Three festive party dishes for families

Tasty party food recipes from some of Shanghai's top chefs

We ask three Shanghai chefs to share their favourite party and finger food dishes for large festive gatherings

Crab Cream Tarts by Simon Choi, Executive Chinese Chef from The Four Seasons Pudong

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'What's great about this recipe is that it's light and easy to prepare.A tasty dish that kids and adults really enjoy and that's just right for the festive season'

Ingredients (makes three tarts)
Pastry
• 100g bread flour
• 100g all-purpose flour
• 30ml vegetable oil
• 50ml water
• 50g butter

Crab cream mixture
• 3 eggs
• 50ml water
• ½ tsp salt
• 50ml milk
• 5g diced pumpkins
• 10ml crab cream

Tart topping
• 50g mashed carrot
• 1 egg yolk

Method
1 Take 50g of your bread flour and all-purpose flour and mix with your vegetable oil to make your first dough batch. Then mix the rest of your bread and all-purpose flour with the rest of the oil to make your second batch. Chill both doughs for one hour. Roll the dough out into a thin sheet of around 3mm in thickness. Then, taking your pastry segments, mould them into your tart cases.
2 When it comes to the tart fillings, mix the eggs, water and salt together. Place the diced pumpkin and crab cream into the tart bases. Pour the egg, water and salt mixture into the tarts on top of the pumpkin and crab cream.
3 Bake the tarts in a preheated oven for ten minutes on 180°C.
4 Mix the mashed carrot and diced egg yolk together and place on top of the baked tarts once they’ve cooled down. Garnish with some parsley and then serve.

Pumpkin and cinnamon twists with mascarpone dip by Kim Melvin, Head Pastry Chef at The Commune Social

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'This dish comes from my childhood and is something my mum always made when she had visitors over. What I love about it the most is that she was always very generous with the cinnamon sugar!'

Ingredients
• 1 medium-sized pumpkin
• 500g premade puff pastry
• 100g sugar
• 20g cinnamon sugar
• 125g mascarpone
• 200g cream
• 50g icing sugar

Method
1 Cut your pumpkin in half and deseed it. Wrapping it in tinfoil, roast in the oven until the flesh is soft. Once it’s cooled down, remove the skin and puree the pumpkin in a blender, seasoning with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge and chill before using.
2 Roll out your puff pastry into two large squares that are roughly the size of a large dinner plate and around 3mm in thickness. Make cinnamon sugar by mixing the cinnamon powder and sugar together and setting aside.
3 Taking one piece of pastry, spread a thin layer of pumpkin puree on it and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top. Sandwich together with your other pastry piece. Place the pastry in the fridge to chill before continuing.
4 Once the pastry has firmed up, cut it into a circle shape; you can use a large round plate or a tea cup as a guideline. Then, working directly on the baking tray you’ll be using, egg wash the top of the pastry and sprinkle some more cinnamon sugar on top.
5 With another small plate placed in the centre of your circle of pastry, cut your pastry into thin, outward wedges, leaving an uncut circle in the middle to keep all of the twists held together. If your pastry has warmed up, put it back in the fridge, as cool pastry is better to work with.
6 Taking each strip of pastry, twist them in the same direction, so that they’re making a ‘sun’ shape. Press down firmly on each twist, placing your fingers at the very edge of each strip to try to keep them from losing shape while they’re in the oven. In a preheated oven, bake your pastry at 200°C until golden brown. Serve at room temperature.
7 For the dip, whip the cream and icing sugar together. In a separate bowl, whisk the mascarpone until it’s smooth, then fold the two mixtures in together. Store in the fridge until serving time.

Red capsicum and cashew dip by Kimberly Ashton, wellness coach and head chef at Sprout Lifestyle

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'Instead of preparing heavy cheese or meat party dishes, I like to rely on lighter but just as tasty dips and party appetisers.The creaminess of the cashews compliments the saltiness of the sundried tomatoes in this recipe. The red capsicum also lends the dip a subtle rich flavour and a pop of red Christmas colour'.

Ingredients
• 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 6 hours and drained
• ½ shallot
• Juice of one lemon
• 1 peeled clove garlic
• 1 pinch sea salt
• ½ washed and chopped red capsicum
• ½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes

Method
1 Blend all the ingredients in a good blender until the mixture takes on a creamy texture. Start with the garlic then add in the cashews, shallots, lemon juice and pinch of sea salt.
2 Add in the red capsicum and continue to blend.
3 Next add the chopped sundried tomatoes and blend until the tomatoes are mixed all the way through. By this stage there’ll still be some tomato chunks but that’s fine as they add texture and a lovely red to the pâté. Serve with wholegrain crackers or black rice crackers for a colourful, enticing look.

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