Cheese Bites — Appetizers for the Holidays

In honor of the approaching holiday season, we offer yet another cheese-showcasing appetizer for your seasonal party needs! This super-easy recipe will give you a lovely plate of finger-friendly chewy-cheesy bites, and you can make them as mild or spicy as you choose! Thanks to One Perfect Bite for the inspiration and photo!

Ingredients:
Unbaked pie crust for a one crust pie
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 to 1/2 cups crumbled aged goat cheese or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
1/3 cup drained and chopped roasted red pepper or drained and chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup lightly toasted chopped nuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

If you like spicy apps, feel free to add diced jalapeno pepper, tabasco sauce or any other favorite spice-o-fier.

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a tart pan (round or rectangular) with a removable bottom with pie crust. Pierce crust with a fork. Place foil and pie weights inside pastry. Bake until very lightly bown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights.
2) While crust bakes, combine cheeses in a large bowl. Beat, at medium speed, scraping bowl as required, until cheeses are creamy. Gradually add cream, egg and black pepper until everything is well blended. Spread into prepared crust. Sprinkle with red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes, jalapenos as you wish. Top with nuts and parsley. Bake until filling is set, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Cut into wedges or squares. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 14 to 16 servings.