Sunday, October 22, 2006

Chicken Salad Filled Puff Pastry

This makes a delightful taste tempting appetizer for a party.

Chicken Salad (**)

1-1/2 c. finely chopped cooked chicken
¼ c. finely chopped celery (*)
¼ c. finely chopped onion(*)
1 hard boiled egg, chopped (Optional)
1 TBS sweet pickle relish
1/4 tsp. salt
Garlic powder to taste
Dash of black pepper
1/8 scant tsp or less of curry (Add a pinch as you mix – add more if necessary to develop a subtle taste.
1/3 c. mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients. Chill in covered container until ready to serve.

(*) The celery and onion should be finely shredded in a food processor.

The curry is what makes this chicken recipe salad above and beyond the norm.

(**) This salad is exquisite served in small filled, cream puff pastries [2” diameter]

Cut puffs in half, stuff each half, put back together. and arrange on a nice plate

Cream Puffs

1 cup water
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs, slightly beaten

Heat water and butter to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in flour vigorously for about 1 minute, or until mixture forms a ball and cleans the sides of the pan. Stir in eggs. Beat vigorously again until smooth and satiny. Dough will separate at first, but will all comes together after a while. You can drop dough by 1/4 cupful, 3 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet(s); or, refrigerate for at least 30-minutes then evenly portion the dough .

Bake 20 minutes in a preheated 400° oven. Lower temp. to 350° and bake 15-20 minutes longer, or until the puffs are firm, deep golden in color, and crisp. Cool on wire racks. Cut in half and pull out any under-baked strands, and fill with pastry cream or whatever you like. (Ice cream, pudding, whipped cream, chicken or lobster salad). Replace tops and refrigerate. If these are for dessert puffs, at serving time, dust with confectioner's sugar. Fill these as close to serving time as possible, as they will soften if filled and there will be a long wait before eating.

When working with puff pastry, keeping it cold is crucial. You don't want the butter to melt prematurely. Work quickly with one piece at a time and keep the rest covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Your tools and working area should also be kept cold.

Puff pastry relies upon heat for lift. Preheat your oven at least 15 to 20 minutes before you plan on using it.

Use a very sharp hot knife or pastry/pizza wheel to cut puff pastry, and be sure to cut straight down and not at an angle. Using a dull implement will fuse the layers together and discourage rising.

A half recipe works well.


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