| Recipes |

Phyllo-Crust Cheese Mousse

Food and Prop Styling Renee Muller
Photography Hudi Greenberger

From time to time I really enjoy working on a labor-intensive laminated dough. Three days of work? Doesn’t scare me. Sometimes, though, the practical side of me wins out, and I want all of the wow factor but none of the envelope folds that you need for making it from scratch. Anyway, long story short: this is by far the best recipe I have ever developed.



  • 5 sheets phyllo dough
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 1 cup cream
  • ⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 8 oz (225 g) whipped cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine sugar and salt in a small bowl. Lay a large piece of parchment paper on your workspace. Carefully unroll your phyllo and separate one sheet. Cover the rest with a clean dishcloth. Lay the phyllo on your parchment and carefully brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar mixture. Add another phyllo sheet and another layer of melted butter and sugar. Repeat until you have 5 layers of dough, each covered in butter and sugar.

Cut the dough into 12 squares and carefully transfer each one to a muffin cup, pushing the center into the cup and letting the sides come up. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until your house smells amazing and they’re golden brown. Remove from the tray to a cooling rack immediately, so they don’t stick. Let cool completely.

To make the filling: Let the cream cheese come to room temperature. Whip the cream until medium peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla bean paste. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Add the cream cheese and beat until fully mixed and a stiff mousse has formed. Transfer to a large ziplock or piping bag. Pipe into the cooled phyllo crusts.

Tip: You can make the phyllo dough up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container at

room temperature until ready to fill. Do not fill in advance. The filling can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Note: Phyllo is temperamental. If you’re not able to get even a single sheet to separate nicely, it’s possible the box wasn’t stored properly in the grocery store. Buy another box and try again. If small pieces rip, it’s okay. Patch it back up with melted butter.

(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 740)

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