It’s the season of celebration and whether you’re searching for the perfect winter canapés to serve this Christmas or looking ahead to plan your winter wedding menu, our lifestyle editor has you covered. Alexandra Dudley speaks to three experts about their top tips for the most delicious winter canapés, perfect for gatherings large and small.
ALEX HEAD, SOCIAL PANTRY
Top Tip – Keep It Balanced
Keeping a balance between hot and cold canapés is crucial, says Alex Head, founder of Social Pantry. You need to make sure you can fit everything into the oven. So make sure you have enough cold options to prepare as the warm ones cook. Think about the balance of texture and ingredients. Aim for an equal balance of fish, meat and vegetarian options and make sure there is variation in the way they are served too. You don’t want everything in pastry, or everything on skewers. Try to keep each canapé varied.
Go To Winter Canapé – Wild Mushroom and Truffle Vol au Vent
I went to stay at The Pig Hotel back in May just as lockdown eased, I love it there for so many reasons, one main reason is their 25 mile radius menu. Back in May, they had a vegetarian vol au vent as a main course dish which was divine. I created a mini version for our Autumn winter canapé menu which is definitely my new favourite; Wild Mushroom and Truffle Vol au Vent (v).
Spin On A Classic – Whipped Goat’s Cheese Crouton
One winter canapé that has gone down really well this Christmas is our winter version of a Whipped Goat’s Cheese Crouton. We’ve whipped the goat’s cheese with some honey, and served it on homemade rustic sourdough croutons. It’s a great way to use any bread that’s on the turn too. Just brush some torn or chopped bread with olive oil and salt, and bake in a preheated oven of 180°C for five minutes. Spoon or pipe the whipped goat’s cheese on top. We add a fermented blackberry to ours but it is delicious as it is, or with a sprig of rosemary, or cracked black pepper. You could add another drizzle of honey too, if you like.
ROSE LLOYD OWEN – PEARDROP LONDON
Top Tip – Think About Serveware
Think about how your food will look on its serving platter, says Rose of Peardrop London. Avoid using patterned plates or trays as the food will get lost. In the summer you could use edible flower petals and herbs but in winter opt for pine, berries and fir cones to dress your tray. Or, for a classic winter canapé look, sit a plain white plate on top of Christmas wreath.’
Go To Winter Canapé – Mini Croque Monsieurs
For a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, we always go for Mini Croque Monsieurs. Toast sourdough, spread with béchamel, cranberry sauce and brie, top with more toasted sourdough, béchamel, mustard, thyme, and parmesan. Cook until golden. Chill. Cut into neat triangles and when ready to serve, reheat at 200°C for five minutes. We serve them with mulled cider and they go down a storm. Beautiful winter canapés that are ready to serve in five minutes.
Spin On A Classic – Mince Pies with Stilton
St John famously serve Eccles cakes with cheese and this is a very similar idea that works brilliants as a winter canapé. Add stilton to buttercream and spoon onto warm mini mince pies. It is completely delicious. You can do it with malt loaf too. We make our own malt loaf with added Christmassy spices and serve it with stilton, poached pear, and crispy sage.
CHARLIE GRANT PETERKIN – ROCKET FOOD
Top Tip – Never put napkins on the tray.
Keep your canapé platters all about the food and always offer napkins separately, says Charlie Grant Peterkin of Rocket Food. Avoid excess waste that comes with paper napkins and opt for washable miniature cloth ones. I recommend having a look at mydrap.com for inspiration
Go To Winter Canapé – Potato thin with truffle and parmesan cream
This has been a Rocket Christmas favourite for years. We use a Mayon Gold potato and slice it super thin (1mm) on a mandolin. Brush with oil and bake at 220°C between two baking sheets to prevent from curling. Then, whip up a simple cream using parmesan and truffle and once the crips are cool, pipe the cream onto one crisp, before sandwiching the other crisp on top. We serve ours on toast racks with chilled champagne. They are showstopper winter canapés!
Spin On A Classic – Smoked Mozzarella and Winter Tomato Arancini
I believe that Christmas canapes shouldn’t be overly fussy. Simplicity is the key – using brilliant seasonal ingredients and giving a little twist to liven up an old friend. Our Smoked Mozzarella and Winter Tomato Arancini is a great example – we use a Sicilian Marinda tomato which are available from Winter through to Spring. Our other hero ingredient is mozzarella that has been smoked over Beachwood. This gives the arancini a delicious smoky taste and an oozie centre. Christmas comfort food in a winter canapé.
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