For brunch, bake your eggs in a pastry nest

  • Eggs baked in pastry nests made of phyllo make a festive dish for brunch.

    Eggs baked in pastry nests made of phyllo make a festive dish for brunch. Sara Moulton for AP

By Sara Moulton
Associated Press
Posted3/28/2018 6:01 AM

With spring -- and Easter -- upon us, I offer a dish guaranteed to spruce up a seasonal brunch. It may look complicated, but it really couldn't be simpler. The only hump to get over is fear of phyllo (also spelled filo), a pastry dough that originated in Turkey and that's popular today in Turkey and Greece. That fear is based on phyllo's singular thinness and delicacy, which can lead to cracking. But if you follow these tips, you should have no problem. And, hey, it certainly beats making pastry from scratch.

You'll likely find phyllo dough in the frozen food section of your supermarket. Before working with it, you should let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator, not on the counter. After taking the stack of phyllo sheets out of the package, cover the top layer with a piece of plastic wrap, then cover the plastic wrap with a damp towel. You'll work with just one sheet of phyllo at a time, keeping the rest under wraps.


In order to keep the phyllo moist and help it brown properly, you have to lightly brush both sides of each sheet with oil. Then you simply shape the dough into a "nest" by scrunching in the dough on the edges. When you're done, the floor of the nest should be about 3 inches in diameter, the edges about 1½-inches high. The formula for how to shape it? There is none. All scrunching is good.

So -- phew! -- that was the only hard part of the recipe. Now just line the floor of the nest with a slice of prosciutto, sprinkle in some grated cheese and a spoonful of pesto, and top it with a raw egg. The prosciutto, cheese and pesto combine to prevent the egg from leaking through the bottom of the pastry. (Try to find a refrigerated pesto, which tends to be greener and fresher than the ones from the shelf.) Done! In about 30 minutes flat, you've prepared a very elegant and delicious entree. Your guests will be delighted.

• Sara Moulton is host of public television's "Sara's Weeknight Meals." She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows including "Cooking Live." Her latest cookbook is "HomeCooking 101."

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