Tunisian Potato Turnovers
makes 16 pastries
2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 tbsp plain nonfat yogurt
2 tbsp minced scallions
1 tsp ground caraway (optional)
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne
1 to 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
12 sheets filo pastry, each about 12 x 17 inches
3 tbsp olive oil
whole caraway seeds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Cook the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and garlic in water to cover until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and thoroughly mash them by hand with the yogurt, scallions, caraway, coriander, cumin, cayenne, lemon juice, and salt until very smooth. Add more salt to taste.
Prepare a baking sheet with a light coating of oil or cooking spray or use one with a nonstick coating. Set it aside near your work area.
Place the filling, filo, oil, a pastry brush, and a clean damp towel on the counter within easy reach. Unfold the stack of filo and in one smooth motion, remove a sheet and place it flat on the counter top with one of the short sides nearest you. Brush it lightly with olive oil. Working quickly, add a second and then a third sheet, oiling them lightly. Cover the remaining stack of filo with the damp towel as you work to prevent it from drying out and becoming brittle.
Cut lengthwise through the three oiled sheets to make four strips. Place 2 rounded tablespoons of filling on each strip, one near the bottom and one about a third of the way up. With a table knife or the back of a spoon, spread the filling to thinly cover the bottom half of each strip. Fold the lower left corner up and over diagonally so that the bottom edge is aligned with the right side. Fold straight up and then to the left. Continue to fold as you would a flag to make a small triangular pastry. Place each triangle on the baking sheet.
Repeat 3 more times until all of the filo and filling has been used and you have 16 turnovers. Brush the tops with any remaining oil and sprinkle them with whole caraway seeds, if desired. The turnovers can be tightly covered and refrigerated at this point for several hours before baking.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and golden. The turnovers should be served soon after removing them from the oven because the pastry loses its crispness as it sits.
-Moosewood Restaurant, Low-Fat Favorites