Next to my Famous Chicken Casserole that’s technically not even mine, this pretty little appetizer is my most requested recipe. Last week, my loyal & hardworking foodie friend Patti whipped up a double batch of these for me to take to a charity event for which I had volunteered to cook. (I have really nice friends.) The Brie ‘n Basil Bites were, as always, a big hit, and there were numerous requests for the recipe. Luckily, I had the foresight to ask Patti to save some of the cheese mixture so I could take it to the studio the next day and have Joe shoot the “bites.” So here goes, an enticing photo from ALACARTE and the recipe!
Brie ‘n Basil Bites
Makes about 4 dozen
Adorable and totally delicious—as every good appetizer should be.
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 small garlic clove
4 ounces Mascarpone cheese
4 ounces Brie or Taleggio cheese (rind removed), cut into 4 pieces
3/4 ounce lean prosciutto, minced
about 4 dozen crisp crackers, such as Wheat Thins Big
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
about 4 dozen tiny basil (or parsley) leaves
– In food processor with motor running, add basil and garlic through feed tube and process until minced. Add Mascarpone and Brie cheeses; process until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add prosciutto. Process just until combined. (At this point, you can cover and refrigerate mixture for 1 or 2 days.)
– Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe cheese mixture onto each cracker or use a small spoon to dollop cheese mixture onto crackers.
– Garnish with pine nuts and basil leaves. Serve immediately.
– There is nothing as wonderfully creamy as Mascarpone, an Italian triple cream cheese. If you cannot find Mascarpone, mix together 4 ounces of best-quality cream cheese with 2 tablespoons heavy cream as a substitution.
– You can substitute ham for prosciutto. A suggestion would be Black Forest ham, but any cooked ham would be fine.
– Taleggio is a pungent cow’s milk cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy. The cheese is cave aged and becomes quite tangy. Taleggio is sometimes referred to as “Italy’s answer to Brie!”