Pecan Crunch Tart
Credit: Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Mary-Claire Britton

You might have passed on working with phyllo dough in the past, but it doesn't have to be something you never use. It's intimidating. People tend to be hesitant to use phyllo dough because it takes time to master, but swapping out phyllo dough for puff pastry in a recipe that calls for phyllo dough can be a mistake. A big one. These two pastries have different textures, thicknesses, and ingredients, which can alter the recipe and impact the outcome. Often used in Greek dishes like baklava and spanakopita, phyllo dough has plenty of other recipes it is perfect for too. We love using phyllo dough in our Pecan Crunch Tart (pictured above) or Baked Brie Bites. Working with phyllo dough can be tricky, but Test Kitchen Professional, Deb Wise, shares her tips for conquering our biggest fears. "Delicate, tissue-thin phyllo dough is a great way to add crunch to both sweet and savory recipes, but it can tear and dry out easily," says Deb. "Next time, remember these three simple, handy tips for working with this notoriously finicky ingredient."

1. Plan Ahead

Phyllo dough is sold in frozen rolls, flat rectangles, or cups. Defrost the unopened packages of phyllo dough overnight in the refrigerator and pull it out when you're ready to use. Chilled dough is easier to work with than room-temp dough.

2. Go Quickly

Phyllo dries out fast, so work as quickly as possible. Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp (not wet) towel during assembly to prevent drying out.

3. Use a Light Hand

Brush or spray the layers of dough lightly with oil or melted butter. This will help create crisper layers with better texture and separation.

WATCH: Baked Brie Bites

Once you've mastered this pastry, your friends and family will be impressed (and full) by all the beautiful and tasty treats you make them.