These are great make-ahead hors d’oeuvres because they reheat so beautifully. They require mini-muffin tins (also known as gem tins), and if you don’t already own some, you may want to buy them. They’re really a worthwhile investment. Suddenly everything you used to make big you will think about making mini.
You can line the tins with any kind of chopped nuts, with bread crumbs, or even with your favorite cracker, crushed. These mini goat cheese cakes are a delicious addition to a tossed green salad, like an elegant crouton.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for buttering the tin
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup very finely chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
Makes 18 cakes
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a nonstick mini muffin tin with eighteen 1/8-cup wells that measure 1 3/4 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch deep. Mix the bread crumbs, walnuts, and butter in a small bowl with half the salt and half the pepper. Stir with a fork until thoroughly combined. Place 2 teaspoons of the mixture in each cup and press down into the bottom to form a crust.
Beat the goat cheese and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth, light, and fluffy. Beat in the egg, chives, and remaining salt and pepper. Divide between the wells and smooth the tops with a knife. Bake until puffed, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire wrack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the rim of each cake and carefully unmold. Note: These can be baked a day ahead and kept covered and chilled in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 350ºF oven until hot.