Apple Nest Fail

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As I have said in an early post on CookingShorts, Recipe Perfection – Does It Exist?,  every cook or chef has a bad day.  Sometimes recipes just don’t turn out the way you envision.  Here’s an example of one that recently didn’t work out for me.  I’m not accustom to working with phyllo dough, but I had this awesome idea of creating a recipe called “Apple Nest” using phyllo and seasonal apples.  Unfortunately, this really didn’t turn out as I had envisioned… 

Apple Nest FailWhat I did: 

In a bowl, I mixed sugar and pumpkin pie mix together with cubed apples.  I coated a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray.  Using the cold phyllo, I gently cut out squares.  I layered together 4 sheets at a time.  In between each sheet, I applied a lightly coating on melted butter.  I tucked the layered sheets of phyllo into each tin and spooned the apple mixture on top.  I placed them in the oven at 400.  At about 20 minutes, I checked on them and noticed that the tips of the nest were starting to burn.  I removed them from the oven and allowed them to cool for about 15 minutes.  When I tried to remove the nest from the tins, they just fell apart.  The phyllo cracked and crumbled and the bottom was soggy and sticky.  We decided to try one anyways.  The nest itself had good flavor but the apples were undercooked. 

Need your suggestions:

I have extra phyllo to try try again but I need your help.  What should I have done different? 

Should I have precooked the apples prior to adding them to the tin?

Should I have cooked the apples and phyllo separate and put it all together before serving?

I look forward to your ideas and suggestions.  Thank you!

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2 Comments

  1. Emily Horrocks says:

    Okay so here’s my “suggestions” since I really don’t know what would help but maybe, just maybe the following could. These are in no special order.
    1. How diced were your apples? I’d make sure they were tiny cubes about 1/2″.
    2. Lower the temp of your oven. I think 400 was too much, I’d try 350 for starters.
    3. Brush each layer of phyllo with an egg wash as you set in the muffin tin. Maybe it’ll help hold it together?
    4. Cover the muffin pan with tin foil for at least half of the cooking time.
    5. I might do what you suggested and bake the phyllo dough by itself for just a few minutes before adding the apples. You mentioned the bottoms weren’t appealing, maybe this would help. Cover with muffin pan with foil though as to avoid burning the edges.

    GOOD LUCK! I hope this recipe works out for you cause it sounds GOOD!!

  2. Hannah Pittman says:

    Phyllo dough can be difficult to work with. Make sure you clarify the butter. I would not use cooking spray on the pan, liberally brush the butter on the bottom of the pan to start with. You should brush the butter onto every layer you put in the pan. Using a pastry brush with natural hairs is best. When you cook it in the oven, the lower the temperature, the more beautiful results you will get. Think–cook for 40+ minutes at 275. Each layer will cook and give you crisp beautifully flaky layers. I have never cooked muffin sized anything with phyllo. I have done baklava and spanikopita (pan sized), and full commercial baking sheet size. Also, covering the phyllo with a slightly dampened towel while you work with it, can make it easier to handle.

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