RECIPE: Elegant Appetizer

carla35December 17, 2007

I need to bring an appetizer to a Christmas party. NO dips. It needs to be elegant (think black tie), easy, and I would like something 'new'. I have a feeling she'll already have all the baked brie type of stuff, etc. I don't want to rule out salty or savory, but I'm thinking maybe something sweet would be easier to transport and wouldn't need heating, etc... But nothing too close to chritmas cookies. Does anyone have a good key lime tart or something similar recipe? Actually, I'm open to any elegant appetizer recipe (I'm thinking pick up with fingers food) that you think would fit the bill... Thanks in advance.

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Here is a recipe for an elegant almond butter cake reipce.

I make them for gifts for Christmas. Just make sure you dont bake them in a tin foil pan, it just doesnt work. Also I tried and 8 inch pan, that didnt work either. You dont really need the fruit on it. It's so GOOD!

Here is what is written on the web site it came from....

Almond Butter M. Cunningham

"Almond butter cake is not to be taken lightly just because you can stir it together in about 3 minutes, pop it in the oven to bake, and serve it within an hour. It's truly a unique cake, because it doesn't rise very high and it comes out moist, sticky, and chewy, like a cookie. It also keeps twice as long as any conventional cake." From Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham. My MIL served these recently, cut up like bar cookies, which is just what I thought they were. I was pleasantly surprised to receive this recipe as the source.
by s'kat

The cake batter
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
2 teaspoons soft butter or nonstick cooking spray (for greasing the cake pan)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ounces sliced almonds (3/4 cup)

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring regularly.
  3. Pour the melted butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar into a large bowl and stir until smooth.
  4. Crack the eggs right into the same bowl and mix until the batter is creamy and all one color.
  5. Add the salt, almond extract, vanilla extract, and flour and stir briskly until the batter is smooth.
  6. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter from the bowl into the greased cake pan.
  8. Spread it evenly in the pan.
  9. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar, then the sliced almonds, over the top of the batter.
  10. Put the pan on the middle rack of the oven and set the timer for 35 minutes.
  11. When it rings, check to see if the cake is done.
  12. It should be light brown on top, and when you insert a toothpick in the center, it should have a few sticky crumbs adhering to it.
  13. If the cake is not browned enough and the toothpick comes out too wet, put the cake back in the oven and check it again in another 10 minutes.
  14. When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool on a heatproof counter for at least 30 minutes.
  15. Cut the cake into small wedges and serve with fresh fruit.
  16. This cake will stay fresh for about a week and will freeze indefinitely.
  17. Wrap it tightly in foil, or in a plastic bag you can seal with a zip or tie.
  18. Storing nuts: Whenever you have leftover nuts, freeze them in a plastic bag closed tightly.
  19. They will keep indefinitely in the freezer.
    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 1:42PM
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I don't really think of sweets as appetizers.
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup flour

Combine the butter & cream cheese in a large bowl. Add flour & mix well. Roll dough into a ball & chill 1 hour. Divide dough into 24 pieces. Press into lightly greased mini muffin pans. For each tart, divide solid filling ingredients among shells. Mix eggs, milk & salt. Pour evenly over shells. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 25-30 minutes.~~

Take your pick of fillings;
1/4 lb fresh asparagus, steamed, trimmed & chopped
5 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
3 green onions, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustared
1/2 tsp garlic salt~~

MUSHROOM PARMESAN (makes 4 dozen so either halve this or double the shells recipe)
1/2 lb mushrooms, diced, sauteed in 3 TBL butter
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt

This probably wouldn't do for the dinner party you're attending since it might clash with your host's main course but it's good:
CHICKEN CURRY (makes 24)
1 TBL butter, softened
12/ cup golden raisins (I omit)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped, cooked chicken
1 tsp curry powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt~~

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 5:20PM
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I guess you're right, ginger, about sweets not really being appetizers... but I don't think she's going to have any sweets... and I noticed at the last 'bring your own appetizer' party I went to that there were really no sweets (and everyone was fighting over the M&M's!) so I thought I may try the sweet route. What do you think? The invite said to bring an appetizer or a bottle of wine? Should I stick to the regular type of appetizer? I doubt she would really care what I brought just as long as it was 'elegant' looking. She's trying to have a very ritzy party... I know, asking people to bring something sort of blows it... but what can you say.

Thanks to both of you for the recipes you posted.

By the way, ginger, ... guess what I'm having for dinner... Imo's Pizza! (Hopefully, you're the right ginger and know what pizza I'm talking about)

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 7:19PM
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If a person asks you to bring an "appetizer" does that mean that she is providing dinner? In that case, a sweet appetizer would be the wrong thing to bring.

