Traverse City Record-Eagle

Food

February 13, 2014

Party-perfect light-as-air souffles for the Oscars

The Associated Press

What to serve at this year’s Oscar party? I had no clear idea about the right dish until I glanced at a list of the movies in contention.

“Gravity” was the one that jumped out at me. Watching the trailer, I was a little alarmed at the sight of poor Sandra Bullock floating around in space. But I also was inspired by her weightlessness. It made me think of souffles, which are famously light thanks to all the whipped egg whites in them. Thus, these “anti-gravity” — not “anti-’Gravity’” — treats.

Still, a problem remained: How to turn a full-blown souffle into a tasty nibble for a party?

The solution: Make each one small enough to fit into a mini-phyllo shell. Happily, these days you should be able to find mini-phyllo shells in the freezer section of your local supermarket. Take them home, fill them and bake them and they’re good to go. Even better, each of these little guys is fairly low in calories — no more than 15 calories per shell.

And if you can’t find them pre-made, they’re easy to make at home. Just stack four sheets of phyllo dough on top of one other, lightly spritzing each sheet with olive oil cooking spray as you stack. Cut the stacked sheets into 3-inch squares, ease the stacks into the cups of a mini-muffin pan, then bake at 375 F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they’re barely golden at the edges. Let them cool before filling and baking.

What about that filling? I considered a chocolate souffle or an orange souffle or a broccoli souffle. But I opted for lusciousness of a cheese souffle because after all we’re talking about the Oscars here, which is not exactly a model of restraint. Still, there’s no reason to chump ourselves, so I went with goat cheese, which is relatively lean even as it boasts tangy flavor and creamy texture. I also added some Parmigiano-Reggiano, because even a little of this rich bruiser delivers big impact.

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