Tastefully Small Dessert Canapés
The traditional canapé, meaning "sofa" or "couch," is a cracker or small piece of bread with toppings: basically a miniature open-faced sandwich or pizza. Nowadays, people call any hors d'oeuvre a canapé, just to sound sophisticated. But whether bread-based or not, these fancy appetizers are almost always savory. Why not make sweet bites for dessert! Is any other part of the meal more about flavor and beauty than size?
Move over caviar: the couch isn't just for potatoes anymore. Because there's no better way to fill a tall order than with small desserts. The reason is simple: it's the little things we love most. Who gets adopted first: the cats or the kittens? The puppies or the dogs?
Fact is, we go for the cutest, and that goes for food too: the little ones get all the attention. But while pets need a lot of it, these dishes do not. They may look demanding, but most are hardly so. People will say, "that sure looks beautiful, but it must take forever to make." Truth is, they don't. And much of the work (or play, I would say) can be done ahead of time, leaving you free to enjoy your event yourself. What a concept!
I've been teaching cooking for over twenty years and testing some of these recipes for nearly that long in the process. I've had hundreds of students tell me what they like, don't like, and don't understand. These dishes, including variations for every recipe in the book, developed in those test kitchens, and I'm thankful for the feedback.
But don't just take it from me. Let your own creativity shine. I decided long ago that if you want something done bite-sized, you have to do it yourself. That's how Tastefully Small got started, and it's how I encourage you to think. What inspirations have others belittled? Let them be little! After all, the smallest stars are the brightest.
Kim Hendrickson has been involved in cookbook publishing for over twenty years. She has catered for the Bizarre Food Show, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Penguin Repertory Theatre, and TV’s “Slangman,” David Burke. A regular instructor at the John Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, she is also a frequent speaker at culinary events throughout the New York area. Kim teaches that good food is more than good taste; it’s the fun and joy of creating something beautiful and sharing it with others.
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What’s more enticing than a mouthwatering, bite-sized dessert? A whole bunch to choose from! This one-of-a-kind book combines classic flavors with simple hors d’oeuvre techniques to fashion more than fifty seductive petite sweets, from Cranberry Pear Bruschetta and Tiramisu Napoleons to Cheesecake Truffles and Passionfruit Ganache Oysters (complete with white chocolate “pearls”). Each as beautiful as it is delicious, these small bites will satisfy more...
Coeur à la Crème Strawberries
Coeur à la Crème is a classic French molded cheese dessert that is more cheese than fruit, but these little morsels balance the two. The perfect dessert for those who claim “most desserts are too sweet!”
Photo, from left: Persimmon Pavolvas; Coeur à la Crème Strawberries--recipe below--and Pineapple Granita Cups.
Yield: 48 strawberries
2 ounces small curd cottage cheese
2 ounces whipped cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
16 ounces (about 24) medium, whole strawberries, with green tops
1/2 cup strawberry jam, strained to remove seeds
Pastry bag fitted with 1/8-inch round tip
Small pastry bag fitted with 1/16 -inch round tip
Press cottage cheese through a fine sieve into a small bowl. Add cream cheese and salt and beat until smooth. Beat cream into cheese mixture.
Line a small sieve with cheese cloth and spoon the mixture into the sieve. Rest the sieve over a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for 8 hours to drain.
Cut each strawberry in half. Slice off the rounded edge of each half to yield 2 slices about 1/4-inch thick. Spread slices out on a serving platter. Slices may also be stored on a tray in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours.
To assemble, fill pastry bag with cheese filling. Pipe out a heart shape in the center of each strawberry slice. Fill the smaller pastry bag with jam and pipe out a small dot in the center of the cream heart.
To ensure equal size slices and to save time, use an egg slicer to cut the strawberries.
Have no time? Jarred clotted cream is a rich substitute for the cream. Or fold seedless raspberry jam into some whipped cream and spoon on top of the strawberries.
Copyright © 2008 by Kim Hendrickson. Reprinted from Tastefully Small Dessert Canapés with permission from Salvia Press.
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