Caprese Inspired Phyllo Pastry Bake, is just what the doctor ordered to help us out of the long-lasting winter blues. Fresh enticing flavors and beautiful colors playing wonderfully on our palate creating a wave of smiles and positive vibes.
Song of the day: "24K Magic" by Bruno Mars.
Caprese Inspired Phyllo Pastry Bake, takes the idea of a fresh Caprese salad and puts a warm cheesy crispy delectable twist on it leaving nothing but brilliance and incredible feelings of flavor, texture and aromas on our senses!
Caprese to me says freshness, vibrant flavors, and creamy textures meeting in a well balanced, all-round taste experience. Nice ripe tomatoes, fresh hand worked mozzarella, and nice runs of olive oil and leaves of fragrant basil. These are the stars of a Caprese salad and one most people know and love. Well, I have to say I am sick and tired of this winter that just doesn't want to let us go. The snow shoveling is still a weekly event, cool nights, and those gloomy cloudy days that set precedence for yet another snowfall, what I'm left with is a bit of the spring has sprung and it's still cold and snowing blues!
Well, I am going to fight back. How, you ask? By making a dish that just oozes freshness and spring. I keep getting this vision of the Caprese and those vibrant colors but I want to play with my food and I am always looking at what has to be used in the freezer or fridge. The leftover phyllo pastry is really crying out to me to be used. I am thinking that I want to use it in a very unusual way. I am also wanting color and creaminess just like a Caprese and so a quick stop at the Italian Centre Shop takes me home with multi-colored cherry tomatoes, some fresh mozzarella, lemon-scented goat cheese, and fresh basil that I always have to rub and smell just because it makes me feel so good. I have a real treat for you in this one and that is a homemade ricotta that my mom made with my Godmother Maria. I have to tell you, this ricotta is out of this world good. Rich, smooth, and oh so creamy. I was glad to hear that they made quite a bit and for the sake of not wanting it to spoil I 'snafooed' a bit and I am going to use it in this recipe. Now all I have to do is figure out how I am going to pull this inspiration together.
I have to tell you I love creating on the fly like this. It reminds me of when I used to sing and I would get the band just to start playing and I would improve some lyrics, now that was an intensely incredible experience. And I think I am going for another one with this Caprese Inspired Phyllo Pastry Bake.
Peel back the layers of this Caprese Inspired Phyllo Pastry Bake!
Here is the deal with this dish, we have the cheese component, the beautiful cherry tomatoes, the basil, and most of all those incredibly fine layers of phyllo. We need a nice base to hold the bake together so I used 6 layers of phyllo and in between each paper of thin phyllo a good brushing of olive oil mixed with melted butter. This will give such flavor and ensure a wonderfully butter crisp foundation.
I combine the goat cheese, ricotta, and pesto. I whip it until it is so smooth and silky. I spread a nice amount of the cheese mixture onto the layers of phyllo topped with four layers of olive oil/butter-brushed phyllo sheets. Now for those cherry tomatoes, I want them to shine and so I dressed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper and laid them on the phyllo and to really kick this layer up, some fresh basil leaves and morsels of fresh creamy mozzarella. This is not even finished yet, let alone baked, and it is smelling absolutely amazing, but patience is a virtue and one I was bestowed with, so let us continue on. To make a long story short another four layers of buttered phyllo then some more cheese filling, phyllo, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and finally, a nice 6 layer topping of the brushed olive oil, buttered phyllo.
I am lifting the dish and I have to tell you it has some weight, but I am thinking that after it is baked those layers are going to separate, become airy and crispy and the weight will be no more. The oven is nice and hot at 375 degrees F and in goes my lovely Caprese inspired creation.
OMG, the aroma is so so good! I am like a kid standing in front of a candy store looking through the front window, watching all these layers crisp up and watching the juices starting to bubble. I want the top a bit more golden so I turn the oven to a low grill and a few minutes watch as the beige surface is transforming right before my eyes and my eyes are so bright and enticed and the minute I see the golden color conquering the surface I pull it out of the oven, and yes, I am going to use oven mitts, lol.
