Friday, May 9, 2014

TWD: Scallop & Pesto Purses (sans the scallops & pesto..)

Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking with Julia
by Dorie Greenspan

Scallop and Pesto Purses were chosen for this weeks recipe.

My husband loves scallops, I have been wanting to make these for him for the longest time. I had nominated this recipe several times in the past, and it was finally chosen!

Unfortunately, the scallop version would not fit into my schedule. Every time I was ready to make these, he was either at class, a meeting, or out of town.  So as not to be any later in posting this recipe (again, out of town..), I changed the filling to something more of my liking (scallops - meh) - since it would only be me eating them.

I filled my purses with goat cheese, onion confit, and dried figs - the same ingredients I used to top this pizza - which I loved, and thought it would make a great filling for these cute little purses.

Today, phyllo was not my friend. You need to work quickly with phyllo so it does not dry out and tear. Well, mine was tearing the minute I unrolled it from the package; frustrating to say the least. I was supposed to get six squares from the sheets of phyllo. A good portion had torn, so I was only able to get four squares per sheet. This was not a big deal, being it was only me that would be enjoying these little tidbits.

Make sure your phyllo is well buttered or oiled, it makes for easier handling. The recipe instructs you to to tie the bundles with buttered string to hold the tops closed. I skipped this - the oiled phyllo held together quite well on its own.

I began wondering why my phyllo was tearing so easy when I unrolled it. I had just purchased it two weeks ago, and the package had not been opened yet (kept in the freezer till the day before). I had never thought to check for an expiration date. It reads, best used by May 2, 2014. Today is the 9th.  Hmmm.. maybe that was the problem?

I'll find out, for I have another recipe I will be making this month that calls for phyllo (which I was hoping to use up the rest from this box). You can be sure I will be checking the date before I purchase my next box.

If my next try with phyllo turns out well, I'll revisit this recipe using the original ingredients called for in the recipe. They were fun to make, frustrations aside, and are impressive looking.

To see other takes on this recipe, as well as the original version, check out my fellow bakers' links over on the Tuesdays with Dorie site.

Scallop and Pesto Purses
Makes twelve purses

4 sheets phyllo
1/3 cup clarified unsalted butter (I used melted butter for some, and olive oil for others)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
12 sea scallops
2 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons pesto

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and keep it close at hand. Cut 12 pieces of string (I skipped this part) into 6-inch lengths and butter the strings.

Stack the sheets of phyllo on a work surface. Working with one sheet of phyllo at a time and keeping the others covered with a kitchen towel, brush a sheet with butter and sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese (I omitted – being I filled my purses with goat cheese). Cover with a second piece of phyllo and give it a coating of butter and a sprinkling of cheese. Using a long sharp knife and a ruler as a guide cut the sheets lengthwise in half and crosswise in thirds. Place one scallop in the center of each of the 6 rectangles, top with a little sliced scallion, and add a dab of pesto. Gather up the corners of the rectangles, tie the purses with the buttered strings, and place them on the jelly-roll pan. Repeat with remaining phyllo and scallops.

Bake the purses for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Snip off the strings and serve immediately.

You can assemble the purses early in the day and keep them covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them, at which point they may need an extra 2 or 3 minutes of baking time. Once baked, the purses should be served quickly.

Baking with Julia/Dorie Greenspan


  1. I struggle with phyllo too. A lot. Your husband will love the scallop version. P.S. Love the plate!!!

  2. Your filling version sounds delicious...and the thyme sprig garnish is pretty.

  3. Maybe if you bring the phyllo to room temperature before you even get it out of the packaging that would help to keep it intact? I am guessing this is happening because of the condensation when the phyllo is defrosting. Love your filling idea and the so elegant looking purses!

  4. Pretty presentation & the filling choice sounds delicious.

  5. Oh! So delicious :) Very elegant too!
    Have a nice week

  6. Love the thyme ties! Nice work pushing through the phyllo troubles. They look amazing.

  7. Beautiful adaptation!!! I know I'd love the scallop version...but had another group post scheduled that same day. Hope to make this one up. I've had the same trouble with phyllo...ugh.

  8. Simply beautiful, Cathleen! Figs, goat cheese and onion…sounds fabulous! I like your take much better than the scallop version!

  9. Cathleen, that filo dough... I have had my qualms with that many times. I kept looking for different companies until I found one that is realiable, in the sense that the dough almost never breaks or cracks - I believe there are huge differences in quallity with filo dough, at least around here. I did use my reliable one for the CCC pie, it turned out fabulous. Be that as it may, your filo purses are a pure delight with the goat cheese, onions and figs, absolutely fabulous!

    1. Thank you, Andrea! I did have better luck with the CCC pie. :)

  10. Goat cheese, onion confit, and figs sounds like an incredible combination. I'm so glad the filo worked better in the zucchini pie.


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