French Week · Season 2

On to French Week!

The last challenge in episode 8 was a vegetable cake with no dairy and no butter.  No, thanks.  I just don’t care for carrot cake, I don’t like squash (nope, not even pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice everything) and I’ve made a couple of zucchini cakes before, but I just don’t want to.  No one will eat it.  Honestly, of all the challenges thus far, this is the one thing where I just don’t have the interest to try.  Nope.  Can’t make me.  I’m gonna take a Mulligan on it.

So next is French week….canapes, Charlotte Royal and an Opera cake.  Let’s get started!

Rules for this savory canape challenge:  choux pastry, shortcrust pastry and a baker’s choice.  Thin, crispy, no soggy bottoms.

Lots of ideas out there.  Spinach, parm & egg tartlets; crab & wasabi mayo profiteroles; carrot-flavored choux with hummus, cauliflower cheese scones, twisty cheese bites here.

What I settled on was shrimp & cream cheese and chicken salad.  I know, super casual.  I thought, “Is it snooty enough for a canape?  Is it too low class?  Would you call it, perhaps, Trailer Trash Canapes?”  So I started to think of all the other combinations that the white-trash-set might create for their canape combos.

  • PB&J.
  • Beans & Wieners.
  • Spam & Cheese Whiz.
  • Mac n Cheese.
  • Corn Dogs & Mustard.
  • Chicken Fingers & Ketchup.
  • Fish Fingers & Tartar Sauce.
  • Deviled Ham & Mayo.
  • Beef Jerky and…well, anything.

However, I figured if I flavored it nicely, it might pass…if they don’t like it, then the snooty set can stick it right in their canape hole!

So I started by making the choux pastry.  Super easy.  It just takes a bit of muscle to keep whipping it over low heat until it’s the right consistency but honestly–it’s four ingredients.  I piped it onto parchment paper and baked it for 10 minutes at 425, then lowered the temp to 375 and baked it for about another 12 minutes with the fan on since I had to put the two pans on different racks.  They browned up beautifully!

Poke a hole in each one with a bamboo skewer to let any excess steam out and let them cool.

I had cooked some chicken yesterday and put it into a container in the fridge, so all I had to do was take it out and dice it up nice and small.  Mix up the chicken with celery, dijon mustard, horseradish, pepper, and mayo.  You can add other stuff to taste, but that’s what I did.  Celery adds a bit of crunch, horseradish adds some zing, dijon adds a depth of flavor.  And I’m just making all this up to sound pretentious.  It tastes good.

Cut the canapes open with a serrated knife–very gently and let the knife do the work, sawing through them while you hold the soft pastry firmly but without squashing it.  They’ll have a nice little hollow in the center.

I put about a teaspoon of the mixture onto each bun and put the lid back on.  You could put a slip of lettuce or something on it to add more fun, but this is enough.  I made a dozen of those and tried one…yum!

The next mix was the cream cheese.  I got some whipped cream cheese to make it easier to add more ingredients, which was about a teaspoon of lime (couldn’t find the lemon…the middle kid is a lemon addict), worchestershire sauce, dried onion and dill.  Mix madly with a rubber scraper.  For this, I put the mix into a small decorating bag and put about a teaspoon of cream cheese onto the bottom half of the pastry and topped it with a small shrimp.

Served these to my kids and their reaction was…meh.  They ate a few of each, then the big kid made a frozen pizza.

I still need to make one more canape variety with shortcrust pastry.  I’m going to think on that.  Maybe I can make Pepperoni Pizza Canapes?

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