We all need a secret recipe in our back pocket – the kind that will “wow” innocent bystanders and invoke appreciative whispers among guests. For several years, my go to appetizer has been phyllo pastry cups. I have stuffed the phyllo pastry cups with chicken salad, crab meat, sausage & cheese, mushrooms & pancetta and more. The fun part is getting creative.
These have graced my table at baby showers, family holidays and appetizer parties. The actual ‘cups’ require 2 ingredients: phyllo dough & unsalted butter. (Ok, 3 ingredients if you spray the mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray first).
Yes, you can buy the pre-made phyllo dough cups in the freezer aisle, but these taste better.
I made these as an appetizer for Mother’s Day. I had been craving seafood, crab to be exact, and wanted to make a crab salad that was light and refreshing, without a hint of mayo. This crab salad with champagne vinaigrette is the result. I served some in phyllo pastry cups and left the remainder in a small glass bowl. This would also work well served in crisp bibb lettuce cups.
Phyllo Pastry Cups
Makes 84 individual cups
8 oz pkg Phyllo pastry sheets*
9 T unsalted butter, melted
nonstick cooking spray
mini muffin tins
Large work surface or cutting board (24″ x 24″)
sharp knife or pizza cutter
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Melt butter in microwave safe glass bowl.
Remove 1 sleeve of phyllo dough from box. Open plastic wrapped phyllo dough. Unroll phyllo onto a saran wrap covered cutting board. Cut phyllo (with a knife or pizza cutter) into four equal ribbons, about 1.5″ wide. Move one strip of ribbons forward on the cutting board. Cover the remaining phyllo strips with saran wrap. Top saran wrap with damp paper towels or a damp kitchen towel.
Take one thin ribbon of phyllo at a time and criss-cross it into a greased muffin tin opening to form a little cup. Repeat until all the tins are filled. Gently brush each cup with melted butter. Place in preheated oven and bake 8-10 minutes, until edges phyllo edges are golden.
Remove from oven. Let cool in pans 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
*(1/2 of a 16 oz package) – This will make 84 mini ‘cups.’ If you need more than that, by all means, make the whole package. I save the other half of the dough in the freezer.
Crab Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
1 lb claw crab meat
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1.5 T champagne vinegar
1.5 T chives, finely chopped
Gently toss all ingredients together with your (clean) hands. Chill. Spoon into phyllo cups just before serving. Enjoy!
Note: Claw crab meat can be found in the seafood section of a higher end grocery store. There is the kind that comes in a 1 lb. refrigerated can that works well for this recipe. Do not under any circumstances use imitation crab meat. Splurge a little on good crab here. Your taste buds will thank you!