Make it Yourself...Savory Appetizers

Pastry can be the foundation for a lot of pretty, delicious appetizers.  Here are two of my favorites.

These pastries can be made ahead, frozen, and baked as needed.  The pastry was excellent – easy to work with and pretty, as well as tasty and tender.
You can use holiday leftovers, either ham or chicken.  I'd make these for Super Bowl fare, and I have served them with a bowl of soup for lunch.
Creamy Ham-filled Turnovers
                        Filling
  2        Tablespoons  Butter
  2        Tablespoons  Onion -- finely chopped
  1 1/2  Cups  Ham – chopped fairly fine
  3         Ounces  Cream Cheese
     1/4   Teaspoon  Salt
     1/4   Teaspoon  Thyme Leaves
     1/4   Teaspoon  Pepper
  3         Tablespoons  White Wine -- or chicken broth 
                        Pastry
  1 1/3   Cups  Flour, All-purpose
     1/2   Teaspoon  Salt
     1/2   Teaspoon  Paprika
     1/2   Cup  Butter
  2 To 4 Tablespoons  Ice Water

·         In 10" skillet, melt butter; add onion.  Cook over medium heat until softened 4-5 minutes.  Stir in remaining filling ingredients.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is melted and heated through 2-3 minutes.  Set aside.
·         Heat oven to 375°
·         In medium bowl, combine all pastry ingredients except butter and water.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Stir in water; shape into a ball.  On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/16” thickness.  Cut with floured 2 1/2" round cookie cutter.  Place 1 tablespoon (size 100 scoop) filling on one circle; top with another.  Press edges with fork to seal.   Place on cookie sheets, repeat.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Yield:   "About 18 turnovers"

This recipe from the "Farm Journal's Complete Pie Book" could easily be doubled for parties.   To make this easier if your days are getting busier, make your pie crust ahead, and roll it out, cut out your crusts, and freeze them by stacking them on a paper plate with 2 sheets of waxed paper between each.  On baking day, separate them and let them thaw briefly and then press them into the muffin cups and continue with the recipe.    Tarts can be frozen or refrigerated after baking and reheated to eat as well. 
The mixture baked up perfectly, and came out of my non-stick muffin pan easily.  They are also an excellent party choice.  Choose good quality Swiss cheese, we used Tillamook, as this makes the dish.  Cook an extra slice or two of bacon for a garnish.
                          Individual Cheese Pies
  6             Slices  Bacon
     1/2      Cup  Onion – chopped (3 ounces)
  1 1/2      Cups  Swiss Cheese -- grated, (6 ounces)
  2             Tablespoons  Flour, All-purpose
  4             Ounces  Canned Mushroom Pieces – drained and chopped
  2             Large  Eggs
  1             Cup  Light Cream -- or whole milk
     3/4      Teaspoon  Salt
                        Pastry
  1 1/3      Cups  Flour, All-purpose
     1/2      Teaspoon  Salt
     1/2      Teaspoon  Paprika
     1/2      Cup  Butter -- very cold
  2  To 4   Tablespoons  Ice Water
In medium bowl, combine all pastry ingredients except butter and water.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Stir in water; shape into a ball.  On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/16” thickness.  Cut with floured round cookie cutter or cut around a plate – about 4 ¼” for standard muffin cups.  Press into individual muffin cups and proceed with recipe.
Cook bacon until crisp; remove from skillet, drain and crumble.
Cook onion in bacon drippings until tender.  Remove and drain.
Combine bacon, cheese, flour and mushrooms.  Divide evenly between tart shells (I used a size 24 muffin scoop). 
Beat eggs and beat in light cream and salt; add onion.  Spoon egg mixture over.
Bake at 425° for 7 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300° and bake until mixture is set, 10 to 15 minutes more.  Cool at least 10 minutes before removing from muffin-pan cups.

Serves 12

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