Simply Food: Beggars Purses

Most years, we celebrate Thanksgiving at my mom’s house in California. Every once in a while, she likes to take a break and on those occasions, I take over. Thanksgiving is at my house this year. I am so excited. I have people driving in from Colorado, California, and Arizona. I have people from right here in Las Vegas driving over. It is going to be a big celebration and a gigantic feast.

I have been combing over all of the articles with amazing ideas. I can’t stray too far from the traditional because my step dad, Doug, would not be pleased. We must have turkey with gravy and stuffing and a big spiral cut honey-baked ham. It’s imperative that we include green beans and mashed potatoes. We can’t skip out on the cranberry sauce or all of the appropriate pies. Thank goodness my mom arrives on Tuesday before the big day. I will need her help.

I think the only areas where I can mix things up a bit and add some creativity is going to be with the appetizers. This week, I decided to try some out. I made some artichoke dip but spiced it up a bit with chilies. I stuffed mushrooms. I tested out some different hummus recipes. Then, I thought long and hard about what I would want most in an appetizer. I remembered this restaurant in London called Blue Bird. A friend’s dad owns it and we used to go there a lot. I always ordered the goat cheese appetizer. This consisted of goat cheese mixed with pine nuts and baked in parchment paper. When the appetizer arrived, I would cut open the paper to find the warm delicious cheese in there. On the side, there were roasted red peppers and toast. I smothered the goat cheese with pine nuts onto the toast and topped it off with the peppers. Oh my goodness, this was so amazing.

I thought I would do this a little differently. Why all of the work? Why spread and top? I could make it all in one. All anyone would have to do is pick this up and eat it. Then, I read about, “beggars purses”. These little amazing bundles can be filled in a number of ways. Really, the options are endless. You could fill them with barbequed pulled pork. You could fill them with cream and smoked salmon. I thought some brie and crumbled bacon would be amazing. You name it. Whatever you love to eat for an appetizer could go inside a beggar’s purse. Well, I wouldn’t throw French fries in there and I love French fries. So, maybe not anything.

I saw some recipes where the purse was made out of crepes. That might be good but I thought crepe dough might be a bit heavy and doughy. I preferred the idea of making the purse out of filo pastry. I love the crispiness and the light texture of filo. I went to the store and got together everything that was in the appetizer I love at Blue Bird. I bought roasted red peppers, pine nuts, and goat cheese. Then, I picked up some filo dough and chives to close up the bundles. When I got home, I mixed together the goat cheese and pine nuts with the peppers and thought garlic might make this even better. I chopped up a clove of garlic and mixed it in with the rest of the ingredients.

After cutting the filo into little squares, I placed spoonfuls of the cheese mix into each one and tied them up with the chives. These guys were adorable. I have to admit that chives are not the easiest things to use as a tie. It worked but it was difficult. I tied two together to make them long enough. Maybe some cooking twine would be better? I don’t know. I like the idea of making the entire package edible. Maybe it’s worth the hassle to tie the chives. I think I will do it this way again for Thanksgiving.

Other than the chive tie issue, these are extremely easy to make. And really, the chives aren’t that bad to work with. I just like things to be super simple. They go into the oven for only ten minutes. Once they came out, the pastry was crispy and a little browned on the edges. After biting in through the crispy covering, I was amazed at how creamy and tasty the cheesy insides tasted. Oh, these were so good.

I brought a plateful over to a good friend of mine because I had all of these appetizers and nobody to feed. These were just testers. She texted me back soon after and wrote, “Those little pies were incredible.” Pies? Okay? I liked that she thought they were incredible. She can call them what she will. With that glowing review, I think these are a must to make for my Thanksgiving. I might make a few different versions. Hey, thinking of pies, these could even be used for desserts. In fact, I just looked into this further. I found recipes where the cook filled the beggars purse with chocolate and banana, chocolate and raspberries, and chocolate with baked apples. Then, you could sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Yummy!

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