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

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What to serve at Sunday’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 Sandra Bullock floating around in space. But I also was inspired by her weightlessness. It made me think of soufflés, which are famously light thanks to all the whipped egg whites in them.

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

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 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 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 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they’re barely golden at the edges. Let cool before filling and baking.

What about that filling? I considered a chocolate soufflé or an orange soufflé or a broccoli soufflé. But I opted for the lusciousness of a cheese soufflé because we’re talking about the Oscars telecast 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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