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Inventive, savory toppings/fillings for pastry shells?

I have this idée fixe stuck in my head that I must absolutely, definitely, fo-shizzle serve pastry shells at my red carpet event on Sunday.... but I just don't know what to put in them. I already have mini lamb meatballs w/yogurt sauce, shrimp balls, deviled eggs and tuna salad squares, so it'd have to be Something Different -- *sigh*

There must be something you love to make, is easy & looks awesomely impressive, no?

pretty please w/sugar on top :-D

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  1. I recently made crepes stuffed with wilted spinach, and shallots sauteed with crimini mushrooms (the little brown guys - I'm sure you know that) and goat cheese.
    Very rich. Very good. Naturally you want to salt and pepper the mushroom shallot mixture; I suppose you could also process it somehow to fit into a mini pie crust, then top with the spinach and garnish (I actually fried leek sliced into thin strips - looks and tastes good with the dish, I just sliced early ones too thin and they burned, so slice around 1/4 inch wide, lengthwise. I used the "transition part" with the white and green).

    1. Hmm. Gruyere or emmentaler quiche with a thin, swishy, artistic drizzle of HP steak sauce (no other brand!).

      1. Spinach Puffs
        (don't know where I got this recipe...maybe the back of puff pastry box years ago. Okay, not awesomely impressive, but tasty and easy.)

        1 box of puff pastry shells, each cut into quarters
        1 10-oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
        1 box of Knorr dry leek soup mix
        8 oz sour cream

        Preheat oven to 425. Mix powdered soup, sour cream, and spinach. Let soften to reconstitute (about 30 mins or longer in fridge, covered with plastic wrap). Torture each puff pastry quarter into a mini muffin pan. Divide filling among cups. Bake 20 mins. Makes 24

        Using the same puff pastry cup technique, I've modified Paula Deen's recipe for tomato pie.

        Make the cups in the mini muffin tin. Put in chopped tomatoes (I've used well-drained, canned in the dead of winter), minced scallions, and then the cheddar-mayo mixture.
        She bakes the pie at 350. I think I've used the 425 from the recipe above. Maybe a half recipe of the cheddar-mayo mix might be enough for 24 mini's.

        I am so stealing gsshark's crepe filling recipe. I was going to suggest duxelles, but this is much better!

        PS what are tuna salad squares?

        5 Replies
        1. re: nemo

          One of my favorite savory tarts is caramelized onions with blue cheese -- this would work with tart shells too, I imagine.

          Are you having a sweet filling? Cream cheese with glazed berries is always a hit.

          1. re: dolores

            Mmm...dolores, you just about read my mind...except I love very carmenlized onions with brie.

            Take the tart shell, place a little disc of brie on the bottom of the warm shell (I prebake, using whole wheat flour and a little rosemary or basil in the crust), cover in warm carmelized onions and wait for the brie to melt. If you want to make it fancy put something a little green on top. The nice thing about these is that you can keep them warmed in the oven.

            Serve with a spicey Pinot, yummm....

          2. re: nemo

            Homemade tuna salad on toast squares... I suppose I could've been more specific.

            But then, I have a feeling my question wasn't phrased right or somewhat misunderstood. I was talking about those puff pastry shells you can get in the frozen section (they are pre-baked, I think). All you really have to do is put stuff on/in them. No puff pastry squares involved.

            I'm still really undecided. Something cheesy sounds great, though. Maybe some sort of goat cheese concoction with _______ blank. Dang. Thankfully, I have 1.5 more days to figure something out ---

            1. re: linguafood

              I've filled those with chocolate mouse and topped with whipped cream and a chocolate curl. You could also mix some lemon curd (out of a jar, if you wish), with some fresh whipped cream and make a "lemon mousse" tart.

              Curried chicken salad with almond slices, or some southern style shrimp or crab salad. These would be tasty savory dishes.

              You could also do the carmelized onions and brie. This wouldn't take that long to put together.....

              1. re: jazzy77

                jazzy, that does sound delish. who could resist brie and caramelized onion. not me '-)

          3. Love the roasted squash and caramelized onion tart on epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

            Particularly good with lots and lots of sage.

            1. How about mini quiches?

              1. I'm thinking of those mini phyllo shells? Love them. I can find them in plain, red, or green. They can take a little bit in the oven, so you could warm the brie and top with the onion. That sounds really good.

                Goat cheese thinned with cream or cream cheese with either basil pesto or sun-dried tomato pesto or tapenade layered in.
                Piped in flavored Alouette or other boursin cheese with a sliver of nut or olive or sun-dried tomato or herb stuck in the top.

                1. how about some smoked salmon and creme fraiche? normally put them in potato nests, but i think pastry shells would work too...


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: soypower

                    omg, I love the smoked salmon and creme fraiche idea. not outrageously extraordinary... but sooo damn good. I think I'll go with that, otherwise I am afraid my head will explode '-)

                    As always -- thank you all for your input!

                  2. I think there are many good suggestions by other hounds. I happened to have used those pastry shells a lot (I am always in for small appetizers that "look" hard to make but are indeed easy and fast). Here are some ideas that worked for me:

                    - stuffed with goat cheese, topped with pancetta or prosciutto "crisps"
                    - stuffed with a mix of goat cheese and medley of mushrooms and bake
                    - stuffed with salmon mousse, topped with a dollop of creme frachie (with or w/o lemon), and some caviar or salmono roes
                    - stuffed with crabmeat salad (ok please use real crab meat and not the imitated crab meat), topped with either thin spears of asparagus or chives or tobbiko
                    - stuffed with egg salad, topped with chives or dill
                    - stuffed with spicy tuna tartare or cubes and avocado
                    (I know you already have deviled eggs and tuna so those are just for your reference)

                    Most of the above I baked the shells first and put in the stuffings. For the ones with cheese you can bake the cheese and shells together and serve it warm.

                    You can also use it for desserts:
                    -stuff with custard creme, topped with berries (sort of like a tart)
                    - pipe in some chocolate mousse, dusted with some sugar powder, and topped with berries and mint
                    - scoop a tiny scoop of ice cream, topped with a dollop of whipped cream (of course this needs to be prepared right before serving)

                    I mentioned berries as toppings mainly because they are small enough so you don't need to cut and dice the fruits to fit on top of the mini shells. Of course if you have the time by all means use other fruits.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: kobetobiko

                      aaaarrrrggghhhh, kobe! why must you do that? :-D. No, seriously -- I love the tuna tartare & avocado combo... I had actually also considered to throw some egg salad in the shells instead of devilled eggs... they're so... old-fashioned.

                      Also thanks for the sweet suggestions, but that's taken care of already.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Hi linguafood,

                        This happens to be my specialty - pretend that I did a lot of work for the food which only takes minutes to prepare :P

                        Anyway, a word of caution, particularly to the cold fillings, is that the shells will get soggy if you put the fillings too far in advance. You can most certainly do all the mixing and fixings in bowls and refridgerate them, then just fill them into the shells before serving. You can even cut up the chives and asparagus so all you need to do is to place the ingredients into the shells. They really take no time to fill.