I let it cool just a bit, and now the moment I have been waiting for. I cut through with a knife and all I am hearing is the knife singing crispiness muffled by the creamy goat and ricotta cheese. Pulling the piece from the folds I am taken back by the lovely juicy cherry tomatoes nestled in those light flakey separated layers of the phyllo. Then that creamy filling not only looks good but smells amazing and those pockets of melted mozzarella are calling my name and I am answering with a nice forkful of this delightfully delectable savory treat. Okay, someone call a doctor I think I am dead and gone to heaven. This is absolutely amazing. The butter/olive oil mix is so beautiful on the crispy folds of the phyllo that are like savory candy on my tongue and lead me right into that creamy rich ricotta cheese married amazingly together with that acidic goat cheese and those bright notes of lemon, and that pesto. I love the way the pesto comes in like a little creek finding its way to my taste buds. Then, an explosion, as a tomato burst and melts in my mouth and I taste that sweet basil. A nice surprise velvetiness comes in as my fork scoops up a mozzarella pocket.
I have found the promise land and I can't wait to share it, and that I did. Some went to my mom's dinner where I served it as an appetizer, and some other pieces I shared with fellow co-workers and the praises really filled my heart. I am so pleased with this recipe and loved sharing it. If someone asked me why I love cooking, I would answer because it is a way of showing love and gratitude and also it brings people together in a passionate and personal social way in this day and age of text messaging and emails.
Are you tired of this long oh-so-overdone winter and are feeling a little depressed and exhausted? Forget the antidepressants. This Caprese Inspired Phyllo Pastry Bake has everything to shake those blues out of you with a little love and tenderness not to mention a host of colorful flavors and textures just enough to turn that frown into a full blown out smile.
Song of the day: "24K Magic" by Bruno Mars.
P.S. Clear the kitchen and get your dancing shoes on, Bruno has a way of getting you up and moving!Print
- 1 package phyllo sheets
- ¼ cup evo oil
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- ⅓ cup pesto
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2o0 g lemon goat cheese
- 500g multi-colored organic cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 500 g fresh mozzarella
- 2 Tbsp evo oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
- Pinch of dried oregano
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Thaw phyllo pastry sheets if frozen and preheat oven to 375° F.
- In a bowl mix ricotta cheese, goat cheese, and pesto. Whisk it until it is well incorporated and smooth. Set aside.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and toss into a medium bowl.
- Drizzle in 2 tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and toss in oregano, minced garlic and fresh chopped basil and toss well. Set aside.
- In a ramekin pour in ¼ cup evo oil and melt 2 tablespoon butter and pour into olive oil and blend. Set aside.
- Take mozzarella and cut into bite-size morsels and set aside.
- Get a 9 x 14 deep baking dish and brush the bottom and sides with the olive oil and butter mixture.
- Take phyllo pastry sheets and cut in half width wise.
- Take one sheet and place in baking dish and brush the top with the olive oil mixture. Continue this until you have 6 layers of the phyllo all brushed with the oil/butter mixture.
- Now take the ricotta goat cheese mixture and spread half of it on top the phyllo in the baking dish.
- Next, brush 4 half sheets of phyllo with oil and butter, and place on top of ricotta mixture in baking dish, and top that with some of the cherry tomato mixture. Place in half of the fresh basil leaves and ½ of the mozzarella chunks.
- Next is another 4 layers of oil and butter brushed phyllo, then the rest of the ricotta goat cheese, followed by another 4 oil and butter brushed phyllo sheets, and topped again with some more of the tomato mixture leaving some of this mixture for garnishing.
- The last step is 6 oil and butter brushed phyllo sheets and that's it, now into the oven.
- Bake for 40 minutes and for the last minute turn oven to low broil and gold up the top a bit. Then take out of the oven.
- Cut into nice serving size pieces and top with a bit of the leftover cherry tomato mixture and some chopped basil. Ready to serve.
The cook time will vary from oven to oven and also for convection ovens, so be sure to check on it periodically.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
When I am not cooking, I enjoy playing musical instruments, singing, writing. I have learned over the years to live in gratitude and enjoy the moment.