It’s December already and time to start thinking about what delicious things to make and eat these Christmas holidays! In our home we are starting to get into the Christmas spirit and my little ones especially look forward to lots of baking and treat making in the kitchen during their summer school holidays.
I was invited by Mediterranean Delicacies to participate in their #PhabPhyllo campaign and knew immediately that these mini phyllo crackers would make the perfect holiday phyllo treat. They look gorgeous piled onto a plate and dusted with icing snow, and are ideal if you are entertaining and need snacks for a crowd. I have also taken it a step further and added a salted caramel dipping sauce, because Christmas is the perfect excuse to indulge, right?
There is often the perception that phyllo pastry is difficult to work with, but if you follow a few basic rules you will find it is not that tricky at all! The most important thing is to make sure that you keep your phyllo pastry covered at all times, taking out only what you need when you are ready to use it. Please read through the cook’s notes and recipe below before you start for more handy tips on how to use phyllo pastry, and you’ll have your phyllo crackers whipped up in a jiffy!
So get that apron on, crank up the Christmas tunes, and let’s get baking!
- remember to defrost your phyllo pastry overnight in the fridge before using.
- be sure to remove only the pastry that you need (in this recipe that’s three sheets at a time). The remaining phyllo pastry should be kept covered with the plastic sheet provided in the box and a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out.
- be careful not to overfill the crackers or to roll them up too tightly as this may cause them to burst.
- keep a close eye on the caramel sauce to prevent it from burning. Have all of your sauce ingredients measured and ready before you start.
- Store any leftover caramel sauce in the fridge and enjoy with ice cream and pancakes. It will thicken in the fridge, but simply warm gently to make it thinner again.
- Check out the #PhabPhyllo hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for more phyllo recipe ideas from some of my fellow food bloggers.
PHYLLO CHRISTMAS CRACKERS WITH SALTED CARAMEL DIPPING SAUCE
For the phyllo crackers:
- 250g fruit mincemeat
- 1 apple, grated with skin on
- ½ tbsp brandy
- 12 sheets Mediterranean Delicacies Phyllo Pastry
- 100ml butter, melted
- twine for securing the crackers (optional)
- icing sugar for dusting (optional)
For the salted caramel sauce:
- ¾ cup castor sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- 150ml double cream
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp butter
1.) Preheat your oven to 160ºC and line a tray with baking paper.
2.) Place the fruit mincemeat in a small mixing bowl. Squeeze excess juice from the grated apple and discard the juice. Add the apple and brandy to the fruit mincemeat and mix well. Set aside.
3.) Carefully remove three sheets of phyllo pastry from the packaging. Keep the remaining phyllo sheets covered with the plastic provided in the box and a damp tea towel. Lay one sheet of phyllo on your work surface with the short side in front of you (i.e. “portrait” orientation). Brush the sheet with melted butter and place a second phyllo sheet on top. Brush the top with butter again and place the third phyllo sheet on top. If any of the sheets tear, simply “glue” them together with the melted butter.
4.) Cut the phyllo sheet stack in half horizontally. Then cut each half into three equal pieces vertically so that you end up with six phyllo rectangles.
5.) Place a teaspoon of the fruit mince filling on the short end of each phyllo rectangle. Brush the other end with a small amount of melted butter. Roll the filling up in the phyllo pastry, the melted butter will help to stick it together. Pinch and gently twist the ends to give the cracker shape. You can also secure the ends with a short piece of twine.
6.) Arrange the crackers on your baking tray. Brush with a little melted butter and bake for 20 minutes until golden. While the first batch of crackers are baking you can prepare your second batch, then the third, etc. You will prepare four batches in total. Set the crackers aside to cool.
7.) While the last batch is baking prepare your caramel sauce. Place the castor sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat to dissolve the sugar. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush away any sugar crystals that stick to the sides of the saucepan.
8.) Bring the sugar mixture to the boil. Allow to boil gently without stirring until the syrup starts turning golden. Give the pot a small swirl and keep an eye on it as it will turn quickly. Once the syrup is a rich golden colour remove it from the heat and immediately add the cream, salt and butter. (Take care as it will bubble and steam!) Give the sauce a good whisk until it is smooth. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
9.) Remove the twine from the crackers if you used it. Arrange the crackers on a serving plate and dust with icing sugar. Transfer the caramel sauce to a dipping bowl and serve with the crackers.