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Cheese-Filled Pastries

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Cheese-Filled Pastries

6 oz feta cheese, crumbled

6 oz cottage cheese or shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground pepper

9 sheets filo dough, thawed in the refrigerator if frozen

1/4 cup clarified unsalted butter, melted

Peanut or olive oil for deep-frying

In a bowl, combine the feta cheese, cottage cheese or jack cheese, eggs, parsley, dill and nutmeg. Mix well, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the filo sheets from their package and lay the stacked sheets flat on a work surface. Cut the stack into quarters, forming squares measuring about 6 inches on a side. Cover the stack with a damp towel or plastic wrap to prevent the sheets from drying out. Working with 1 square at a time, place it on the work surface, brush it lightly with butter and then spoon a narrow strip of the cheese mixture (2-3 tablespoons) along one end, leaving a 3/4-inch border on the bottom and sides. Fold in the sides, bring the bottom up over the filling and then roll up like a cigar. Seal the edge with a little water and repeat with the remaining squares and filling until all have been used.

In a deep frying pan, pour in peanut or olive oil to a depth of 2 1/2 inches and heat to 350 degrees F. on a deep-frying thermometer (or until a tiny piece of filo dropped into the oil turns golden within moments). Working in batches, carefully slip the rolls into the hot oil and fry, turning as needed, until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes. Do not crowd the pan. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Arrange the rolls on a warmed platter and serve hot.