Put This on Your "To-Try List": Filo Dough

Filo dough could cause World War III.  Wars have started from sillier reasons.Turkey claims that filo dough was invented there.  Greece makes the same claim, as does all Middle Eastern countries.  I give credit to Greece for this wonderful invention, but please do not forward this column to my mother.If you've never had baklava, I urge you to try it.  It is ultra sweet desert made by first placing 20 layers of paper-thin filo dough in a pan, with butter spread on each layer.When the 20th layer is reached, walnuts and sugar are placed on top.  This is followed by another 15 layers of filo dough with butter again spread on each new layer.  The preparation is first cut into diamond shapes, then baked.  When it is golden the baklava is saturated with cold sugar syrup or honey.The word filo, sometimes spelled phyllo, is derived from the Greek word for "leaf."  The reason I give credit to the Greeks is that one finds an abundance both savory and sweet recipes that use filo dough n Greek kitchens.  Few historians tell us that he Greeks believe filo was crated during the time of Alexander the Great.In the Eastern Mediterranean, filo dough is used that same way that puff pastry is in Europe.  The difference is that there is no fat in the doug itself, but it is added during preparation for baking.Filo dough is available in most grocery stores but if you go into remote villages in the Middle East, you can find few women still do the filo dough the old fashion way.  The filo is made in much the same way that a quilting bee is held here in America.  Women get together, mix the dough, let it rest, then roll it into small balls using an assembly line process with each woman rolling the dough into thinner and thinner layers.  By the time it gets the last woman, it is paper thin.  The dough then dusted with corn starch and placed on different tables, beds and any flat surface in the area.  When the sheet is resting, the women makes the walnut stuffing and the coffee or tea so they can sip there drinks, visit and make baklava at the same time.  According to my grandmother, filo day was one of her favorite days.I use filo dough to make chocolate filo cup which I found to be much easier than baklava and more unique.Chocolate filo cupmakes 6 cups8     filo sheet, covered with moist kitchen towel1/2   cup un-salted butter2       tablespoons coco powder2       tablespoons  sugar3       tablespoons chopped candied orange peel or orange marmalade1       cup coarsely chopped toasted unsalted pistachiodash of cayenne pepper-Melt the butter.-Grease large muffin cup lightly with butter.-Mix the chopped candied orange peel with the pistachio and the cayenne pepper.-Mix the coco powder with the sugar.-Place one filo sheet on flat surface and brush with the melted butter.  Sprinkle with the coco and sugar mixture.  Repeat that until you have 8 sheets.  Cut the sheets into 6 squares.  Gently push each square into the greased muffing cup.  Spoon the orange and pistachio mixture into the filo cup.-Bake in 300 F. degree oven for 10 minutes.-Remove from the oven and allow the muffin to cool for one hour before removing the filo muffin. ENJOY