I got blasted this weekend. With the flu. Not exactly the picturesque Saturday and Sunday I had in mind.
Although, that’s what I get for thinking I’m invincible and refusing to get a flu shot, even though common sense advised me otherwise. The worst part about it was we had Kevin’s fraternity brothers’ annual Christmas party Saturday night, which I’d been looking forward to for months. About an hour into the party, I literally felt as if I’d been hit by a bus – instantaneous body destruction. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t drink. I couldn’t socialize. All three events very uncommon for a food-cocktail-lovin-social-butterfly person like me. The only few items I managed to snarf down before I got sucker-punched in the stomach with the nasty virus were some ridiculously delicious blue cheese, bacon wrapped dates, one cracker-full of cream cheese and cranberry dip, and a bite of Kevin’s cheesy beef sandwich on a pretzel bun. I also forced myself to gobble up one of these brie, cranberry and pancetta phyllo bites even though my appetite was quickly deteriorating – probably not the brightest decision in hindsight.
The only reason I know the gooey little brie babies were delicious was because I ate at least five of them pre-party when I was feeling like a million bucks and ready to paint the town.
You might have seen something similar to these a few weeks back, as I basically just took this recipe for baked brie and turned it into an adorable bite-sized version fit for a cocktail party. No mess, easily transportable and totally festive.
Of course it all begins with what makes them bite-sized in the first place – mini phyllo cups. You can cheat and buy the store-bought variety you find in the freezer-section, but they only come in a twelve pack, so by the time you buy three of them you’re already at $10, and you still have to buy brie which is pretty costly, plus they really don’t hold that much filling. Making them yourself is ridiculously easy, cost effective and you can proportion them however you like, which = more brie for your taste buds. (End rant and run-on-sentences.)
I just took the individual phyllo dough sheets and sprayed each layer with coconut oil spray (instead of butter), cut them into 3-inch squares, nestled them into mini muffin tins and popped them into the oven for a few minutes until they got all toasty and brown.
The only other cooking required is a quick cranberry sauce, which is made up of just whole cranberries, water and a decent amount of sugar. You can increase or decrease the sugar content based on your taste buds, I like to keep a little bit of tartness in each bite, so 1/3 cup suits me fine, but you might want to up it to ½ cup.
Generous portions of gooey brie are nestled into the bottom of each cup and then a dollop of the cranberry sauce is spooned on top. They’re all popped into a 300 degree (low so the cups don’t brown anymore) oven for about five minutes until the brie is melted and the sauce is heated through. A final sprinkle of crispy, salty pancetta is tossed on top and these cuties are ready for party time.
- 1 roll of phyllo sheet defrosted
- coconut oil spray
- 5 ounces brie
- 1 pint cranberries
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- ½ pound pancetta finely diced
- Non-stick skillet
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease three mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
- Cook pancetta until crisp.
- Place once piece of phyllo dough on a flat surface. Spray with coconut oil. Place another sheet on top; repeat four more times for a total of six sheets. Spray top piece of dough with coconut oil. Using a pizza wheel, cut dough into 3 inch squares. Tuck into mini muffin tins. Repeat two more times until you have 36 shells.
- Bake for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Reduce heat in oven down to 300 degrees.
- For the cranberries: Place cranberries, water, sugar and pinch of cayenne in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the berries are reduced, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Divide brie into 36 even pieces. Place in bottom of each shell. Top with a little bit of cranberry sauce. Pop into the oven for five minutes or until brie has melted.
- Sprinkle with crispy pancetta.