This crunchy, creamy pastry is a blend of sweet, savory, creamy and crunchy and gets the seal of approval from Julianne, the intern.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Creamy Hazelnut Pastry (The Intern’s Delight) (Prep. time about 30 minutes. Yield about 24 pastries)


15 oz. whole milk Ricotta cheese

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground coriander

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

2 Tb. honey

Pinch salt

Nut Layer:

1 C. chopped hazelnuts (or almonds)

¼ C. brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ stick softened butter


12 sheets Phyllo (thawed. Keep covered with a damp paper towel once you unroll it to keep sheets from drying and breaking

1 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare a sheet (jellyroll) pan with a sheet of parchment paper, lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Combine ricotta, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, honey and salt in a medium bowl and blend well. (Tip:  spray the measuring spoon with a little cooking spray when spooning out the honey to allow it to slide off the spoon more easily.)  In a smaller bowl, crumble together the nuts, butter, ginger and cinnamon using your fingers.  Working quickly, lay down a sheet of phyllo, brush the entire surface with melted butter and repeat until you have a base layer, six sheets thick.  Cover remaining sheets with a damp towel.  Pour the cheese filling on the bottom layer of pastry and spread evenly to the edges (using an off-set spatula works best).  Crumble the nut mixture evenly over the top.  Lay down a sheet of phyllo and brush the entire surface with melted butter and repeat with the remaining sheets. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and ground coriander.  Poke some steam holes in the top with a sharp knife.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until pastry is crisp and lightly browned.  Cut into about 3” squares. Allow to cool or refrigerate before serving to let the ricotta and butter to set up.

*The coriander adds a little bit of an exotic, citrus note to the filling without a more over-powering taste of lemon.  I also found I preferred a slightly more sweet taste of chopped almonds over the hazelnuts, but that is a personal matter of taste.  You may also want to experiment with other nuts or leave them out altogether if you like.)

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