Kiosco Kafe: Phyllo Cheesecake Bites

This post is a tad overdue, but I came up with these little phyllo cheesecake bites a couple weeks ago for Kiosco Kafe, after being inspired by the cheesecake-filled strawberries I saw on foodgawker. (Those are vegan…mine are not haha.) After having a lot of phyllo left after my last successful attempt with the phyllo cups for the fruit tarts, I decided to try them again with a different spin.

cheesecake bites

Phyllo Cheesecake Bites Recipe

8 oz package of cream cheese
1/2 stick butter, softened
About 1/2 cup Confectioner’s Sugar (or to taste)
2 tsp Lemon zest (opt.)
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (opt.)

Graham cracker “crust” crumble:
2-3 Graham cracker rectangles (meaning 4-6 squares), crushed
3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

For phyllo dough instructions, see Phyllo Fruit Tarts post

1. With a fork or mixer (I personally find the fork easier), mix cream cheese and butter together.
2. Add lemon zest, and lemon juice, and sugar to taste.
3. In separate bowl, mix together crushed graham crackers, brown sugar, and melted butter. (I just used my hands)
4. Pipe cheesecake filling into phyllo cups, sprinkle with graham cracker crust crumble. Garnish with a slice of strawberry, or other fruit.

Super easy right? You can do it too and look like a pro 😉 Enjoy!

– CP


Kiosco Kafe: Phyllo Fruit Tarts

Made these cute little thangs for Kiosco Kafe a couple weeks ago. Finally got to try my luck with phyllo dough for the 1st time, and I was quite pleased. Take a lookie…

fruit tarts1

Pretty right? For the phyllo cups, I layered about 6 sheets of phyllo dough*** on top of one another, brushing each layer with some melted butter and sprinkling some sugar. After the final layer, I used my pizza cutter to cut them into little squares, and stuck them in my mini muffin tin, baking at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Piped in the pastry cream (I used a pastry cream/custard recipe from here), added some fresh berries, and voila! They were gobbled up in a heartbeat..

***Tip: I actually found that it was better to do 2 separate sets of 3-layered phyllo dough, and offset the 2 sets so that it looks like a 8-point star. This helps to create a better “cup” that will hold custard much better!.

The pastry cream recipe yields quite a bit, so I had a bunch left over to make a humungo fruit tart in a store-bought shortbread pie crust.

fruit tart

And even after this, I had enough to make a banana cream pie…which was not very aesthetically pleasing but was soooo delish. I just happened to see a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine that lined the pie crust with chocolate by melting it with some olive oil and brushing it on. So I did that, cut up some bananas and mixed them with the pastry cream/custard, piled it into the chocolate covered short-bread crust, and topped it all with some home-made whipped cream, to which I added just a hint of vanilla extract and almond extract (since I didn’t have sliced almonds to top it with). Yummy!

– CP

Recipes, Uncategorized

Beef Curry Bites

beef curry

I’ve been slightly obsessed with puff pastry recently, getting excited with exploring new creative ways to use it and loving its versatility. So when I had to figure out what appetizer/dessert to make for a huge Christmas party I was attending, I definitely couldn’t miss the opportunity.

This was rather experimental, as I pretty much winged it, but I’m happy to say they turned out uhh-may-zing-lee. Here’s my recipe for beef curry bites! If you grew up going to the Chinese market and getting those puff-pastry things with the curry meat inside, you’re going to love these, since they’re kind of a mini or deconstructed version of those! **Please note, however, I don’t really measure when I cook my own recipes, so the measurements for the seasonings can vary!

Beef Curry Bites

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

1 lb of lean ground beef

About 4-5 tbsp of soy sauce

2 to 2 1/2 tbsp curry powder

1/4 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to personal preference)

1/8-1/4 tsp dry basil

Salt & pepper to taste

About 1/2 cup of frozen peas

1 to 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch

1 large potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 box of puff pastry, thawed at room temp (usually comes with 2 large sheets)

OPTIONAL: 1 egg + 1 tbsp water (for egg wash)

YEILD: About 50 mini bites, or 25 big bites aka muffin-size


1. Heat up about 2 tbsp oil on medium heat in a large skillet or wok, and cook garlic & onions until onions are slightly soft or starting to brown.

2. Add in ground beef, and after it’s broken up and starting to brown, add soy sauce, curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, basil, salt and pepper. Add about 1 cup of water.

