Phyllo pastry makes me happy, like, really happy. However, on this occasion, this Phyllo Pizza was actually the result of one of those last minute kitchen fiascos. I had pulled the dough out of the freezer to thaw overnight thinking it was puff pastry, and the next day when I unraveled it, I discovered it was phyllo! 😩 But time was of the essence, friends were due, and I needed an app, so I just powered on and figured it would take just as long to drive to the store as it would to go through the phyllo layering process. No regrets! And whilst we’re on the subject of kitchen mishaps, and trying new things, I mistakenly picked up a ball of smoked mozzarella, something I would otherwise never buy. If you haven’t tried this, you must. It was a first for me and it paired beautifully with roasted veggies from the farmers’ market. So you see, kitchen mess-ups can lead to great things!
If you’ve never worked with phyllo, don’t be put off by this, we have some tips below. This may take a little more elbow grease than rolling out a sheet of puff pastry, but it can be done in advance and chilled until ready to bake.
Serve this Phyllo Pizza for lunch or light dinner with a salad and a warm baguette, or cut it into small squares and serve as an appetizer for a drinks gathering!
Ingredients for 4 servings
12 sheets of phyllo pastry from one packet. Roughly 9”x14” / 23x35cm, so they fit on your baking tray. This is usually sold frozen, so remove from the freezer the night before you plan to use it.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 oz. (85g) parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup pesto or eggplant/garlic spread, or any other pesto-y type spread!
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 ball of smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 small eggplant, thinly sliced into rounds
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, cut into wedges
smoked garlic salt or Maldon flaky sea salt
parmesan shavings to finish
Phyllo dough can look a bit daunting if you’ve never worked with it, but it’s really quite easy and it’s VERY forgiving. Here are our top tips for working with phyllo:
For best results, thaw overnight in the fridge and bring to room temperature before using.
Prepare all ingredients and your work station for your recipe before opening the thawed phyllo dough.
Make sure your hands are dry.
When you remove the thawed phyllo from the package and unroll the sheets, cover it with a sheet of waxed paper and then place a damp tea towel on top of the waxed paper to keep it from drying out.
As you remove each sheet of phyllo, cover the remainder of the dough.
Don’t panic if a piece tears, it can easily be patched up with a brush of butter.
First roast the veggies if you haven’t done so already (this is a great one for leftovers). Preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and toss the eggplant, tomatoes and red onion with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway. Remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper. Set aside until you’re ready to make the pizza.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter. Grate the parmesan. Peel off the first sheet of phyllo (cover the remainder) and place it on the baking tray. Brush all over with butter and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan. Peel off the 2nd layer, place on top of the first layer and butter it. Peel off the third layer and brush with butter and sprinkle with Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining layers, adding cheese on every other layer. When you’ve brushed the twelfth layer of phyllo with butter, roll up any remaining dough and return to the fridge for another use, or make another pizza to serve alongside this one!
Spread pesto in a thin layer over the base of the phyllo dough. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella, arrange the roasted veggies on top, and finally top with the sliced, smoked mozzarella. You can cover it with cling film and a damp towel and leave it in the fridge at this point for 4 hours or so, until you’re ready to bake it. To bake, remove it from the fridge whilst you preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Bake for 20 minutes until the edges are golden and flaky. Finish with parmesan shavings and smoked flaky salt.