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Creative Appetizers

posted Nov 16, 2011, 11:09 PM by Kim Janik   [ updated Nov 16, 2011, 11:25 PM ]
Today I attended a staff potluck luncheon.  It was wonderful to meet new faces from around the college and get other people's insights into students.  But, you don't want to hear about all of that.  You want to know what I brought as my contribution.  Our food assignments were by building and my building got a fun one - appetizers!  Now, I've done a few quick and easy appetizers on this blog before.  But yesterday I had sweet potatoes and cranberries on the brain (hello future ingredients of the week!).  And, for some reason, gingersnaps were also swirling around in the mix as well.  I don't even *like* ginger snaps. 

So I had these snappy little bite-size morsels in mind and was all set to make them when I realized that they would not travel well.  Stacking all those little soft-topped treats?  Not if I wanted them to look appetizing at the end of the car ride.  So, I modified my plan and set about for something different.  Still keeping with fall ingredients, I decided to do an almost-savory ginger-infused pumpkin treat instead.

pumpkin ginger gingersnap candied ginger appetizer

Aren't they wonderful looking?  Really, they were very simple.  I took gingersnap cookies and made a little cheesecake-style crust and then...  What?  What do you mean?  Oh, you were at my lunch and didn't see these there?  Oh.  Well, now, isn't this embarrassing?  Well, okay, yes I do happen to have another picture.  Here's the item I actually brought to the luncheon:

pumpkin ginger cups shot glass candied ginger
Okay, can I get back to my story now?  After the pumpkin treats had cooled, I went to pop them out onto a plate.  Nothing.  I bang it on the counter.  Still nothing.  I the edge of the knife to loosen the edges all the way around the tin and give it one more whack.  Nothing at all on the plate.  I turn my hand over to see the little pumpkin-ginger nosh still sitting perfectly in the tin.  It is at that moment that I realize that I did not spray the tins before putting in the crust and batter.  With 36 little appetizers sitting there stuck in their containers I felt, well, stuck.  I used a spoon to scoop one out and try it.  Mmm, tasty.  No excuse to start over from scratch, then.  I kept looking around the kitchen and thinking, "I just need something to PUT these in!"  And then it hits me that I have some disposable shot glasses left over from our Halloween party.  Perfect.  I quickly transferred all of the pumpkin ginger goodness over and set them aside in the fridge for today's luncheon.

In case you would like to replicate my efforts, it really is very simple.  To make the crust, I used 2 cups of ginger snaps (crushed) and 4 T. melted butter to make a cheesecake style crust.

For the filling, I used the recipe off the back of my pumpkin puree (halved) and simply added 1/4 c. minced candied ginger.  Now, here's the trick.  Using nonstick cooking spray, spray every nook and cranny of your baking tins!  Each tiny pan was filled with 1 tsp. of crust and and 2-3 T. of pie filling.  I then baked them for 15 min at 425 degrees then lowered the heat to 350 degrees for another 25 minutes, using the same technique as suggested by the pumpkin can.

To be honest, I was pretty happy with how these turned out as they were a far more interesting looking appetizer than what I originally had planned and the presentation was both fun and easy to clean up.  If you're thinking about using these for dessert, I would add a touch of sugar to the gingersnap crust and top each cup with whipped cream.