We Ate, Drank, and Were Merry: Goat Cheese Soufflés in Phyllo Cups

Last weekend, Tom and I hosted our annual holiday open house, our biggest party of the year where friends and neighbors come over to eat, drink, and be merry. As usual, Tom was responsible for meat and savory dishes, while I took care of all of the baked goods and desserts. The dessert menu was nothing new (salted chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, double-ginger chocolate chunk cookies, Midnight Milky Way brownies, red velvet cake, buttercrunch melt-a-ways, cranberry biscotti, fleur de sel caramels), so I'll spare you the details.

But I did try one new recipe this year. I thought I would try to take some of the burden off of Tom for preparing the hot food, since this always requires the most work during the party. While I make all of my desserts beforehand, Tom spends a good portion of the evening outside at the grill or stuck in the kitchen tending to food in the oven, which is sort of a drag. Since Tom had meat dishes completely covered (this year he served skirt steak, a ham, chorizo, chicken wings, and rumaki), I decided to make a vegetarian hors d'oeuvre. I browsed epicurious.com and decided to try making some mini goat cheese soufflés in phyllo cups.

I followed the recipe except that I used mini-muffin pans to make the phyllo cups instead of regular muffin pans. I made 6 dozen mini phyllo cups and prepared a double batch of soufflé filling the morning of the party. During the party, I whipped the egg whites and incorporated them into the soufflé base, and then used a #60 scoop to fill the phyllo cups with the soufflé batter. In 15 minutes, they baked into adorable little soufflés, the perfect size for a passed hors d'oeuvre. They were easy to pick up, they tasted fabulous, and our party guests loved them. These may have to become a regular feature on the holiday party menu.

This year I also set up a clearly labeled "Take Home Station" at the party that was stocked with Saran Wrap, Ziploc bags, red lunch sacks, and an explicit request that guests pack up some food to take home with them. Most people complied and left with a bag (or two) of goodies, but we still had quite a few baked goods leftovers... I think that next year I might stock with take home station with gallon size Ziplocs instead of the quart size to encourage guests to take more. Or maybe institute a 10 cookie per person minimum. Or something. Because goodness knows I'm not likely to start baking less!

Recipe: Goat Cheese Soufflés in Phyllo Cups from epicurious.com.