Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 56th installment. The recipe is Scallop and Pesto Purses.This was a phyllo-handling success story (unlike the summer vegetable tart from a previous installment). I bought phyllo at an Armenian grocery store, where I had a choice of four different kinds (!). I think it was relatively fresh, and ended up being easy to handle. These were layers of two sheets, sandwiched together with butter and shredded parmesan cheese, cut into smaller rectangles, and then each rectangle wrapped around a scallop topped by a dollop of pesto and some scallions.
I got the packages assembled, and tied with buttered strings, as specified. Once I bundled them up, some cracks formed in the bottom folds, which was worrisome, as I thought it might allow the contents to leak out. I put them in the fridge for a few hours, and then baked them as specified, for 20 minutes. I thought the result was OK - good brown crispy phyllo on top, and good savory flavor. The soggy bases of the "purses" were kind of disappointing, although not surprising - the phyllo doesn't seem dense enough to keep in the liquid of a scallop. I did dry the scallops before wrapping, but maybe there's some other way to make them not release so much liquid (or maybe the filling could be something less moist. It seems like this kind of appetizer would be nicer if you could pick it up and eat it, rather than using a plate and fork. I wasn't sure if the strings were really needed - they were fussy to attach and remove, and squeezing together the top of the purse seemed to form a seal.
Now to figure out what to do with the rest of the phyllo dough.... :-)