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As a way to serve many different types of foods without having a lot of cleanup afterward, the croustade is a great idea. Croustades are simple molded crusts that are formed into the shape of a bowl, which can be filled with all sorts of ingredients to create an appetizer, entrée, side dish, or dessert. The genius of this molded crust is that croustades are completely edible, making it possible to enjoy the container as well as the contents.
Traditionally, croustades are formed into a round bowl. Depending on the type of dish that the croustade is being used for, this shaped crust can be made from a slice of loaf bread, pastry dough, rice, cake or even pasta. The trick is to use the hands to form the bowl shape and then bake the bowl for a short time. Baking will help the shaped crusts to keep their shape.
The smaller bowls can easily be used for appetizers that do not contain a lot of liquid. As an example, appetizer croustades could be made using a shaped crust with a filling of grated cheeses and pepperoni slices. A mixture of scrambled eggs, cooked and crumbled sausage, and a top layer of melted cheese would make an excellent breakfast style filler for croustades. Any combination of relatively dry ingredients can produce an attractive and tasty selection of croustades.
For dessert croustades, try instant pudding in the crust, topped with whipping cream. Cake crumbs mixed with ice cream and placed in the crust and chilled will also look and taste great. Pie fillings will also work very well in making quick and easy dessert croustades, using whipped cream as a topper.
For larger style of croustades, such as a soup or stew, round loaves of bread work very well. Simply cut a round section in the top of the loaf and hollow out a section to serve as the chamber for the soup or stew. Make sure to leave enough bread to keep the crust from getting soggy before the end of the meal. The end result is that the entrée croustades will remain firm long enough for the soup or stew to be consumed, and the remainder of the bowl can be eaten as well. This same idea can be used for vegetable sides and also form some meat dishes that have a thick sauce.
Croustades can be purchased ready made in many supermarkets. Typically, they are frozen and made of raw dough. This means you will need to bake the croustades before you begin to fill them. If you are making dessert croustades, make sure they are thoroughly cooled before you fill them with any cold ingredients. Most croustades will require no more than fifteen to twenty minutes of baking time at a low to moderate heat. When the crusts are beginning to have a golden brown appearance, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
Croustades are a great way to dress up ordinary dishes and give the meal a bit of a festive flair. Keep in mind there are all sorts of ideas of how to turn everything from before dinner appetizers all the way through desserts into croustades. Try some of your favorite dishes that you normally serve with some sort of bread. You may find that croustades will not only make mealtime fun for everyone, but also make cleaning up the kitchen easier as well.
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