Leaved pastries are traditionally found in many parts of the world – Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and China. All leaved pastries (apart from puff pastry) are made from a sheet of dough that is as thin as tissue paper – so thin you can read through it.
Traditionally, the dough is made by hand by gently rolling, stretching or pressing it into very thin sheets. Now we can buy it ready made.
In New Zealand it is sold as filo (or phyllo) pastry. Before baking, the dough is brushed with butter or oil. It is then used in different ways depending on the recipe. It can be cut into sheets and layered in a tin, cut to make individual rolls or rolled up as one large roll.
The pastry is filled with all sorts of delicious fillings – either sweet or savoury – for entrees, mains or desserts. These can include fruit, nuts and honey, meat or cheese and spinach. Popular recipes are traditional strudel from Austria, baklava from the Mediterranean, borek from the Middle East and spring rolls from China.