Filo can be used in many ways: layered, folded, rolled, or ruffled, with various fillings. Some notable common varieties are:

Other names[edit]

Filo is known by a variety of names in ethnic and regional cuisines. Among them are:

  • In Turkish cuisine, it is called yufka; there are different sorts of yufka for börek or baklava.
  • In Egyptian cuisine, it is called gollash.
  • In Albanian cuisine, filo is called petë (plural) and the pies made out of it pite (mostly in Kosovo) or byrek, depending on the region and dialect spoken. Other types of pastries made out of filo, such as baklava, have various other names.
  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia, dough is called jufka while filo leaves are called kore (pl.). Pastries have various names, depending on mode of preparation. Gibanica is a speciality using kore and features white cheese and eggs.
  • In Bulgaria, the dough is called kori za banitsa (pl.) and the generic name for the pastries is banitsa, although there are special names for some specific kinds.
  • In the Republic of Macedonia, filo is called kori (pl.).
  • In Puerto Rico, it is characteristic of many pastries, specifically quesitos, baked pastries stuffed with cream cheese and caramelized sugar.

Other thin pastries[edit]

Very thin pastry sheets can also be made by touching lumps of dough to a hot surface, as in the North African malsouka or by cooking very thin batters, as in the South Indian pootharekulu.

Cooked puff pastry is similar to filo-based pastry, with multiple thin layers, but the layers are made by folding the dough, not by stacking thin sheets.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Alan Davidson (2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7. p. 307.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Patrick Faas (2003). Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 185.
  4. ^ Oxford Dictionaries.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Press release from Athens Foods, Cleveland, OH


  • 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.

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of filo at Wiktionary
  • Media related to Phyllo at Wikimedia Commons
  • Phyllo dough at Wikibook Cookbooks