The holidays pose serious challenges: making elastic-waisted pants look classy, sneaking off for a nap to avoid dish duty, and restraining yourself from eating all of the Fig Goat Cheese Appetizer Bites before dinner begins. The struggles are real.
Although I’ve solved the first issue via a baggy sweater dress and am thinking slipping away for a snooze in my car might manage the second, I have yet to develop a strategy to resist these fig goat cheese appetizer bites (or these Brie Bites).
Delicate phyllo dough filled with creamy whipped goat cheese, red wine-poached figs, and crunchy bacon, this simple but impressive appetizer recipe is guaranteed to disappear from your holiday table.
- Although the flavors are complex, the preparation is easy, thanks to a key ingredient: frozen mini phyllo shells.
- The mini phyllo shells are fully baked before they are frozen, so all you need to do is remove them from your freezer, wait 10 minutes, then fill them as your heart desires.
- They are lightly crispy, delightfully flakey, and perfect for an array of both sweet and savory fillings (see these Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Bites).
5 Star Review
“Very impressed! These will become part of my repertoire, thanks again! Happy Holidays!”— Grace —
How to Make Fig Goat Cheese Appetizer Bites
For today’s holiday appetizer recipe, I chose the trio of sweet figs, salty bacon, and tangy goat cheese (tomorrow: Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms).
Their flavors balance one another beautifully, and because I tend to enjoy these three ingredients even more with a glass of red wine, I decided to involve that in the recipe too. (A decision I also made for these Red Wine Truffles.)
- Phyllo Shells. My go-to ingredient whenever I want to prepare an impressive appetizer but am short on time. They’re crisp, flaky, and (most importantly) no fuss!
- Dried Figs. I opted for dried figs, which are much easier to find than fresh. (Readers have also suggested using dried cranberries which sounds just as divine as these Cranberry Cream Cheese Appetizer Bites).
- Red Wine. Rehydrates the figs to keep the figs from being overly chewy—making them plump, succulent, and infused with amazing wine flavor.
- Honey. For a little added sweetness.
- Goat Cheese. For a little creamy tang (as in these Goat Cheese Balls).
- Bacon. Balances the sweet figs with its meaty, salty flavor (also recommended for these Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts).
- Thyme. For a final flourish of woodsy herb taste and aroma.
- Cook the bacon, cool, and crumble.
- Stir together the wine, honey, and figs together in a saucepan.
- Simmer until figs are plump and tender, cool, then cut into slices.
- Defrost the phyllo shells.
- Whip the goat cheese with the half and half until fluffy and transfer to a piping bag.
- Fill the phyllo shells with goat cheese, the wine-poached figs, and bacon.
- Sprinkle with fresh thyme and ground pepper. Serve. ENJOY!
- To Store. These phyllo appetizer bites are best enjoyed within a few hours of filling and serving. You may store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 hours otherwise the phyllo risks becoming soggy.
- To Make-Ahead. If you want to prep these further in advance, I recommend preparing the filling ingredients and storing them in separate containers until ready to bake the shells and assemble.
- Disposable Piping Bag. Fitted with a large tip, will make filling the shells a breeze.
- Baking Sheets. These are the best-ever all-purpose baking sheets.
- Cooling Rack. This oven-safe cooling rack is a staple in my kitchen.
Wishing you roomy pants, a successful sneak-nap, and as many fig appetizer bites with goat cheese as you dare to finish!
Frequently Asked Questions
I’d stick with dried as the fresh will be too soft and I think they’d make the pastry soggy.
If you wish to omit the wine, I’d suggest simmering the figs in apple cider. If you make this swap, I would omit the honey (since cider is naturally sweeter than wine) and simmer longer as it will take the apple cider longer to reduce.
Sure! Note that the flavor will be slightly different (as will the color) but, overall, the appetizer bites will still taste great!
Fig Goat Cheese Appetizer Bites
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon cooked*
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 5 ounces dried mission figs about 15–18 total
- 2 boxes frozen mini phyllo shells 30 shells total
- 8 ounces goat cheese at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons half and half or heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Cook the bacon. (Try one of my favorite methods linked in the notes section). Once cool, dice into small pieces.
- Meanwhile, stir the wine and honey together in a medium saucepan. Add the figs, then bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then let the figs cook until plump and tender, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the figs to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, cut into 1/4-inch slices.
- Remove the Athens Mini Fillo Shells from their box and place them on the counter, keeping the phyllo shells still in their protective tray.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat the goat cheese together with the half and half or cream until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a large tip (or a ziptop bag with the corner cut off).
- Pipe a dollop of the mixture into the bottom of each phyllo shell. If you do not wish the pipe the mixture, you can also use a small spoon to dollop it into each shell.
- Top the goat cheese with a few pieces of figs and bacon crumbles. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and ground pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
- *Easy bacon cooking methods: Air Fryer Bacon and Oven Baked Bacon.
- TO STORE: These phyllo appetizer bites are best enjoyed within a few hours of filling and serving. You may store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 hours otherwise the phyllo risks becoming soggy.
- TO MAKE-AHEAD: If you want to prep these further in advance, I recommend preparing the filling ingredients and storing them in separate containers until ready to bake the shells and assemble.
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