Whatever you prefer to call them (for Salmon, of course, they’ll always just be ‘finger food’), where there’s an opportunity to put the paws in the pastry, there goes digit, I mean Fidget…!
Canapés / tartellette / amuse bouche / mini morsels / appetizers
We hope you’ve enjoyed the holidays. Among spending time with family and cooking earthy, indulgent and fanciful meals, we hope you also got into the party spirit and enjoyed happy times with friends. Some quiet time, too.
And for when people are mingling and finger food is on the menu, we would like to share a tried and tested recipe which can turn out really nice canapés – for you to arrange on a tasty tray like well-dressed ballroom dancers. What’s more, you can make the mini-cases (which can be frozen, by the way) in advance and then fill them at the time with your favourite toppings – there, the choice is unlimited: this time we used gorgonzola and goats’ cheese, nuts and pears but it’s really up to you.
First things first. For the pastry we referred to Leith’s Baking Bible (p.44 and 46); you will need: 170g plain flour, pinch of salt, 55g cold butter, 35g lard, 1 egg yolk, 2 tbsp ice-cold water.
In a food processor blitz the flour, salt, butter and lard to obtain a texture similar to breadcrumbs. In a cup mix the yolk with the ice-cold water; add to the mix in the food processor and keep blitzing until the pastry comes together. Quickly shape the pastry into a ‘sausage’ and rest it in the fridge for ½ hour wrapped in cling film. Prepare your tin (we used the 24-hole type) by lightly greasing with butter and a sprinkle of flour. Take the pastry out of the fridge and divide into the number of pieces equivalent for your tin holes (if you have sausage-shaped your pastry you will just need to ‘slice’ in roughly equal-sized coin-shaped rounds). Press each one into the tin (with a pastry pusher if you have one) so they are evenly shaped and of the same thickness. Create baking paper mini-discs to line each case in preparation for blind baking. Return to the fridge for another ½ hour or so. When ready to bake, fill each lined case with a few baking beads and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°/gas 6 for 15–20min until light brown. Remove the baking beads and paper linings and put back in the oven for another 5min or so until evenly baked.
Let cool completely and then take the cases out of the tin. You are now ready to assemble your mini morsels: we’ve mentioned blue cheese, nuts, pears and chives, but you can also mix and match your favourite foods or the season’s specialities: cream cheese and salmon, olives and feta, sun-dried tomatoes, ham, boiled egg and mayonnaise, roast peppers, crab meat, pâté, sausage meat, roasted pumpkin and caramelised onions… wow!
So thank you for offering, Fidget. But just as we didn’t need your help mixing the pastry, we don’t need your involvement with the fillings either…
Yes, the party season is almost over. From the cartoon kitchen to yours – Fidget, Trota and Salmon wish you all the very best for 2016!