When we entertain, I get an enormous sense of satisfaction seeing family and friends enjoy the selection of hors d ‘oeuvres on the table. Some even bring a dish or two to add to the selection.  These bite sized morsels really set the tone for a party and the more creative you are with the selection, the greater the anticipation for the rest of the meal.  This is one of my favorite things to make when we entertain, it received validation as we did something similar in one of my PC Cooking School classes. It uses puff pastry as the base and just about anything your imagination comes up with for the filling. This time around, I used turkey, cream cheese, a bit of brie and topped it with some wild blueberry jam. One roll of the puff pastry makes about 24 mini-muffin size cups and yes you can use the scraps to patch together a cup – these are for you to do quality assurance on (ahem). You don’t want too much pastry so don’t cut the squares too big.

The nice thing about this is that you can make the cups, fill and freeze them until ready to use. They also go right from the freezer to the oven so there’s another bonus for making these in advance. Now you can make puff pastry from scratch – it’s not a laborious process and most certainly not difficult, but it is time consuming. So if you are in a pinch, my favorite brand is PC Puff Pastry. I like it because it comes already rolled out and with it’s own parchment paper so if you are baking it whole, you don’t need to use additional paper. It is also one of the few brands that use real butter giving you those beautiful crispy layers of flaky pastry.

So do try this recipe, vary it with whatever filling you like. Some suggestions, mushrooms and cream cheese, spinach and feta, pork and shrimp, sweet potato, bacon and endive, salmon or tuna, hot Italian sausage and olives, for my Goan friends – chili fry, or your favorite flavors of filling. It doesn’t have to be savory, it could also be sweet. Pipe some chocolate mousse into the cups after baking them For this though, you need to make sure you properly puncture the surface of the raw pastry so it doesn’t all rise and become a lump of pastry while baking. Or spoon a bit of your favorite preserves into the cup before baking it. If it does become a lump of pastry, don’t panic, just dust it with icing sugar and serve it with ice cream or macerated fruit – that’s a sweet treat! Use your imagination and have fun with it, just share your ideas with me! As always – enjoy!

4 slices of cooked turkey breast or thigh meat, small dice (you could use raw turkey as well, just cook it separately first with the onions, chilies, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add the cream cheese while still hot and stir to melt – cool.)
1 medium onion, small dice
125g cream cheese, softened
2 – 4 Thai chilies, finely diced
100g Brie, diced or just pulled apart
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup wild blueberry jam or something savory – mango chutney
1 pkg PC Puff Pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

Unroll the puff pastry sheet, cut into 1.5″ squares (cut one square, see how it fits into the mini-muffin tray – adjust if needed)
Press the squares into the mini-muffin cups – put the tray(s) in the fridge to chill the pastry – it puffs better when baked from a cold start
Pre-heat the oven to 400F
Add a little olive oil to a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add the onions and chilies and sauté until the onions are soft
Add the diced turkey, stir, add the  cream cheese, stir – taste, season and taste
Let the mixture cool – that’s it for the mixture, really
Remove the puff pastry lined muffin trays from the fridge, fill with the mixture, top with pieces of Brie and the jam
Brush the exposed pastry with the egg wash
Bake at 400 for 17 – 20 minutes – remember, only you know if your oven is hot or not, so always check at the minimum time or slightly before.  If your oven has hot spots, rotate the trays about half way through 
Remove from the oven when the puff is golden brown, let cool slightly and serve – warm or room temperature, these are delicious and if there are any left, serve them with a tossed salad the next day for lunch – perfect travelling food
If you are baking these in advance and have frozen them, you can re-heat in a 325F oven for about 10 minutes, just to warm through – just test it to make sure the filling is hot but don’t leave it in too long or the pastry will dry out.