PHYLLO CUPS by Right-Brain Joanna
These little pastry cups are perfect for filling with bits and bobs to make a lovely selection of appetizers or desserts – and are small and easy to prepare ahead for unexpected guests. If you have never used phyllo pastry before, these rustic cups are a good way of building your confidence.
Makes 48 cups
6 sheets of phyllo pastry, made into 48 cups (see below)
4oz/125g cream cheese or chêvre, softened
A selection of different little bottles of pesto, tapenade, mixed nuts, salsa; whatever you have or discover on the grocery store shelves
- Using piping bags filled with the cheeses fill the cups to about half way up. A sturdy plastic bag with one corner snipped off is fine if you don’t have a piping bag.
- Top with a variety of condiments. Don’t overload the cups as the guests need to pop the goodies in one mouthful.
- When you need a light dessert try mixing the cheese 50/50 with lemon curd and top with a berry.
WORKING WITH PHYLLO PASTRY
- Let the pastry thaw in its packaging overnight in the fridge.
- Before opening up the box of pastry, set up your station. You need space for the unused sheets of pastry, the sheets with which you are working upon, and the tray (in this case, mini- muffin tins).
- Melt about 1/4 lb / 125g unsalted butter. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
- Open the box, unfold the phyllo and cover it immediately with a large piece of plastic or a very-slightly dampened tea towel. The process from here depends on how you are going to use the dough.
- For this project you need 6 sheets of dough to make little cups pressed into mini-muffin pans.
- Lay out the first sheet and brush it with butter. Lay another sheet on top and butter. Then lay and butter yet another, ending up with three layers. Repeat with remaining three sheets.
- Immediately wrap the unused sheets thoroughly and refreeze for another time.
- Evenly cut each triple sheet lengthwise into 4 strips and widthwise into 6 strips, making 24 pieces. Gently press each piece into a mini-muffin cup, and bake in batches for about 3-4 minutes. [Hint: Watch like a hawk to prevent overbrowning!]
- Cool before filling. Freeze any unused cups in an airtight tin, stacking carefully to avoid breakage.
These are brilliant nibbles especially with drinks. I like to half-fill these cups with cream cheese and sprinkle with finely chopped olives (if you used the stuffed variety, there is instant red and green colour too!). Or try chopped smoked salmon or a smidgen of spicy samabal oolek in the middle and a baby lettuce leaf tucked into one side.