Sometimes you have plans to make a fancy-shmancy appetizer. Sometimes that fancy-shmancy appetizer completely fails 20 minutes before you are supposed to be somewhere. So you scramble and use what you have to whip something up. Sometimes, you end up with something pretty great! That's what happened here. These bites are sweet, spicy, creamy, and crunchy all in one bite. They come together in a matter of minutes and are perfect for a party. You can easily swap out the chutney flavor or the cheese you use to change up the flavor profile.
What you need:
3 packages of pre-cooked Phyllo Pastry Shells
1 jar of Cranberry Orange Chutney
1-2 wheels of Camembert Cheese (enough to fill 36 cups)
1 cup of crushed spicy pecans (see recipe below)
For the spicy pecans:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and spread the pecans on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes to release the flavor. Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients (for the pecans) in a small mixing bowl and mix together to form a paste. After 10 minutes add the warm nuts to the bowl and stir to coat thoroughly. Once coated put nuts into a large gallon bag and using a rolling pin, crush nuts into smaller pieces. Set aside. If you want something a little more spicy, you can use the coating for Union Square's Bar Nuts but only apply to pecans.
For the bites:
Leave your oven at 350 degrees. Place pastry shells on a large baking sheet. Cut the wheels of camembert into 36 even sections. Place one section in each pastry shell. On top of the camembert using a small spoon, add a dollop of the Cranberry Orange Chutney. If you've having trouble finding the chutney (I found mine at a generic grocery store), you can make it yourself. It's definitely adds a nice homemade element to this dish. However, to paraphrase Ina...will your guests have any more fun if you make it yourself? Probably not...just save yourself time and buy the chutney. You can use cranberry and orange jam if you can't find chutney.
Okay, back on track. Add the dollop of chutney to the cup. Essentially you want the cup to be half camembert and half chutney, but this is not an exact ratio, you can play around with it based on the flavors. Add a few crushed spicy pecans to the top of each cup. You can optionally add a little orange zest to each cup if you want to kick up that flavor a little.
Place the baking sheet with the filled shells into the oven and cook just until the cheese melts (about 10 minutes depending on your oven, but check frequently as it may happen quicker). You don't want the shells to burn as they are already cooked.
That's it! Serve and enjoy. You can easily make more or less depending on your party size. If cranberry isn't your thing, apricot and brie make a great filling as well. I also enjoy fig and brie with a little pear on top. There's so many combinations. What's your favorite cheese and fruit combo?