Phyllo dough is somewhat of a nemesis. There was that silly little “I-thought-you-were-puff-pastry” incident on Valentine’s Day but my disdain for phyllo goes back much farther than that.
A few years ago, I saw a recipe online for baked brie with apricot jam and I got excited. I had just discovered brie and I loved it. Well, okay – I loved most of it. I’m just fine removing the sharpie-flavored rind. The recipe called for a wheel of brie, some phyllo dough, apricot jam, and toasted walnuts – sounded like a party to me! But good grief – I had no idea that I would be completely void of the grace required to work with phyllo. It seemed to literally dissolve and turn to powdery shreds in my bare hands. I finally managed to get it together enough to wrap the brie and bake it. It was crispy, light, and so not worth the effort.
I decided to foray back into phyllo to create some crispy morsels for a tapas party. Not much has changed… I apparently still lack the grace to work with it but at least I was prepared for it this time
I made 2 1/2 dozen Creamy Spinach & Jalapeno Phyllo Cups using the recipe below and served the remaining filling (approx 3/4 cup) as a dip for crudites and crackers.
Creamy Spinach & Jalapeno Phyllo Cups
5 oz (half a package) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup mayonnaise
16 oz sour cream
1 pkg dried leek (or vegetable) soup mix
2 oz water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 pkg Phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Drain spinach in a colander for a few minutes and then squeeze out the excess water. Mix the mayo, sour cream, and dried soup mix until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours (longer if you have time).
After the filling has chilled, preheat the oven according to the phyllo package directions. Unroll the phyllo dough onto a dry surface (be sure to follow the “handling instructions” on the box). Remove 3 sheets of phyllo dough at a time (the cups will be 3 sheets thick) and brush the top with melted butter. Cut the stack into 3×3 squares. Cut only enough squares to fill a mini-muffin pan and return the unused dough to the covered stack. Bake the cups for 4 minutes and remove from the oven.
Spoon the filling into the cups and return to the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes (until filling is heated through). Remove from oven and cool the cups on a baking rack. Serve and enjoy!