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Christmas party foods with a twist

Jo Romero
Yahoo Lifestyle
19 December 2012

Try making these simple party foods instead.

Brie and cranberry tarts

The soft Brie in these individual tarts melts into the cranberry base, while the thyme leaves lift the flavours. Makes 12.

Ingredients:
275g shop-bought puff pastry
100g Brie
12 heaped teaspoons cranberry sauce, from a jar
a few fresh thyme leaves, for sprinkling
1 egg, beaten with a drop of milk

Method

Roll out the pastry until it’s approximately 2mm thick. Cut the pastry into 12 squares and score them, with a sharp knife, just inside the outside edge, being careful not to cut all the way through. Bake at 220ºC for 15 minutes, until risen and golden. Take them out and press inside the border with a teaspoon. Each tart should now have a raised border. Spoon in the cranberry sauce and top with a generous slice of Brie. Scatter over a few thyme leaves and brush the outside edge of the pastry with the egg glaze. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

 [Related: Top recipes for better Brussels sprouts this Christmas]


Cheddar, ham and caramelised pineapple on sticks

An update on the retro party favourite, caramelised pineapple complements the salty ham and tangy Cheddar. Makes 10.

Ingredients:

10 cocktail sticks
10 cubes of fresh (not tinned) pineapple
1 heaped tablespoon soft, dark brown sugar
1 tsp unsalted butter
70g pack Parma ham
approx. 100g good Cheddar, cut into 10 cubes

Method

Toss the pineapple cubes in the sugar and set to one side. Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat, and gently fry the pineapple pieces for about one minute, until the sugar has caramelised and the pineapple is golden. Thread the pineapple cubes onto a cocktail stick, followed by a twist of ham and then finish with a cube of the cheese.

[Related: Is this the most expensive Christmas dinner ever?]


Black pudding sausage rolls
This deeply savoury take on the classic sausage roll makes an unusual but very tasty treat. Makes 20.

Ingredients:
200g black pudding
3 thick pork and leek sausages
275g shop-bought puff pastry
1 egg, beaten with a drop of milk

Method
Remove the sausages from their skins and place the sausagemeat in a mixing bowl with the black pudding, mixing with your hands until just combined. Next, preheat your oven to 200ºC. Roll out the pastry until it’s about 2mm thick. Now cut the pastry in half lengthways so you have two long strips. Arrange the meat mixture along the centre of each strip, brush the edges with the egg and bring both sides up to seal. Turn so it’s seam-side down and brush with the egg glaze. Cut each roll into 10 and place on a baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes, until cooked through and golden.

Chocolate-dipped strawberries
So simple, but still impressive. Just dip fresh strawberries into melted chocolate - we used plain chocolate along with white chocolate for contrast.

Ingredients:
450g fresh strawberries, washed and gently patted dry with a clean towel
100g plain chocolate (72% cocoa solids)
100g white chocolate (we used Green and Black’s white chocolate with Madagascan vanilla)

Method

Melt the chocolate in separate bowls over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl). Holding by the stalk, dip each strawberry into the melted chocolate and leave to dry on a plate lined with greaseproof paper. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or until firm.

[Related: Top 10 recipe books for Christmas]


Boozy chocolate snowball truffles
Make these the day before you want to serve them. Tossing them in coconut gives them a Christmassy snowball effect. Makes around 30, depending on size.

Ingredients:
200ml double cream
200g plain chocolate (72% cocoa solids)
1 tsp butter
small pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon Malibu white rum
Approx. 50g desiccated coconut

Method
Heat the cream until it just begins to simmer. Stir in the butter and take off the heat. In a bowl, break up the chocolate and sprinkle over the salt. Pour the cream and melted butter mixture over the chocolate, whisking until smooth and glossy. Stir in the Malibu, and cool and refrigerate overnight. On the day you’re serving the truffles, toast the coconut in a dry pan for a few seconds, until golden. Scoop out a teaspoon of the stiffened chocolate and quickly roll into a ball. Toss each truffle in the cooled coconut. Refrigerate until it’s time to serve. 

What party treats will you be serving this Christmas? Let us know over on Twitter now.

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