Canapes Escape

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Canapes are one of my favourites whenever I dine at hotel buffets. Imagine my joy when At 19 Culinary Studio planned for a Canapes Escape class. When I received the recipe, I was slightly disappointed that bread stick will be taught in class. In my dictionary, I never considered bread stick as canapes because canapes essentially have garnish sitting on top of shaped stale bread or puff pastry. Besides bread stick, we will be making seafood vol-au-vent, potato cakes & chicken burger.

We started preparing the bread dough first since it require longer completion time. To make mini burger bun, we mixed all the dry ingredients (plain flour, yeast, sugar & milk powder) using a dough hook in a bowl. Salt is added later to prevent spoiling the yeast if added earlier. Next, we added in eggs, milk & cold water, adjusting the mixer to slow speed & allow it to combine well for 10 mins. Butter is then added with fast speed setting for 5 mins.

The dough is proved for 15-20 mins. We shaped the dough & left it to proof for another 15-20 mins. See how huge the dough has grown just in over 20 mins.

The dough is baked for about 25-30 mins until nicely browned. The burger bun is left aside to cool & ready to use. Similarly, we prepared the dough for the bread stick first before moving on to the next recipe. The difference between a burger bun dough & bread stick dough is the absence of egg & butter in the latter. Hence, the bread stick dough will be more elastic compared to its counterpart. After the bread stick dough is ready, we cut it into strips & twirl so that it turns out curly when baked. Bread stick requires about 15-30 mins of baking.

Next, we started working on the 2nd recipe - seafood vol-au-vent which means seafood enclosed in a small hollow case of puff pastry. Vol-au-vent is usually filled with savoury ingredients but sweet fillings is possible too. For seafood, we picked squid & shrimp by cutting them into cubes. The cubes are then stirred together with sauteed garlic in butter. Cream is added then letting it simmer until the sauce thickens. We switched off the gas & allow the seafood to cool. Meanwhile, we cut the puff pastry using different size moulds. The cut puff pastry is stacked to form a hollow case, followed by a brush of egg yolk to promote a nice golden brown coating. Bake them at 180°C for 20 mins. We started scooping the seafood into the puff pastry, filling up the hollow space.

Our 2nd last recipe of the day is the chicken burger. We only need to prepare the patty since the burger bun was completed earlier. All that is required to make the patty is ground chicken, chopped parsley, onions, garlic, salt, ground black pepper & egg. Egg is added to the ground chicken & blended together until smooth. Once done, the blended chicken mix is combined with parsley, sauteed onions & garlic while adding salt & pepper to taste. We also mix in some capers to give a richer taste to the patty. The mixture is shaped into 4 1/2-inch thick patties which will be grilled over medium heat for 8-10 mins when covered. As soon as the patty is done, we started assembling the mini chicken burger.

Lastly, we continued with the potato cakes recipe. The potatoes were scrubbed before boiling them in lightly salted water. Once cooked, we grated them & mashed it with other ingredients - shallot, red chili, spring onion & coriander leaves. We formed the mash potatoes into patties which is then dredge in flour, eggs & crumbs. The patties is to be cooked in a non-stick pan for 2-3 mins until golden brown. For a lesser oil alternative, the patties can be baked in the oven.

There you have it, 4 different recipes to tantalise your personal taste buds. The one thing I didn't fancy is that the portion which was taught wasn't exactly mini size, in which defeats the purpose of calling the dishes as canapes. Oh well, as long the recipes tasted great & it's all that matters. The rest boils down to lots & lots of practice.