Something Near and Dear, That’s All Mine, Just Me

My Basic Phyllo Dough

‘Servings’ will depend on the specific recipe. This is meant for general ratios.


1 c (150 g) all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting and rolling

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

3 tbsp (45 ml) raki* or white wine vinegar

Room temperature water, as needed

*A Note On Raki

Cretan raki or tsikoudia is a Greek alcoholic beverage made from distilled grape must, originating from Crete. It should not be confused with the anise-flavored beverage, also referred to as raki or ouzo depending on where in the world you are. Greeks also drink tsipouro, which can be similar to Cretan raki or tsikoudia. Similar to champagne versus ‘sparkling wine’, regional designations of Cretan raki or tsikoudia (or any other Greek beverage) may depend on where and how the product was distilled, and if there is an associated protected designation.

For this recipe, I’m referring to Cretan raki. If you can’t find raki, a mild Italian grappa could do. You can also use white wine vinegar (very common) or even sparkling water. The purpose of the raki and oil is to help achieve flakiness of the dough and increased pliancy. I would not use vodka as a substitute, for example, as the raki comes from grapes and the flavor is not matched simply by substituting another mild, clear alcohol.


For the dough:

  1. Place the flour into a large bowl. In the center, make a small well (like making fresh pasta) and pour in 3 tbsp (45 ml) of olive oil and 3 tbsp (45 ml) of raki.
  2. Mix with a spoon until the wet ingredients are incorporated, and then start adding room temperature water a little bit at a time but you probably won’t need more than 1/4 c. As the dough starts to come together, ditch the spoon and start combining and kneading with your hands. Keep adding a little water and kneading until the dough is fully combined and smooth. It should be a little sticky but not overly wet or too sticky. If you want, you can turn out the dough onto a flat surface to continue kneading. Knead the dough until smooth, do not overwork. Wrap in plastic wrap so it does not dry, and set aside for at least 20 minutes to rest.

Rolling out the dough:

Rolling out the dough will depend entirely on the pie you want to make; thick versus thin phyllo, round versus square, multi-sheet or one layer. It’s whatevz ya want. Whatever the case, you will need a rolling pin, and if you want to get really thin sheets, you’ll need a thin wooden dowel or you can cheat with a pasta machine.

Thin versus thick/rustic dough


You can see through the thin dough in the light

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset


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