Everybody likes "mini" foods. They don't require utensils, and many times even plates. You have your own personal portion and do not have to share. And, best of all, (for those with a bit of OCD,) no one else touches it but you! That said, who actually likes the tedious work involved in producing enough of tiny portions to feed a group of hungry guests? Actually, I do. But even though, I try to find foolproof recipes with at least some make ahead components to make the process just a little more enjoyable. These delectable little bites fit the bill and are so yummy that even non-seafood lovers are hooked. It is not necessary to form the crust into cups. Just press it in a bit and top with the filling. As it bakes it combines to make a solid cup that easily comes out of the pan. Purchasing lump or claw crab that is already picked is pricy, but easy. Feel free to pick your own crab out of the shell, I do sometimes. —janet voris
Cream cheese, room temp, lite ok
Chopped fresh chives
Old Bay seasoning
Cayenne pepper, or to taste
Fresh crab meat, lightly flaked.
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Chopped fresh chives
(1/2 stick) melted butter, plus more to grease pans
With an electric mixer, beat cream and mascarpone cheeses until smooth.
Add egg and beat to blend.
Beat in mayo, chives and seasonings
Fold in crabmeat. You can make this 1 day ahead, keep covered and chilled.
Pre-heat oven to 350*
Grease 24ct mini muffin pans with butter.
Toss panko, parmesan and chives together in a small bowl.
Add melted butter and mix with fork until all crumbs are moistened.
Spoon 1 rounded tablespoon of panko mixture in each muffin cup and press down. Save what's left.
Spoon 1 generous tablespoon crab filling into each cup on top of crust.
Sprinkle 1 rounded teaspoon of panko mixture over filling.
Bake until golden, about 30 mins. (check at 25 mins.)
Cool 5 mins, then run a knife around each cake, if necessary, and lift out. These do not have to be served immediately, but don't let them sit out for more than 2 hours. Rewarm for 7 mins at 350* if necessary.