PASTA PHYLLO APO TO LEVITHI – PELOPONISOS
For the syrup
- 4 cups sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 medium cinnamon stick
- 5 whole cloves
- Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
- 1 strip lemon zest
- 11⁄2 to 2 cups well-drained Greek citrus fruit
- spoon sweets (bitter orange, lemon,
- bergamot), to taste
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 1⁄3 cup ouzo
- 1 cup coarse dried bread crumbs from stale
- 2 cups chopped blanched almonds
- 1 pound commercial phyllo, defrosted and at room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
Makes about twenty-four (2-inch) pieces
1. Make the syrup: Heat the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar dissolves, add the cinnamon, cloves, lemon juice, and zest. Simmer for 10 minutes, remove from the heat, and cool completely.
2. Finely chop the spoon sweets.
3. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Add the ouzo and mix well. Combine the bread crumbs with the almonds and mix into the egg-yolk mixture. Beat the whites separately in a large bowl until stiff peaks form, then fold vigorously into the bread crumbs and almonds with a rubber spatula, so that the mixture is completely combined.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly oil a large jelly roll pan. Unroll the phyllo. Keep covered with a cloth and work quickly. Take 4 sheets at a time, brushing each with melted butter, and stack vertically in front of you. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the chopped spoon sweets in a straight thin line starting about an inch from the bottom, leaving an inch on both sides. Top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the egg-and-nut mixture. Fold in the sides and roll up carefully into a tight cylinder. Place on the baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining phyllo and filling until all the ingredients are used up. Place the cylinders next to one another on the pan. Pierce the surface of the phyllo at random intervals with a fork or a toothpick. Bake until the phyllo is golden, but not too dark, about 45 minutes.
5. As soon as the pastry comes out of the oven, let cool slightly, cut into 2-inch pieces, and dip with a slotted spoon into the cooled syrup. Store the individual pieces in pastry cups inside a cookie tin and keep in a cool, dry place. The pasta phyllo will keep for about a week.