If you're looking for someting easy and elegant for special picnics or parties, try using frozen puff pastry dough for bite-size snacks or even pizza pastries.
The dough comes in folded sheets, rises into dozens of layers of delicate pastry, and is as light and airy as any made by the most expert pastry chefs.
For something rather elegant, the little golden puffs can be filled with a mixture of salmon and anchovy flavored with fennel, mustard, lemon, and garlic. Puffed Salmon Hors d'Oeuvres 1 16-ounce can pink or red salmon 1/4 pound smoked salmon 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 2/3 cup onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 small bay leaf 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 2 coarsely chopped anchovy fillets and 1/2 teaspoon oil from can 1 tablespoon lemon juice 117-1/4 ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets 1 beaten egg 1/2 pint sour cream 2 teaspoons snipped chives or dill
Drain salmon and remove skin and bones. In a blender or food processor, blend canned and smoked salmon. In a skillet, melt butter; add onions, garlic, bay leaf, and fennel seed. Cook over low heat until onion is wilted. Remove bay leaf.
Blend onion and salmon mixtures together. Add mustard, anchovy fillets, oil, and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Thaw pastry sheets for 20 minutes and unfold. Cut each sheet into 162-1/2 inch squares.
Place a well-rounded teaspoonful of salmon mixture in center of each square. Fold pastry at opposite corners in a triangle and seal edges by pressing with a fork. Brush top with beaten egg.
Place triangles on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in peheated 400 degree F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes until golden and puffed. Serve with sour cream mixed with chives or dill. Makes 32 hors d'oeuvres. Pizza Pastries 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms 2 teaspoons olive oil or butter 1 cup very thick tomato sauce 1 tablespoon instant minced onion 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon fennel seeds Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper 117-1/4 ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets 1 egg, beaten slightly
Saute mushroom slices in olive oil or butter until softened. Add tomato sauce, onion, cheese, and fennel seeds to mushroom mixture; season to taste witn salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Thaw pastry sheets 20 minutes, then unfold.
On a lightly floured board, roll out each sheet of a pastry dough to a 12 -inch square. Brush one sheet with egg and place mushroom mixture by the teaspoonful, on egg-brushed sheet, allowing approximately an inch between spoonsful of filling, making 36 mounds.
Cover with second sheet, brush top with egg, and cut into squares between filling. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan if desired. Seal squares by pressing around open sides with flour-dipped for tines. Place squares about 1 inch apart, on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in preheated 400 degree F. oven for 8 minutes until puffed and golden. Makes approximately 1-1/2 cups of filling; 36 hors d'oeuvres.