Help with Phyllo Dough
I would like to make "Mushroom Cigars" for a dinner party Friday night. The idea is to simply roll-up a duxelle in several buttered layers of phyllo, and bake them off in a medium overn. Although I am a pretty accomplished home cook, I have never worked with phyllo before. Can I make these ahead of time an pop them in the over when guests arrive? Or will the buttered phyllo dry out and fall apart? Could I even freeze them and bake them straight from a frozen state?
Thanks for any advice.
You need to take care that the sheets don't get soggy and don't dry out. Freezing is going to foster dehydration. Your best best would be to bake them ahead, refrigerate, then briefly reheat in the oven. To help prevent sogginess, sprinkle some shredded cheese and/or dry bread crumbs on the phyllo before spreading the duxelle, as a partial barrier between filling and pastry. Assuming you've bought frozen sheets, be sure to follow defrosting directions; you can't rush it. And keep the stack covered with a damp towel and plastic as you work. You will need more butter than you think. If you want to cheat a little, use butter on half your sheets and butter-flavored spray on the others. It won't tear them, so use spray on the outer sheets. If brushing melted butter tears the inner ones, it won't matter.
Under ordinary circumstances I would agree with greygarious however, on this one, I'd have to wonder if cooking them ahead of time and refrigerating might not promote moisture which could make them soggy. Mushrooms have a lot of moisture in them and while the mushroom filling cools inside the phyllo pastry they're likely to release moisture that will infiltrate the pastry. That could produce a gooey mess.
I agree with the idea of including a drying agent in the form of a dry cheese or quality bread crumbs to maintain stability.
I think I might try preparing them, wrapping them separately in a high quality plastic wrap, placing them in a sealed container and freezing them until time to bake. I'd have no proglem with putting them in the oven in frozen state, understanding that it might take a bit longer to get the cooked through because of temperature, and browning them at a temperature just slightly below that suggested in the recipe.