Is the party to be just hors d'oeuvres? No entree, just snack food or what some people call heavy hors d'oeuvres? Then bite sized sweets might be in order.

There is nothing more elegant than beautiful fresh strawberries served on a tray with a bowl of brown sugar and a bowl of sour cream. You dip the berry in the sour cream then roll it in the brown sugar. If you use a silver tray and glass bowls, the look will be very elegant.

Blanched snow pea pods can be slit and filled with piped cream cheese with chives. Blot well before filling and keep chilled.

For something sweet, homemade fudge, special Italian cookies from a good bakery, petit fours, or biscotti would make good choices.

Here is a thread on holiday sweets and treats:

Here is a link that might be useful: holiday food gifts

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 8:06PM
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Oh, yeah, I guess I should have dinner... so it really is more of an hors d'oeuvres type party. I guess that's why I was thinking I could go with sweet. I'm highly contemplating just bringing wine at this point...LOL

Thanks for the additional ideas.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 8:26PM
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I'm with Ginger, sweets just don't grab me as an appetizer. Guess you could do a really sweet meatball, with a mango sauce.

Maybe Eileen's cheesecake lollipops might be a good choice. Elegant, different, sweet but not "desserty"

Here is a link to her thread

Here is a link that might be useful: Cheesecake Lolipops

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 10:01PM
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I think I understand what you meant about a key lime tart. Very nice idea.
I used to make key lime pie but used the Jello key- lime-pie-box with its little gelatin capsule of key lime. Don't know if it's still available. My very particular husband loved it. Could you use a lemon curd recipe and substitute?

There is a luscious picture by AnnT in this link that may tempt you to do something with phyllo cups (or won ton cups).

Further down there is a key lime recipe using sweetened condensed milk - I've tried that before and it didn't quite suffice.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 4:00AM
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I'm the right Ginger. :) Imo's is very good but Farotto's is even better! Lucky you.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 4:01AM
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Today a friend was asking about a recipe for key lime pie without sweetened condensed milk. I promised to search for her and found this!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 4:26AM
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For something sweet that doubles as an appetizer, try stuffing canned Chinese Lychee nuts with a cream cheese filling. I like the cream cheese mixed with sunflower seeds or other nuts, dried cranberries, toasted sesame seeds, or black pepper.

I know it sounds a bit odd, but they really are tasty, and easy to spear off a plate/tray with a toothpick.

If you aren't familiar with Lychee nuts, they are actually a fruit (I dunno why they're called nuts), that one can occasionally buy fresh in some specialty produce markets. There is a hard, reddish peel on the fresh ones, an almost opalescent flesh, and very large seeds (which make an excellent pocket for stuffing). The canned sort are peeled and seeded already, of course.

You could probably do the same thing with other fruits...melons, strawberries etc, but you'd have to be balling and hollowing.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 7:01AM
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On the CBS Early Morning Show, today they had ideas for a wine and cheese party. There are some great ideas on this page.

At the bottom is a sweet recipe, just in case you are still thinking of sweet.

Roasted Almond and Date Spread.

There are also some good ideas of wine and cheese pairing.
Watching this show today, has gotten me thinking of having a wine and cheese party for the holidays.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wine and Cheese Party

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 10:01AM
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Posted by glenda_al (My Page) on Mon, Jul 2, 07 at 22:09

These are a HIT! I serve with toothpicks, olives, cocktail onions, and celery around the dish!, plus the dip at the end of recipe.
Bloody Mary Bites
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce **optional
vodka to cover
For dipping, combine:
2 tablespoons lemon pepper
2 tablespoons celery salt


Remove the stems from the tomatoes, and place them in a shallow bowl. Pour vodka over them so that they are covered. Stir in the hot pepper sauce. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. ***Best if you dip them in boiling water for 10 seconds, and then plunge in ice water and peel.
To serve, mix together the lemon pepper and celery salt in a small dish. Serve tomatoes floating in vodka.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 10:28AM
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You guys are great! I think any of the recipes you've listed would work out well. Now the hard part...picking just one... Thanks so much for your ideas.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 11:10PM
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I always am asked to make the same appetizer. I usually use the little party size squares of rye bread (or pumpernickle) and spread a layer of the cream cheese with salmon. I place a real thin piece of fresh smoked salmon on top then using my pastry bag-I squeeze a dot of the cream cheese on top of the salmon & stick a tiny piece of fresh dill to garnish. Tasty & eye appealing.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 9:37AM
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Ginger..I made your mushroom appetizers yesterday! Thanks so much! Easy and good..

Your French Dips are still a fav here..Happy Holidays to u:)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 7:50PM
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