Keep the pastry frozen, frequent defrosting and re-freezing deteriorates the quality.
There are usually 2 rolls of pastry in a box, so remove what you require and allow it to defrost plastic wrapping in the at room temperature for a few hours.
Once defrosted gently unroll the sheets of pastry.
Immediately cover the sheets of pastry with just damp (not wet) dish towel. Once the pastry dries out it becomes too brittle to fold.
As you use individual sheets of pastry, keep the remaining sheets covered with the cloth.
When assembling the dish you will use several layers of pastry.
Each layer must be separated with a layer of oil. If you do not do this the layers stick together to form a heavy, chalky texture.
You can use canola or olive oil or melted butter to spray or brush over each layer of pastry. As the pastry is tasteless, I prefer using melted butter.
Avoid wet fillings as the pastry will become soggy.
A metal baking tray is best to conduct the heat to obtain a crisp base.
Once shaped or filled, the pastries will freeze very well.
Usually the pastry browns well, so it does not need an egg wash.
You use an egg wash and then you can sprinkle finely chopped nuts or seeds e.g. sesame or poppy seeds on the surface of the pastry before baking.
Phyllo pastries can be fried or baked.
Individual sheets can be baked and then assembled by sandwiching fillings between them.