Spiced Cheese on Phyllo Crisps

Richard Hamilton

Spiced Pear at the Chanler - Newport, RI

For the Newport-style Christmas dinner he cooked at the Beard House, chef Richard Hamilton pulled out his grandmother's recipe for this old-world dish. The rich cream cheese spread is a perfect foil for the spicy phyllo crisps.


  • 1 container (4-ounce) spreadable cheese, such as Old English or Boursin
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 6 sheets phyllo dough
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Combine the spreadable cheese, cream cheese, and shallot in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Place the mixture on a piece of wax paper and roll into an 8-inch log about 1-inch in diameter. Freeze for 1 hour until firm.

Combine the sesame seeds, chili powder, paprika, parsley, and chives. Spread the spice mixture out on a clean piece of parchment paper. Roll the cheese log in this spice mixture to coat, rewrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the phyllo crisps, combine the Parmesan and cayenne in a small bowl. Lay one sheet of phyllo on the work surface. Brush with butter and sprinkle with roughly 1/5 of the Parmesan mixture. Repeat steps with remaining 5 sheets of phyllo, layering them on top of each other. Cut into 1-inch squares and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat. Cover with another baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Remove top baking sheet and bake until crisp and lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes longer.

Slice cheese into rounds and serve on phyllo crisps.


One 8-inch cheese log and 42 phyllo crisps