3. Cook until beef is cooked all the way through. In a separate bowl, combine corn starch with about 1-2 tbsp of water, mix well, and add to beef mixture (this will thicken the sauce). Add frozen peas, mix well, and cook for about 5 minutes.

4. In a separate pot (preferably at the same time you are cooking the beef), boil the cubed potatoes until just slightly soft. Then drain the water and saute in a separate skillet with some oil, a bit of salt and curry powder.

Potatoes usually take a while to cook, so boiling them for a bit saves some time, and then sauteing them to cook all the way through gives a good “sturdy” texture to them. Otherwise, you will end up with mushy and wet potatoes that make your curry mix mushy as well.

5. Add the potatoes into the curry beef mixture and mix well. 


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry, and with a pizza roller, cut into small 2 inch squares if you are using a mini cupcake tin, and about 4 in squares if you are using a regular muffin tin. Place squares in a greased muffin tin.

You don’t need to push them down all the way to get to the edges. Just so long as it makes for a good cup shape is fine.


3. OPTIONAL: Beat an egg and whisk with about 1 tsp of water. With a pastry brush (or your fingers I guess…), gently brush the 4 corners of each square with the egg wash. You don’t have to do this, but I like it because it helps the corners to brown a bit nicer.

4. Fill with curry beef filling. Don’t put too much or else it’ll stick to the sides of the pan, or fall out, but don’t be afraid to be generous with it either, as the filling will become more solid and stick together after baking in the oven.


5. Bake for 15 minutes or until puff pastry turns slightly golden brown.

The only thing was that the filling ended up slightly dry after being in the oven, so I made a super-random-on-the-fly curry sauce. Random recipe below:

Quick and easy curry sauce

2 tbsp of butter

3 tbsp soy sauce

1-1 1/2 cup(s) water

1 to 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

dashes of cumin, basil, cinnamon and cayenne pepper

Salt & pepper to taste

2 tbsp corn starch + 2 tbsp water


1. In small pot or sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add soy sauce and water.

2. Add rest of seasonings, mix well.

3. Mix corn starch w/ water separately, and add to curry sauce. Mix well and let sauce thicken. Drizzle over curry-beef bites!

Since these turned out so well, I think next time I might just full out make the puff pastry curry pie things…for myself. 


– CP

Recipes, Uncategorized

Scallops galore

This post is actually ridiculously overdue, as I thought I had posted it a long time ago but…didn’t.

Over the summer, my buddy Viv and I discovered our mutual affinity for seared scallops, and figured we would give it a shot. We traversed a ways to Catalina Offshore Products to get some fresh, good quality seafood. We were super confused when we drove to what seemed like a random warehouse, and walked in to find a place that looked like a office space. We literally walked in, looked around, and walked back out thinking that we made a mistake. Went back in, and the workers at the front desk asked,

“Are you here to buy seafood?”.


“Do you have close-toed shoes?”

*looks down at flipflops* “nope…”

“Hm…then you’ll just have to stand on the side then”

After a little while of strange questions, waiting around for who-knows-what, and putting on some hairnets, we got our scallops! We trekked on home with a bag of some of the fattest and freshest scallops I’ve ever seen.

We had to look up some info on how to cook scallops as well as gather some inspiration, and off we went with our experimental cooking adventure!

Before you cook scallops, you need to tear off the little white chewy section it has that doesn’t taste very good.


To sear scallops, we read that the best way was to melt some butter along with olive oil. This would create the nice browned color on the ends and also give it that buttery flavor that goes great with seafood.


Yes that looks like a lot of butter..and indeed it was…but you honestly can’t skimp on the unhealthy stuff if you really want some things to taste good…haha. Lightly salt and pepper each side, and when the butter/oil starts to slightly smoke, place the scallops on the pan, flat side down. They should sear for about 2 minutes per side.

scallops 3

We made a kind of sweet corn, avocado & tomato salsa to go with the scallops.


Add some fancy martini glasses, a squeeze of lime, and some chopped up hazelnuts on top, and TA-DA!

scallops 5

Not bad right? It was actually super refreshing with the salsa, and the hazelnuts added a great texture to the dish.


At the end of the day, we felt quite accomplished and satisfied in our bellies. Will definitely be down to embark on other uncharted territory in the seafood realm. Maybe next time it will be ahi tuna? Sea urchin? Only the future will tell…

That concludes our scallop adventure. And now, I’m craving seafood. Farewell.

– CP