How to Make Croustade Bases for Hors d’Oeuvres

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It is very easy to make your own canapés by simply using triangles of rye bread or shapes of toasted bread as the bases. Or you can try making attractive little croustade cases.

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Gently melt some butter-you need about 1/4 cup for every 12 croustades you are making.

2. Use a fluted pastry cutter with a diameter of about 2½-3 inches. Cut rounds of thinly sliced white bread and dip these in melted butter. Press the rounds firmly into the wells of a bun tin.

3. Place the tin in the oven, with a second bun tin nested on top of the first to keep the bread in shape. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the croustades are firm.

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4. Lift the croustades from the tin with a palette knife and place them on a wire rack to cool. Fill imaginatively and serve.

The toppings and fillings used for canapés can be simple as well. Spread triangles of rye bread or toast with slivers of smoked salmon sprinkled with black pepper and lemon juice, or spread them with dill mayonnaise and top with some gravalax. Try also caper and olive tapenade with slices of soft mozzarella cheese and some halved cherry tomatoes, seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper and basil.

For a tasty tuna pâté filling for croustades, blend 7 oz of canned tuna, 2¾ oz of salted butter and the juice of a lemon with 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise. This will make enough to fill about ten croustade cases. Even simpler, fill the bases with either whipped Mascarpone cheese or soured cream before adding a topping.

Choosing an attractive garnish with the right complementary taste is extremely important when you are making canapés. The garnish must be both delicate and small. Any of the following would make a good finishing touch: a slice of olive, a half teaspoon of caviar or salmon roe, a sprig of some fresh herb, a dusting of paprika or a tiny rosette of piped cream or mayonnaise.

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