Admittedly, I spend a lot of time scrolling on TikTok, so I’m a bit of an expert on food trends. Like everyone else on the internet, I loved the feta pasta trend. The yogurt toast did not impress me. I was obsessed with the green goddess dressing. But when I saw a video for a dessert called “crinkle”, I was immediately intrigued.
Made with phyllo dough, the ply comes out of the oven a crispy, sweet and custard-covered delight. If TikTok is to be believed, it’s not only gorgeous, but also delicious. But is it too good to be true?
Before diving in headfirst, I scoured the internet for some history. A TikTok creator named Ramena, who uses the handle @Ramenasaidwowclaims to be the the inventor of the dessert and runs a bakery business that sells them. From what I can gather, his method is as follows: accordion fold two pieces of phyllo dough at a time (this is where the “fold” comes in) and place them one next to the other in a baking dish. Continue folding the phyllo sheets until you fill the pan. At first glance, you may need several boxes of filo pastry.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees before taking out the baking sheet and covering everything with two sticks of melted butter. Return it to the oven for ten minutes; while waiting, whisk together 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, 2 eggs and 2-3 teaspoons vanilla. Next, take out the quick crisp phyllo dough and drizzle it with the milky and egg mixture. Bake the tray again for 30-40 minutes, until the phyllo is crispy and rooted in the custard. Take out of the oven and coat everything with a drizzle of extra-thick sugar syrup.
Of course, no dish on the internet is ever the same dish for long. Once the fold caught fire, other creators started adding their own tricks. Some have overcome their hurt feelings of strawberrieswhile others opted for pistachios or rose petals. More besides bakes the phyllo sheets into a beautiful spiral forms. (Swoon.)
I was inspired, not just because I’m a big fan of phyllo dough – it’s endlessly versatile and can be used to create awesome dishes without a ton of effort – but because, well, I’m a sucker for a good viral dessert.
Still, I remained skeptical whether the phyllo dough could absorb all that liquid. How does it stay crispy? I went ahead by combining two folding methods – accordion fold and spiral fold – to create a “Starry Night” effect. I may or may not have forgotten to thaw my phyllo ahead of time (oops), but pro tip: Microwave it in 30-second increments for about two minutes. Everything will be alright.
I popped my tray filled with phyllo in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, per Ramena’s instructions. Then I poured a stick of melted butter on top and baked again for 10 minutes. I whipped together half a cup of whole milk and sugar, an egg, a few teaspoons of vanilla, and a few cinnamon shakes for good measure. (Riffer, that’s what viral food trends are!)
I poured the sweet mixture over the phyllo dough and baked for another 30 minutes. Then I coated it with a sticky sugar syrup – a cup of sugar and half a cup of water simmered until thickened – and sprinkled chopped pistachios on top. I tucked a few sliced fresh strawberries into the crisp folds of the phyllo dough and stood back to admire my creation.
She. Has been. Wonderful. The surface of the dessert looked shiny and shimmery thanks to its final dip in sugar syrup, while the phyllo underneath remained incredibly crispy. Pops of red, green and purple from the strawberries and nuts gave the platter a celebratory party vibe, while its phyllo twists gave the (false) impression of a dessert that took hours to perfect. .
But appearance is one thing. A truly great viral dessert must also taste fantastic, and well – the fold is up to par. My take tasted like the love child of a kringle and baklava, with just a hint of sticky cinnamon roll. The soft, creamy interior contrasted brilliantly with a crispy phyllo crust, which smashed gloriously against my teeth.
Three hours after taking my crumpled out of the oven for the third and final time, a quarter of it was already gone. I guess that’s what happens when you leave it on the counter and steal a shard every time you walk past it. (Who needs self-control when you have a trick?)
But what I love most about this pastry is how little baking skill it takes to produce such beautiful and flavorful results. I’m absolutely planning on adding it to my baking rotation – maybe next time I’ll add some espresso powder? Chocolate chips? Or maybe brown sugar, citrus zest or sesame seeds… The infinitely customizable crumpled is ripe for reinvention, it seems. I will definitely be impressing friends with this soon.
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