Pâte à Choux with Savory Bacon Cream Cheese Filling

So much thought goes into what we are going to make for Thanksgiving dinner. We prepare and plan for the main meal but what about before dinner? When our guests are arriving + sipping their Pomegranate Hibiscus Sparklers. I love the idea of creating a warm, inviting atmosphere for my guests from the moment they walk in to the moment they leave. Which is why having something for them to eat before dinner is paramount. Nothing is worse than showing up to dinner hungry and having to wait without a small bite to eat beforehand. While Thanksgiving is traditional by its very nature, but having something unique and fun for guests to snack on will make your Thanksgiving gathering one to remember. 

Something that is popular and most always served at my Thanksgiving gatherings is Artichoke Dip. Its one of those things that everyone loves and is easy to prepare. As I thought about this dish, I wondered if their was a better way. I think that hors d'oeuvres need to be as simple as possible, both for the one preparing as well as the one consuming. What I love about these is that they require no extra dishes (no messy serving dish and no spreading knives) and they can be completely prepared ahead of time. They are small one or two bite canapés that are easily enjoyed. 

Bacon Cream Cheese Filling

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1 tsp fresh Thyme

1 cup finely diced yellow onion

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 clove garlic, pressed.

1/2 cup finely diced artichoke hearts

1/4 cup, crispy bacon chopped

Combine diced onion, Thyme, Olive Oil and salt in a pan. Saute until onion is golden brown and soft. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add onion/thyme mixture and mix well. Spoon mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a size 12 tip. Or you can opt to just spoon mixture into puffs (more on that below) 

Pâte à Choux 

1/2 cup butter

1 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup flour

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat butter, water and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add flour in one addition stir quickly to combine until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball. Remove from pan and place in mixing bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. After all eggs are incorporated continue stirring quickly until mixture is smooth and glossy. Cool slightly, then add to a pastry bag fitted with a plain size 12 tip. Pipe  small circles about the size of a quarter onto a lined sheet pan. Smooth tops. Place in the oven and set timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 10 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Remove from oven and poke a small hole in the bottom of each puff to let out steam. Once they have cooled, cut or poke out a larger hole big enough to fit a size 12 piping tip into. and pipe the filling into each choux puff. If you don't want pipe the filling you can just cut these in half and spoon the cheese mixture in then place the top back onto the filled puff. Once all the puffs are filled with the cheese mixture, return to oven and bake for 5 additional minutes to get them crisp and warm. Serve immediately.