These pastries have been given many names by many cultures; I use the Turkish word in deference to my friend Ahmet Guvener, who showed me how to make them many years ago.

  • 1 pound frozen phyllo dough
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • Any of the fillings listed below

Allow the phyllo to thaw in its box overnight in the refrigerator. After preparing the filling, melt a stick of butter in a small pan and unwrap the dough. Lay out a sheet of dough and brush it liberally with butter. Cover with a second sheet and brush again. With a sharp knife, cut latitudinally into six strips. Place a tablespoon of filling at the bottom of each strip. Fold the dough over the filling and continue to fold (in the manner of folding a flag) to form an isosceles right triangle.

Repeat this process, using two sheets at a time, while keeping the remaining dough covered with a damp towel. Arrange the triangles in layers on a baking sheet, to be refrigerated until baking time. Reheat and supplement the butter as necessary. With luck, a one-pound box of dough, which contains about twenty sheets, will yield sixty pastries.

At serving time, preheat an oven to 400° F. Spread the pastries on baking sheets. Reheat the butter, brush the tops, and bake for about ten minutes, until lightly browned.

Spinach, Feta, Parsley, and Dill

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 10-ounce boxes frozen spinach
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 1/2 pound feta
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and cayenne to taste

Thaw the spinach. Mince the scallions (white part only) and saut#&233 in olive oil. Add the spinach to the pan and cook over high heat for several minutes. Allow to cool and squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach back into the pan. Reduce over high heat to two tablespoons. Crumble the feta, mince the parsley and dill, and mix in a bowl with the spinach and reduced liquid. Mix in the egg, lightly beaten, and salt and cayenne to taste.

Potato, Onion, Cumin, and Mint

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced mint
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Peel, boil, and mash the potatoes. Peel and mince the onion and garlic and saut#&233 in butter until softened. Beat the egg and mix in a bowl with the potato, onion, garlic, and remaining ingredients.

Bleu Cheese and Walnuts

  • 1/2 pound bleu cheese
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Cayenne to taste

Cream together the bleu and cream cheese; mix in the walnuts and cayenne.