The best Christmas canapé recipes are easy to make, look impressive and wow on flavour. Here they are...
The best Christmas canapé recipes are those that don’t require complicated preparation, equipment you can’t spell, let alone source, or artistic abilities beyond your ken. Leave that to the professionals. What every great Christmas drinks party needs is a host who takes heed of our best Christmas canapé recipes. (You might also like to take a look at our list of the best Christmas cocktails.)
Run out of time to make a Christmas pudding? Never fear, here’s our list of the best Christmas puddings to buy, no stirring required.
Best Christmas canapé recipes
Pigeon, madeira onions and black pudding
Makes 24 pieces
■ 6 slices white bread
■ 50ml (2fl oz) olive oil
■ 2 large red onions
■ 100ml (4fl oz) madeira
■ Salt and pepper
■ 100g (31⁄2oz) black pudding
■ 2 tsp breadcrumbs
■ 4 pigeon breasts, skinless
Cut the crusts off the bread and quarter each slice. Brush each piece with oil and press firmly into a well in a mini-tartlet tray (24-well trays are readily available and always come in handy for canapés). Bake at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown; this can be done a day in advance.
Slice the onions thinly and cook in a little oil until soft and turning golden-brown. Add the madeira and reduce over a medium heat until very little liquid remains. Season; set aside.
Slice the black pudding into rounds and fry them off in a little oil for a couple of minutes on each side. Blitz with the breadcrumbs in the food processor to make fine crumbs.
To serve, fill each fried-bread case with a teaspoonful of onion mixture and put them and the crumbs in a low oven. Halve the pigeon breasts lengthways, season and sauté in a hot, oiled pan until medium rare.
Let them rest briefly in a warm place, then slice into 0.5cm (¼in) thick pieces.
Top each fried-bread case with a slice of pigeon breast and a sprinkling of black pudding crumbs.
Stilton and walnut sables with Stilton mousse and cranberry
Nothing says Christmas like Stilton cheese. If you live anywhere near Melton Mowbray then visit the home of this wonderfully pongy, piquant cheese, and bag a truckle of Colston Basset, Cropwell Bishop or Long Clawson. And then use it in this best Christmas canapé recipe.
Makes 25 pieces
For the sablés
■ 125g (41⁄2oz) flour
■ 1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper
■ 50g (2oz) parmesan, finely grated
■ 125g (41⁄2oz) butter, softened
■ 50g (2oz) stilton, grated
■ 100g (31⁄2oz) walnuts, finely chopped
■ 1 egg yolk
For the mousse
■ 150g (5oz) stilton
■ 2 tsp crème fraîche
■ 1 tsp port (optional)
■ 50g (2oz) dried cranberries, extremely finely chopped
Sieve the flour and cayenne into a bowl; mix with the parmesan. Add the butter and stilton; rub in with your fingertips until it forms sand-like crumbs. Mix in the chopped walnuts and egg yolk: the dough should be slightly wet. Chill for an hour, then split into four. Roll each quarter into an even sausage shape about the diameter of a 10p piece. Chill again. At this point the dough can be frozen for future use and needs only 15 minutes’ defrosting before it’s ready to slice.
To cook the sablés, slice each dough sausage into rounds about 0.5cm (¼in) thick and bake on non-stick parchment for 9-10 minutes at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Cool on a baking rack. They’ll keep in a biscuit tin for a few days.
Don’t use a food processor to make the mousse, as it’s liable to split if overworked. Simply cream the stilton by hand until it reaches a smooth texture, then fold in the crème fraîche and the port (if using) gradually until it reaches a dropping consistency. Season with salt as necessary.
To serve, pipe or spoon a small quantity of mousse on to each sablé and sprinkle dried cranberry on top.
Makes 25 pieces
For the crêpes
■ 125g (41⁄2oz) flour
■ 1 egg
■ 300ml (101⁄2fl oz) milk
■ Dill, parsley, chives, finely chopped
■ A little butter for cooking
For the mousse
■ 150g (5oz) smoked salmon
■ Salt and black pepper
■ 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
■ Lemon juice to taste
■ 300g (101⁄2oz) smoked salmon
■ 25g (1oz) salmon caviar
■ Some tiny sprigs of dill
For the crêpes, beat the flour and egg together until smooth; mix in the milk gradually to make a smooth batter. Add the chopped herbs and put the batter in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile, blitz the smoked salmon and a pinch of salt in the food processor. Remove to a bowl and beat in the cream a little at a time until the mixture is smooth and creamy, but can still hold its own weight. You may need slightly more or less cream to bring it to the right consistency. Season with more salt if necessary, and with pepper and lemon juice.
Cook the crêpes as thinly as you can, over a medium heat in a non-stick frying pan greased with a little butter. When the butter is foaming, pour a thin layer of batter into the bottom of the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once during cooking. Chill in the fridge. The crêpes will keep for a couple of days if need be.
Spread each crêpe with a thin layer of mousse and top with an even layer of smoked salmon. Cut off three sides to make them squarish, then spread or pipe a line of mousse about 0.5cm (¼in) thick along one side. Starting with this side, roll each crêpe up into a tight sausage. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge. Now you can either store in the fridge for up to two days, or cut them after an hour or so in the fridge.
To serve, slice the crêpe sausages carefully into rounds about 0.5cm (¼in) thick. You should be able to see clear spiral layers of crêpe, mousse and salmon. Top each spiral with a little salmon caviar and a sprig of dill.
Fried scallop canapes with sloe gin, netmet and speck
These canapés are rich and luxurious but it is Christmas. You can make them in the morning, then they just need a couple of minutes cooking before serving. Speck is a smoked ham that goes very well with the sweet scallops.
Makes 16 canapés
- 16 small scallops
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 slices speck
- 1 dsp sloe gin
- 1⁄8 nutmeg
To make the fried scallop canapés, in a bowl season the scallops with salt and pepper and toss through the olive oil. Cut away the fat from the speck then slice into four strips lengthways.
Wrap each scallop (leaving the flat side exposed) in the speck and skewer with a cocktail stick.
Place a frying pan on a high heat and when really hot fry the scallops each side for about 11⁄2 minutes, pressing them down gently so they caramelise.
Turn off the heat then splash in the gin and grate over a little nutmeg. Give the pan a little shake then serve straightaway.
This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.