Sunday, August 8, 2010

All right Girlichef, you can take your Phyllo Dough and Stuff it - Caribbean Coconut and Lemon Cups for "the Project" and 242sDay

Well, actually heather, you can fill it.  Stuffing it would imply a completely covered item, instead of the Phyllo Dough cups that I used to make these ...

Coconut and Lemon Cups

Warning, I am about to get nostalgic...

We all remember Amy Adams (Julie &; Julia) confronting the duck as she is about to debone the sucker.  "No fear, Julia, no fear".  While I have never in fact deboned a duck, I would have less fear of handling a duck and a knife than I do when I stand in front of phyllo dough (crap) in the store. 

I am amused to have a body of work.  But, you don't know how far you have come unless you can see where you have been.  I had a rare opportunity recently to shop for frozen items.  Usually it is an hour from store to freezer for me.  So, anything frozen is thawed by the time I get to my home away from home.  I was pondering making these in a pastry dough for a dessert sushi or a faux cannoli look.  And then I saw this product and thought a funny title would be better than an experimental look.

You see, it was a year ago today that I had my first experience with Phyllo Dough (crap).  Everything actually worked out very well, and I really should not have a fear of phyllo dough.  But I do.  I was working on an interpretation of a dish inspired by something Heather (GIRLICHEF) posted.  Just for giggles, here's a quote from that year old post...
So, I did have one small problem, phyllo dough (god curse it). I am trying to find recipes, cooking techniques and ingredients thatimprove my cooking skills and take me out of my comfort zone. Sure enough, I knew I was way out of my comfort zone when I left the butcher shop, sidestepped the fresh produce and checked every shelf in the bakery department. No Phyllo dough to be found. AHA I thought, it must be in the baking supplies aisle, next to the flour and pans. Nope. Finally, I did what i should have done earlier... ask directions. Sure enough, there it was in the frozen food aisle (silly me, not to look for dough in the frozen food aisle). But that was only the beginnings of my frustrations with this crap (oops, I mean this delicate delicacy)

I imagine that girlichef has beautiful dainty thin fingers that gracefully handled this delicate delicacy (crap). I do not. My pudgy little digits ripped through the first 5 sheets fast as you can say, "Bob's your uncle". Whatever I did ended up with half torn sheets, ripped sheets and holes rendering each sheet I tried useless.
Well, long story short, this was the first recipe that I posted where I took another bloggers' recipe, pondered why, how and what and came up with a totally new dish that was "inspired by".  My Vermont Pecan Praline Cups with a Whiskey Sauce had a resemblance to the look Heather had in her Walnuts + Maple Syrup + Phyllo = Heavenly Bites recipe.  I wanted to make pralines outside on my grill (smoker actually), and I did it!  Very proud.

One year ago today, I started the never ending journey of becoming a cook, rather than a follower of recipes.  I have Heather and her Phyllo Dough (crap) recipe to thank for that.

And now, a year later, I have a desire to tell Heather to "take her Phyllo Dough (crap) and stuff it".  Her and her ingredients (say that word with a sneer)... 

But sadly, not to be...Pre-packaged short cuts are no answer to tried and true.

I was hoping to make these beauties, pop a few in my mouth, grab some amazing photographs and spread the word that fat fingers no longer need to fear phyllo dough (crap).  But the cups were too small to fit in my cupcake pan.  So, when I cooked them, they flattened out a bit.  The two that I showed above are by far the best looking ones I made (by very very far).

Also, they are too small.  One small bite in each cup.  The pre-packaged cups looked easy, but you only get 12 small servings.  had I used Heather's Phyllo Dough (crap), and made the cups myself, I would have gotten 3 times as many for the same price.  Even, assuming that I will ruin a half dozen sheets on the way to making them.  The recipe I made filled a bite of deliciousness in each cup and still had over half the goo left.

So, I spent a great deal to get a phyllo dough (crap) look without actually using phyllo dough (crap).

So, in order to make a funny title, in order to skip an opportunity to make a wonderful dish in a cup made of Phyllo Dough (crap); I went the easy way and tried a pre-packaged product.  I was wrong.  I should have confronted my fear and bought the real thing and skipped the shortcut.

