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Bake eggs in pastry nest for holiday brunch

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    With spring — and Easter — upon us, baked eggs in phyllo dough are guaranteed to spruce up a seasonal brunch. It may look complicated, but it really couldn’t be simpler.

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 is popular today in Turkey and Greece. That fear is based on phyllo’s thinness and delicacy, which can lead to cracking. But following these tips you should have no problem.

Find phyllo dough in the frozen food section of your supermarket. Always 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 plastic wrap, then cover the plastic wrap with a damp towel. You’ll work with just one sheet at a time, keeping the rest under wraps.

To keep phyllo moist and help it brown properly, lightly brush both sides of each sheet with oil. Then simply shape the dough into “nests” by scrunching in the dough on the edges. Make the nests about 4 inches around, the edges about 1-1/2-inches high. The formula for how to shape it? There is none. All scrunching is good.

So — phew! — that was the only hard part. Now just fill with a slice of prosciutto, grated cheese and a spoonful of pesto, and top it with a raw egg. Done! In about 30 minutes flat, you’ve prepared a very elegant and delicious entree.

BAKED EGGS IN PHYLLO NESTS

Sara Moulton, Associated Press

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto (3 ounces total)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated unsalted mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 4 large eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

Lightly brush work surface with some of the oil. Arrange a sheet of phyllo on counter with long edge facing you; cover remainder with plastic wrap and a damp towel so it won’t dry out.

Brush sheet with more oil. Gather edges in to form a 4-inch-wide nest, keeping center flat. Use large spatula to transfer nest to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and oil to make 3 more nests.

Ease a slice of prosciutto into center of each nest, folding it to fit and letting edges curve up a bit to form more of a nest. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese on top, spreading cheese out to form an indentation in the middle. Spoon pesto over cheese and crack 1 egg into center of each nest.

Bake in lower third of oven until whites are set but yolks are still runny and phyllo is golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 3 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per nest: 364 calories, 27 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 241 mg cholesterol, 870 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, no fiber, 1 g sugar, 18 g protein.

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