Fruit and Cheese Plate: Phyllo-Wrapped Cheeses with Fruit Garnishes
Makeup: Keep phyllo covered with damp paper towels before use. Cut cheeses to desired shapes; we used rectangles for Manchego, triangles for Brie, and formed bleu cheese into balls for easier handling to make purses. Generously brush butter on a phyllo sheet, then fold in half and brush with butter again; fold in half, and brush with butter. Place the cheese in the middle of the sheet, then continue to fold phyllo according to the shape of the cheese, always brushing dough with butter so it will stick to itself. Once all servings have been wrapped, place on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake in a 350ºF deck oven for 10-15 minutes, or until phyllo is puffed and crisped and slightly browned.
The cheese course is an important part of French cuisine and comes after the main course and before dessert. There are numerous kinds of cheese - soft, hard, triple cream, cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, etc. - and all are used for different purposes, according to each cheese’s smell, flavor, and texture. Phyllo dough, on the other hand, is very neutral and, therefore, good for working with cheese because it will not interfere with a cheese’s flavor profile. Each sheet and fold of phyllo is brushed with melted butter so the dough will seal to itself. When baking cheese and phyllo, it is more important to make sure the dough is crisped and puffed, rather than how golden or brown it is in color.
When we baked them, all of our rectangles, triangles, and purses leaked, leaving about half of the cheese inside. It was disappointing but not unexpected. Plating proved to be a challenge, as there were so many components that needed to go on the plate; this may not have been my favorite to plate, but I enjoyed working with cheese and fruit pairings.