There are two ways you can form these– purses and/or cups. The purses require a tiny bit more work but we found we liked them better than the cups… as in my husband ate SIX in one day. I probably should have calculated the nutrition facts before we ate so many. :/ For whatever you decide to make, you start out with six stacks of four layers of buttered phyllo sheets and cut each stack into six squares for a total of 36 squares. For the purses you plop two teaspoons of the cheese mixture right in the middle of the phyllo square, pile on two teaspoons cherries, followed by a few sliced almonds, and then gather up the sides and gently pinch to form a little purse. Cute huh?
For the cups you gently press the phyllo squares into a mini muffin pan and then bake. After the phyllo cups are baked and cooled, you drop 1-2 teaspoons cheese mixture in the cup, pile on the cherries (and basil if desired), and sprinkle with some almonds.
Cherry Purses & Cups
- 1 pound red cherries pitted and chopped
- 6 tablespoons sugar divided
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 24 phyllo dough sheets thawed
- 1 stick butter melted
- Basil optional
- If making cups, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If making purses, preheat oven to 375 degrees. (If you are making some of each, bake the cups first, turn up the heat, and then bake the purses.)
- Mix chopped cherries with 3 tablespoons sugar and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat cheeses, 3 tablespoons sugar, vanilla using an electric mixer until smooth.
- Lay one phyllo sheet on a clean counter and brush with melted butter. Layer on 3 more sheets, brushing butter onto each one. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut out 6 rectangles. Repeat this process 5 more times to get 36 rectangles.
- For the Cups: gently press rectangles into the cups of a mini muffin pan and bake for 5-6 minutes until golden. Cool completely and then fill each cup with 2 teaspoons cheese mixture and top with 2 teaspoons cherries. Garnish with almonds and basil (optional).
- For the Purses: drop 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture and cherries in the middle of each rectangle and sprinkle with almonds and basil (optional). Pull the sides of the rectangle together and gently pinch them together, letting the corners and edges flare out. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
- Serve at room temperature. (They don't keep well because when you put them in the fridge the phyllo gets soft so you need to eat them within a few hours of making them. You can make the cups ahead of time by baking the phyllo, leaving them on the counter, and store the cheese mixture and cherries in the fridge until ready to assemble.)
Recipe Source: Slightly Adapted from Enjoy Cooking the Costco Way (no alcohol, vanilla instead of almond extract, less sugar)