When I’m entertaining, I generally stay away from fussy appetizers that require lots of preparation. However, this week I helped a friend plan a Valentine’s Day event at her jewelry store and I assembled two bite-sized, girly little appetizers. The first were crostini with goat cheese, heart-shaped figs, balsamic reduction, and rosemary flowers. The second were these phyllo tartlets filled with brie and mushrooms.
The three components can be prepared in advance and assembled just before serving. At the store, the tart shells and brie were at room temperature and the mushrooms were warmed in the microwave. At home, I warmed the whole thing in the oven for 10 minutes to melt the brie a little. The dish tastes delicious just from the oven and at room temperature making it perfect for a party.
Mushroom Brie Phyllo Tartlets
For the tartlets:
1 package phyllo dough (about 18 sheets)
1 stick butter, melted
For the mushroom mixture:
6 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms (cremini and white button), finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup Spanish Sherry
1/4 finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 triangle of brie, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons minced chives
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a mini muffin tin lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Working quickly and carefully, arrange one sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface. Cover the remaining phyllo sheets with a damp towel. Brush the phyllo all over with melted butter. Arrange another sheet of phyllo on top of the first sheet and brush that evenly with butter. Repeat, alternating phyllo and butter, until there are 6 layers. Brush the top layer with butter.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 2-by-2 inch squares.
- Fit each square snugly into the prepared mini muffin tin, gently pressing the phyllo into the bottom and up the sides of each well.
- Bake until the dough is lightly browned and crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo until you have roughly 36 tartlet shells. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. (The shells can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)
- Meanwhile, prepare the mushroom mixture. In a 12-inch heavy skillet cook onions in butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in mushrooms and bell peppers and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mixture begins to brown. Add Sherry and cook, stirring, until liquid is evaporated. Add the parsley and season the mixture generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (To make in advance, let the mixture cool slightly and transfer to an airtight container. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 days. Rewarm in a sauté pan over low heat before proceeding with the next step. If the mixture is too dry, add a splash of Sherry to moisten.)
- To assemble the tartlets, set the phyllo cups on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place one cube of brie in the bottom of each phyllo cup. Top with a heaping teaspoon of the mushroom mixture. Repeat until all the phyllo cups are filled. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the brie is melted and the tart shells are warmed through.
- Garnish each tartlet with a sprinkle of chives. Enjoy immediately, preferably with pink champagne.
Makes about 36 bite-sized appetizers.