Harvest Squash Phyllo Turnovers
There are certain restaurant dishes that I think and dream about on the reg. I recently discussed this with a friend who does the same (I mean, everyone does this, no??), and we went deep on the dishes in our top five. To be honest, it nearly killed me to pick only five, but this is how it shook out on that particular day:
Half Tie-Dye, Half Supreme Pizza at Rubirosa (duh.)
Steak-Frites at Relais de L’Entrecote in Paris
Rock Shrimp with Creamy-Spicy Sauce at Nobu
Crystal bread with Jamon Iberico at Cap Rocat
Squash Toast at ABC Kitchen
*Full disclosure, I put Milk Bar Birthday Cake on my list, but she claimed that was not a restaurant dish. Whatever.
Honestly, I have no desire to make most of my beloved restaurant dishes at home. They often involve obscure ingredients, special equipment like deep fryers or pizza ovens, or some sort of recipe sorcery I can’t figure out. (If anyone has successfully replicated the Relais de L’Entrecote herb sauce, please share the damn secret.) Plus, the fact that I get to eat them so rarely, makes them that much more special when I do.
The squash toast is the one exception. The recipe was published by NYT Cooking for all to recreate a while ago, and given its simplicity, I’ve felt moved to make it many times. I’ve also whipped up endless creations based on the toast’s glorious toppings: roasted squash, ricotta, and sweet-tangy onions that have been caramelized with apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.
These Harvest Squash Phyllo Turnovers are one of my most recent squash toast-inspired recipes, and they were too delicious not to share. All of the toppings I just described are folded together along with a little sage, nestled inside triangles of Athens phyllo dough, and then baked to flaky perfection. The result is an endlessly crowd-pleasing handheld treat that’s perfect for entertaining. Keep them in mind as we enter the holiday season, peeps.
A few quick recipe tips:
- Athens phyllo dough is delicate, but it’s also very forgiving. If it tears slightly, don’t panic. (That’s the beauty of layering phyllo dough—it allows for all manner of imperfections.) The dough has a tendency to dry out, so make sure to keep it between damp towels while you’re using it.
- Make sure you lightly brush your phyllo with oil. You don’t want to overdo it, or your turnovers will be unnecessarily greasy.
- Don’t stress over perfection. Each turnover doesn’t need to be identical, but you do want to make sure that the filling is tightly sealed within the turnovers so that it doesn’t ooze out while baking.
- You can prep the turnovers up to a day in advance, wrap them tightly in plastic, and store them in the fridge until baking time. (Wait to do the final brush of oil until just before baking.) You can also freeze them before baking if you’d like.
- If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat at 300° for about 10 minutes until warmed through and re-crisped.
And I’ll leave you with some you do you options because you know I like it when you get creative:
- The OG Squash Toast calls for Kabocha squash. I went with butternut because it’s a little more readily available, but feel free to use Kabocha or acorn squash if you prefer. I know sweet potato is a common sub for butternut squash, but I don’t recommend it for this recipe. It’s a little to heavy/dense.
- Don’t be afraid to play with cheese here. Ricotta is classic, but goat cheese is also delightful if you love tang, and Fontina or Gruyere will add a great nutty, sweetness with more of a “cheesy” factor, if that’s more your jam.
- Spice fan? Add a little crushed red pepper into your filling or brush the phyllo dough with chili oil.
- Meat lovers, feel free to add finely crumbled bacon or pancetta into the mix.
- When it comes to herbs, I’m a sage girl, but rosemary or thyme will also be delightful.
- Not into finger food or want to serve these turnovers for dinner? Slice the phyllo into two strips instead of three, or use whole sheets of phyllo to make large turnovers and serve them with a simple side salad. (If you do make turnovers with whole sheets of phyllo, I recommend layering three or four sheets of phyllo instead of two.)
- You can skip the turnover aspect altogether if you’re lazy and serve the filling on its own as a side dish, use it as a spread for toast/sandwiches/quesadillas, or serve it as a dip with sliced baguette or crackers.
Happy baking, friends!
Harvest Squash Phyllo Turnovers: (Makes roughly 30 turnovers)
20 sheets (½ box) Athens phyllo dough
½ medium butternut squash, seeds removed
Kosher salt to taste
½ cup plus 2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra if needed), divided
½ medium yellow onion, minced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Flaky salt (such as Maldon)
-Bring the phyllo dough to room temperature. To prevent the dough from drying out, place the phyllo between damp towels.
-Preheat the oven to 375° Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
-Brush the cut side of the butternut squash with ½ tablespoon of the oil and season with a pinch of salt. (I like to roast both halves of the squash together and save the other half for another recipe like soup or risotto!)
-Place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 35-45 minutes until the squash is very tender when poked with the tip of a sharp knife. (I did not take a picture of it cut-side down, this was not smart.)
-Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion and a small pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes or until very soft and very lightly browned (you just want a little color on the onion, not full browning).
-Add the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the onions have a “jammy” consistency. (Be very careful not to burn this mixture!) Stir in the sage and cook for 30 seconds, then transfer the onion mixture to a medium bowl.
-Scoop the flesh from the roasted squash into the bowl with the onions (you should have a little less than 2 cups of squash).
-Add the ricotta and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Fold all the ingredients for the filling together until combined. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
-Time to assemble the turnovers! Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a cutting board. Lightly brush with a little bit of the remaining oil. Layer with a second sheet of phyllo and brush lightly with oil again.
-Slice the phyllo dough lengthwise into three even strips.
-Add one tablespoon of filling to the end of each phyllo strip leaving a little space around it.
-Fold the dough over at a 45° angle to create a triangle.
-Then continue to fold the triangle back and forth onto itself until a turnover is formed.
-If you have a little extra dough leftover when you’ve finished forming triangles, just trim it with your knife.
-Repeat this process with the remaining phyllo dough and filling until all your turnovers have been formed. (You may or may not need extra olive oil.) Place the finished turnovers on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. (You will likely need two baking sheets.) Brush the tops with a tiny bit more olive oil and season with a little flaky salt (or kosher salt) and black pepper.
-Bake at 375° for 14-17 minutes (keep a close eye on them!) until the turnovers are golden brown. Serve warm.
This post is sponsored by my friends at Athens Foods. As always, all opinions are very obviously my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Domesticate Me alive and kicking.
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