BUT... with all the left over goo, I did make...

Coconut and Lemon Bars

And these worked GREAT!

The original recipe was inspired by Marguerite of the CAJUN DELIGHTS Blog (take a second to read her original post by clicking HERE)...

Here's Marguerite's recipe.  I made a few minor changes, highlighted in red...
3 large eggs
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (CRUZAN BANANA RUM)
2 tbls.'s fresh lemon juice (I used the juice of 1 lemon)
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
9 inch pie crust (no pastry, just poured into a baking dish)
Mix sugar and eggs in large bowl, with wire whisk. Add melted butter, vanilla, and lemon juice. Stir in coconut, last. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake @ 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes, or until browned and toothpick comes out clean. Sinfully delicious!
Like I said, I generously buttered and floured the bottom of a baking dish and poured the goo in, no pastry bottom.  I also chilled the dish over night to be sure the bars were cold and solid before I cut them.  Finally, I dusted with powdered sugar (top and bottom) so they would handle easier and have that pretty top.

This was incredibly easy.

The lemon shines, the coconut shines, The egg makes for a custard center and the baking adds a crispy top.  Just a hint of banana (remember, the alcohol cooks out, leaving the flavoring).  Plenty of butter to make it rich tasting.

I could have eaten the entire thing.  This is that good.  I have made several of Marguerite's recipes and they are always terrific.  And with dishes like these in her belly, I sure see why her blog is so cheery!

So, Heather, sorry about the "stuff it", I really wanted to sidestep using Phyllo Dough (crap).  But in hind sight, I wish I had stuck with my original idea.  And Mag's thanks for the original recipe.  I will be using this for my mysterious "the Project".

And I will be submitting this to Two for Tuesday.  While they generally ask that you submit a recipe using "Real Food", a post showing that there are no shortcuts should at least fall under the spirit of 242sDay (Click HERE)...


  1. Happy Anniversary. You come a great distance and I can hardly wait to see what you are cooking a year from now. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Great post and fear not the phyllo!

  3. OMG Dave, LMFAO!!! Seriously, my cheeks hurt from smiling. Man, has it been a year since that, um, incident!? Well, that just goes to show ya...handmade wins it every time ;) ...and no offense on the "stuff it" comment, tee hee. I loooove this filling and I'd probably be able to eat many of these bars...mmmm. So glad you're linking this to Two for Tuesdays this week!

  4. Great post Dave. Can't wait to see what you're cooking a year from now.

  5. Next year you'll be making your own phyllo dough. I can see it now...

    These look and sound amazing!

  6. Funny post, Dave. Nice save though:)

  7. Happy Blogiversary, cher! Your ingenuity is amazing and these look great! Merci beaucoup for the great shout out! I am flattered and I know what you mean about wanting to eat the whole thing. When I make this pie, I freeze half, right away, for that very reason. And I don't do phyllo dough either! lol Cheers!

  8. Looks great. Sounds delicious. :)

  9. Mmmmm....sooo good. My mouth is watering just looking at the picture.

    I am a new follower, hope you stop by my blog and follow me back

    I am following you from Tuesday Recipe Blog Hop, My Journey With Candida
    My entry this week is Make Your Own Nut Butters

  10. I've been cooking for a long time and I have never even tried to cook with phyllo dough! What you did cook looks and sounds delicious - lemon and coconut are always a winning team.

  11. Dave, I feel for you with the phyllo! My dad is greek and my mother has big hands, who do you think buttered the countless phyllo sheets over the years for his spanikopita and bakliva??? ME! Great fun article, sometimes I like the lessons learned in mistakes much better than the sucesses! Thanks for sharing this on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! :) Alex@amoderatelife

  12. Ok, my mouth is watering for some of these little treats. Thanks for linking up with Two for Tuesday.

  13. What a FUNNY post - a welcome stop as I make my way through the Two for Tuesday posts. Oh, yea I will take some of your leftover yumminess! thanks for linking!

  14. Great post - and the bars that you finally ended up with look divine. I think I would be skipping the phyllo and going straight to the bars. Delish!