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Note: Frozen, store bought pastry shells can be used if preferred. 

Pastry Shells

7 ounces all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 ounces (1 stick) cold, unsalted-butter, cubed

2 ounces ice-cold water

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

Pinch, dried thyme

Rolling pin

2 ¾” to 3” round cutter​

Tart pastry tamper 

Mini muffin tin-2 inch

Garlic, Parmesan Cream-Cheese

3/4 to 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic

1 tablespoon butter

1-8 ounce block cream cheese-room temp

¼ cup sour cream

2 ounces good quality Parmesan cheese, finely grated

2 teaspoons Italian parsley, finely chopped

Fresh ground pepper corns


Block Parmesan cheese

Fresh Italian parsley


Chili Rubbed, Candied Bacon

12 slices thick cut, smokey bacon

3/4 cup light, brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

Crushed pecans, toasted

Large baking sheet with wire rack

Parchment paper

Fresh strawberries

Red balsamic reduction

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Note: Be careful not to over-handle the dough while mixing and cutting, to prevent shrinking during baking.  

Mix the flour, salt and sugar together

in a mixing bowl or food processor. Cut or pulse/chop the cold butter into the flour. Drizzle in the water and pulse/mix the water in until everything just comes together. Gently press/shape into a flat disc, wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 

Remove dough from refrigerator and let soften some at room-temp.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out to around a 1/8" thickness. Cut out rounds and press into tassie pan, using your tamper. Dock each each one, using a fork, to prevent bubbling during baking. Place back in the refrigerator and let gluten relax about and hour or longer.


Preheat the oven to 375F and bake in the center, until lightly golden. About 8-10 minutes.

Garlic, Parmesan Cream-Cheese

Add the butter and garlic to a small pan and lightly brown over medium temperature. Be careful not over-brown or garlic may become bitter. Add to a mixing bowl along remaining ingredients and mix until creamy. Season with fresh ground pepper as you go.  


Grate some Parmesan cheese and toss in a bowl with finely chopped parsley and some fresh lemon zest. 

Chili Rubbed, Candied Bacon

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place the bacon strips closely together on top of the wire rack with the pan underneath. Sprinkle some of the brown sugar down the center of the bacon strips and rub out with your finger. Place in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, remove, flip oven bacon strips and sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture. Place back in the oven for 10 more minutes, remove, and repeat instructions one more time. On the last flip sprinkle with crushed pecans and let cook 5-10 minutes longer. Remove and place on a sheet of parchment paper too cool. 


Pipe each pastry shell with some of the Parmesan, cream cheese mixture and sprinkle some gremolata over the tops. Hull, the washed and dried strawberries and then slice some. Press 1 or two strawberry slices into the tops and finish with a slice of the candied bacon. Arrange apps on a pedestal serving platter. Serve with a red balsamic reduction (store bought). 

The perfect Holiday Appetizer! Crispy pastry shells piped full with a garlic, Parmesan cream cheese, sprinkled with a Parmesan gremolata, topped with thinly sliced strawberries, finished with chili rubbed, candied bacon and served with a balsamic reduction.

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