Anything made with phyllo or filo is one of those things where I would gladly eat if it’s there but I won’t go out of my way to get or make. I honestly don’t know what has come over me to attempt making spanakopita and homemade phyllo dough, but here I am, no longer a homemade phyllo virgin. For this maiden voyage I used the Spanakopita Recipe from New York Times Cooking and the Homemade Phyllo (Filo) Dough Recipe from The Spruce Eats.

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I planned to make this for dinner one night, and of course as soon as I started the phyllo dough recipe, I realized the dough needs to sit overnight in the fridge. I just never learn…read the recipe to the end first!

Phyllo dough is a very simple mix of flour, hot water, olive oil, lemon juice, and raki. It’s curious why the substitute for raki (an anise-flavored alcoholic drink) is white vinegar. The most logical substitute would be sambuca or pastis, but what do I know. I followed the recipe and used white vinegar since I didn’t have raki, sambuca, or pastis, and I didn’t feel like purchasing a bottle just for this.

I only made half recipe of the phyllo dough because the spanakopita recipe called for 8 sheets of frozen phyllo dough. As soon as I saw 8 cups of flour in the phyllo dough recipe, I knew it was excessive. In the end, half recipe was the perfect amount. One thing I did find odd about this phyllo recipe was that I needed far more water than the recipe called for. After making the dough at half recipe, I ended up adding the full recipe worth of water.

From watching cooking shows, phyllo dough seems to be one of those impossibly difficult things to make. I’m already not a big fan of rolling something super thin using a rolling pin, so when I saw that this recipe had a separate set of instructions for using a pasta machine, I was sold. The dough was easy to handle, and the pasta machine method made the process so easy that it made the experience rather underwhelming. Perhaps the point of making phyllo is to brag about how much effort you put into making it.

The spanakopita recipe is quite simple. With tons of onions, garlic, and cheeses, you can’t go wrong. The layering was the most tedious part, but again, the rolling out portion was made simple with the pasta machine, and if you use frozen phyllo sheets like it says in the recipe, it’s even easier.

The end result was good, and I was pretty proud of myself for taking on these two recipes. But I don’t know if I would actually bother to make it again. It wasn’t mind-blowingly awesome and the recipe is simple enough that it doesn’t warrant keeping the recipe around. The only takeaway I have from this experience is that now I know how to make phyllo dough without the panic they display in cooking shows.

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