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{Recipes} Joyeux Noel Christmas Dinner Appetizers

{Recipes} Joyeux Noel Christmas Dinner Appetizers

The Christmas dinner appetizers for this table look much more fussy than they are – all were made ahead of time then popped into their little pretty dishes right before serving. The oysters I let my husband shuck; I don’t eat them (traumatic early childhood oyster experience – thanks, Dad!) so I don’t cook or otherwise prepare them. We had actually planned for Oysters Rockafeller as an appetizer, but prep work for them was a little beyond what we were able to do and prepare the meal itself. We did save a couple dozen for the next afternoon when we weren’t rushed to cook and I’m told they were amazing! Alton Brown from the Food Network always seems to have can’t miss recipes, and his Oysters Rockafeller were no different.

The Pommes Annette were absolutely delicious! And something you need to give yourself a little lead time to make. They are a bite-size version of the classic French pommes Anna. I’m going to give you two versions of this – Martha Stewart’s recipe, and the way I actually made them. I love love love Martha’s ideas, but sometimes her methods are a little fussy for fussy’s sake. You bake these in mini muffin tins – she recommends having two to cook it her way, but I didn’t have two so made it work my way!

Taken from Martha Stewart’s Hors D’Oeuvres Handbook. 24 pieces when made.


  • 2 T unsalted butter, room temperature plus 1 T  melted butter
  • 24 small sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 1/2 tsps fresh thyme leaes
  • 18 to 24 fingerling potatoes, skin on
  • 5 oz fresh goat cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with the rack in the center. Using some of the melted butter, generously butter mini muffin tins. Place 1 sprig of thyme in teh bottom of each cup.

2. Using a mandoline, cut the potatoes into 1/16-inch-thic slices (about 240). Using a pastry brush, butter both sides of 24 of the potato slices with the room-temperature butter. Place the slices over the thyme sprigs to make the first layer. Top each slice with about 1.8 tsp of the goat cheese, and season generously with salt and pepper. Make 9 more layers, alternating unbuttered potato slices with the goat cheese; only the top and bottom potato slices are buttered. Sprinkle a few thyme leaves on the last layer of goat cheese.  Finish with one last slice of buttered potato on top of each cup.

3. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over each muffin tin. Brush the paper generously with the remaining melted butter. Place the parchment, butter side down, over teh potatoes in teh tin. Plase a second muffin tin of the eaxct same size on top of the parchment and press down. Place a large cast-iron or other oven-proof skillet on top to compress the potatoes and place in the oven.

4. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the weight., the tope muffin tin, and the parchment paper. Bake the potatoes for 8 to 10 minutes more, until golden brown. Let cool slightly 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the inside of each cup. Using a butter knife, gently remove each Pommes Annette and turn over onto a serving platter.

And now for how I actually made them.


  • 2 T unsalted butter, room temperature plus 1 T  melted butter
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 1/2 tsps dried thyme leaes
  • 18 to 24 potatoes
  • 5 oz fresh goat cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

I couldn’t find fingerling potatoes or fresh thyme among my three regular grocery stores, so substituted rosemary sprigs and dried thyme and regular potatoes. Greased one 24-opening muffin tin with butter. Placed in little sprigs of rosemary.

Using a sharp knife and cutting board (no mandoline here) I sliced my potatoes thin. These potatoes were WAY too big to fit into the little mini-muffin cups, so I took a very small cookie cutter (about 1.5 inches) and cut circles out of my slices. There were a lot of slices. Skipping this step would have made the process so much easier.

My pastry brush was AWOL. I melted all the butter and just dipped my slices in the butter and dropped the m into the muffin tin. After the first layer went down, I put a little tiny bit of goat cheese on each potato circle. Then alternated potato circle, goat cheese until there were 9 potato circles. I dipped the 10th layer of potato circles again in the butter and placed them in the tins. At this point I realized I completely forgot to salt and pepper each layer. Oops. I just put a heavy hand to the last layer, and truly I don’t think the extra sodium was missed. I sprinkled the dried thyme over each cup and a dab extra butter.

I then buttered my parchment and put it over the muffin tin. I try to have a fairly streamlined kitchen, so I don’t have too too many duplicates – there is only one mini muffin tin in my kitchen so I could not compress and weight my pommes Annette like Martha. I took one of my spice jars and smashed each cup down as tightly as I could before I popped the whole tray in the oven. Since I made these the night before, I cooked them for 30 minutes, pulled them out, let them cool a bit and wrapped them for the refrigerator. Right before the turkey went in the oven, I put the pommes Annette back in for 10 minutes to heat and crisp them. Using a fork, I carefully removed each one and put it into a wonton spoon to serve.

The hot crab dip and parmesan crackers were fabulous and I really liked how the handmade crackers looked peeking out of these mini-martini glasses (purchased at World Market.) To streamline this app, just use a butter cracker or something similar in stead of going the handmade route. I made the dough 2 days before I needed it and baked the day before dinner.


Taken from Martha Stewart’s Hors D’Oeuvres Handbook. Makes 20.

  • 3/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 2 tsps finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs for garnish
  • 3 T very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup (2.5 oz) finely grate Parmesan cheese
  • 5 T sour cream
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1. Combine the flour, salt, peper and the chopped rosemary int he bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheese and pulse until combined. Add 1 T of the sour cream at a time, pulsing each time to combine. Process until the dough comes together and is well combined.

2. Transfer the dough to a clan work surface. Shape the dough into a 2-inch-wide log. Wrap the log with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

3. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Slice teh well-chilled log into 1/4 inch thick clices. Transfer the slices to a baking sheet. Dip a spirig of rosemeary into the egg white and place it in the center of 1 cracker slice. Repeat with teh remaining rosemary and crackers. Bake immediately, rotating the sheet halfway through cooking, until the crackers are golden brown adn firm in the center, 25 to 35 minutes. (The crackers should not get too dark around the edges.) Transfer to a rack to cool. The crackers may be made a day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.


I sort of merged a few crab dip recipes I found for this preparation-

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 T milk
  • 1 cup crabmeat
  • 2 T chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Pepper to taste
  • Top with 1/4 cup shredded cheese

Soften cream cheese with the milk and beat well. Add remaining ingredients to the cream cheese and blend well Put in oven-proof shallow dish, topping . Bake in oven at 375 for 15 minutes. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.

Not everything on your table can be made from scratch. It’s simply too much for a regular hostess to do while executing a four course meal. I made these Apricot Brie puffs for my mother’s party this summer, and they were a wild success. I don’t really have a recipe per say for them. I take a sheet of puff pastry, cut it into little square, put a little piece of brie and a tiny bit of apricot preserves in the middle of the squares, pull the corners in so they look like little purses and pinch the edges shut. They get popped on a pan and baked according to the directions on the box! Simple, but super tasting and fancy looking.

Stay tuned for dinner and dessert!

Paula Biggs

Owner at Frog Prince Paperie
Paula Biggs is a party planner, DIY crafter, and owner of Frog Prince Paperie, where you can find hundreds of party, craft and lifestyle ideas.

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Saturday 18th of December 2010

This looks amazing! Thank you for taking the time to post the recipes. Can't wait for the dinner and dessert post.

Paula @ JC's Loft

Thursday 16th of December 2010

I just caught your post at fun!

Um, seriously these all look so yummy! I'm not a big oysters fan either, yuck!