Sunday, September 7, 2014

End of Summer Tea Party

One of my friends, Mary, gave a tea party this past week. It was a proper English Afternoon Tea; several of us brought fancy little tidbits for us all to enjoy. And enjoy them all we did! We had:
  • cucumber cream cheese sandwiches with dill and watercress
  • chicken salad in puff pastry baskets
  • chicken, cabbage, water chestnut, ramen noodle salad
  • brie en croute
  • bacon, cheese, and onion quiche with nasturtium flowers as edible garnish
  • tomatoes, cheese, crackers
  • mini tarts made with cream cheese, lemon curd, and blackberries
  • chocolate cake balls
  • assorted cookies, mostly chocolate
  • grapes, strawberries, plums
  • wine and tea
 We enjoyed these little fancies on good china with gorgeous teacups. It was a lovely respite in a busy week, and so much fun to spend some quality time with people I like. I brought one of my favorites: Puff Pastry Baskets with Chicken Salad. Don't be scared by "Puff Pastry" because I use pre-made puff pastry sheets found in the grocer's freezer section.

Puff Pastry Baskets with Chicken Salad
Makes 24 
These may be made one or two days ahead, but be sure to store the puff pastry separate from the chicken salad and don't fill the baskets until just before serving.

1 (17.3 oz) package Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheets
10 - 12 ounces shredded chicken (about 1 1/2 cups) - can be rotisserie chicken from deli or poach a
     couple of boneless skinless breasts in chicken broth
2/3 cups mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (more , if you like)
1 stalk celery, diced very fine

Puff Pastry Baskets
  1. Unwrap the puff pastry sheets and and let them thaw at room temperature for about 45 minutes
  2. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry sheets into 24 little rectangles about 2 1/2 x 3 inches each (12 from each pastry sheet)
  5. Carefully place the rectangles on the baking sheets
  6. Using a toothpick, score a smaller rectangle on the inside of each rectangle; be careful to only score the surface - do not push the toothpick all the way through
  7. Bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown
  8. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove the baskets to a wire rack 
  9. After about 5 minutes, carefully pry off the little rectangles and scoop out any extra pastry inside. Save the pastry you pry out - they're yummy to snack on
  10. Cool completely before filling - at least 30 minutes. Store in airtight container

Chicken Salad
  1. In a bowl, shred the chicken
  2. Add mayonnaise, white pepper, and celery and mix well
  3. Chill for at least 1 hour before using
  4. Store in covered container in the refrigerator

Assembly   (assemble within an hour of serving so pastry doesn't get soggy)
  1. Carefully and lightly spoon chicken salad into the hole in the puff pastry baskets
  2. Arrange on a plate for serving

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