Tyropetes (Fennel-Spiced Cheese Triangles)

 Can be assembled up to two days ahead and refrig­erated, or frozen for sev­eral months. From freezer, brush unthawed triangles with melted butter; bake 15 minutes longer.

 36 appetizers

4     green onions, finely chopped
ounces cream cheese, room temperature
ounces ricotta or fanner’s cheese
1     cup crumbled feta cheese, rinsed
½   cup grated Gruyère cheese
3     tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2     teaspoons fennel seed
1     egg, well beaten
12   phyllo pastry sheets (about ½pound)
½   cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted with ½ cup olive oil
Sesame Seeds

Combine onion, all cheeses, parsley and fennel seed in medium bowl and mix well with fork. Blend in egg.

 Stack phyllo on work surface. Cut lengthwise into thirds; stack again. Cover phyllo with waxed paper and damp towel to prevent drying.

 Remove top strip of phyllo and brush with butter mixture. With short end in front of you, fold long sides into center to form strip approximately 11 x 2 inches. Place 1 teaspoon cheese filling at bottom end. Fold pastry strip up over filling so bottom edge meets left edge, forming a triangle. Continue folding back at right angles to make triangular shape, tucking in any remaining phyllo at end. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo and filling.

 Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter baking sheet. Arrange phyllo tri­angles on sheet. Brush generously with butter mixture and sprinkle with sesame seed. Bake triangles 1 sheet at a time, brushing once with butter mixture halfway through baking time, until crisp and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

Folding Phyllo Triangles

Place 6 sheets of phyllo pastry on a flat surface, one on top of the other. Recover the remaining pastry with waxed paper and a damp towel. Refrigerate until needed. Cut the stack of 6 sheets of pastry into strips approximately 3 inches wide, or the size your recipe specifies. Remove 6 strips, stack the remaining strips, cover with waxed paper and damp towel until needed.

Place the 6 strips side by side on flat surface. Brush with butter quickly; dust lightly with breadcrumbs. Fold each strip in half from top to bottom.

Place about 1 teaspoon of filling on the bottom end of pastry strip— end nearest you (Figure 1).

Fold the pastry strip back over the filling so the bottom edge meets the left edge, forming a right angle (Figure 2)

Continue folding back at right angles to make the triangular shape, tucking in any remaining phyllo at the end (Figures 3, 4 and 5).

 Brush generously with butter, place on baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze. When pastry is chilled and firm, cover with plastic wrap or layer in cardboard boxes. Wrap in freezerproof paper or foil and freeze. Bake in 350°F oven until golden and crisp, turning once; if frozen, defrost 30 minutes before baking.