Friday, January 18, 2008

Goat Cheese Honey Phyllo Cup

This is a refined version of my first Phyllo cup recipe, Gorgonzola Phyllo Cups with Walnuts. I made the cheese creamier with this version subbing goat cheese for the Gorgonzola, and I also subbed pecans for walnuts. If the truth be known, I probably wouldn't even have thought of these if Baklava was faster to make. It's one of my favorite desserts.

1 package Phyllo dough
extra virgin olive oil (or sweet butter)
8 oz. mild goat cheese
6 oz. mascarpone
half and half (or cream)
mild honey (orange blossom or lavender)
vanilla paste
pecan halves

Directions for the Phyllo cups:

I prefer to cut off a stack of 2 1/2" to 3" strips, one stack at a time, leaving the uncut sheet under a damp towel (for a small batch I only cut once and put the remaining sheets back into the box and into the freezer). Place one strip on the working surface and put a small amount of oil (or melted butter) on it, then brush to cover the entire strip, lay a second strip of Phyllo on top of the first and repeat the oiling, then add you final layer and press all 3 layers together. Fold in half crosswise and cut in half. Take each half and cut crosswise again. now you have 4 squares that you can place into 4 of the mini muffin indentations of your pan. You'll need to press towards the outside of the indentation to make the center of each cup round and keep the sides from folding inward. After you have filled the muffin pan, bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until they barely turn color.

Directions for the goat cheese:

Bring both cheeses to room temperature to soften them and mix together into a smooth blended cheese. This should still be fairly stiff, so add half & half or cream in 1T increments until it gets to a soft stage, stiff enough to hold its shape, but soft enough to feel creamy in the mouth.

Directions for completion:
Since the honey lasts a long time you can use an entire small jar or just enough to drizzle onto the amount of phyllo cups you are preparing. Mix in a small amount of the vanilla paste and stir until you see that the vanilla bean seeds are evenly suspended in the honey. Taste; if you want a more pronounced vanilla taste add more paste. Set aside. Take the cooled Phyllo cups and place a spoonful or small scoop of cheese mixture into the bottom of it. Now add the pecan half on top of the cheese and drizzle with the honey. I find using a squeeze bottle makes this easier and less messy than using a spoon or honey dipper. A small honey bear makes a perfect alternative to the bottle, since it has a squeeze top already built into the top.

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