4-Flavor Ice Cube Tray Appetizers

These easy baked appetizers come together quickly and the result is not one, but four very different hand-held bites. The ice cube trays make stuffing and shaping the puff pastry super simple and once you learn the method, you can get creative with your own fillings.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 24 pieces
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Ingredients

All-purpose flour, for dusting

2 frozen puff pastry sheets (from a 17.3-ounce box), thawed 

Three 1-inch long cornichons, halved length-wise 

Six 1-inch square pieces ham steak (about 1 1/2 ounces) 

1 1/2 ounces shredded gruyere cheese (about 1/2 cup)

18 mozzarella pearls

3 teaspoons prepared pesto 

18 slices sun-dried tomatoes, from 3 to 4 tomatoes

6 whole candied pecans 

6 small red grapes, halved 

Six 1-inch square pieces brie cheese, about 1/2-inch-thick (about 1 ounce)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature 

1 scallion, thinly sliced 

Zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 teaspoon) 

Six extra-small (91/110) cooked shrimp, tails removed

1 large egg, beaten

Directions

Special equipment:
two 12-compartment ice cube trays
  1. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out both puff pastry sheets into 12-inch squares. Lay half of 1 piece of pastry over a 12-compartment ice cube tray (the remaining half of the pastry will hang off the tray) then gently use the back of your fingers (or the handle of a wooden spoon) to press the dough down into each compartment of the tray. Repeat with the remaining pastry and tray.
  2. Fill 6 of the ice cube compartments in the same row each with 1 piece of cornichon, 1 piece of ham and 1 tablespoon gruyere cheese. Fill the next 6 ice cube compartments in the same row each with 3 mozzarella pearls, 1/2 teaspoon pesto and 2 slices sun-dried tomatoes. Fill the next 6 ice cube compartments in the same row each with 1 candied pecan, 2 red grape halves, 1 piece of brie and a pinch of black pepper. Stir together the cream cheese, scallion, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir until completely combined. Fill the last 6 ice cube compartments in the same row each with 1 shrimp then a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture.
  3. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with the beaten egg then fold the puff pastry over the ice cube tray so that it completely covers the filling. Cut the excess puff pastry from around the upper edges of the ice cube trays then use your fingers to press the dough together so that it is sealed. Put the ice cube trays in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  4. Position a rack in the center and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  5. Use your fingers to gently loosen the puff pastry from the ice cube trays then flip out onto a cutting board. Use a knife to trim the edges of the dough to 1/4-inch-wide. Cut in between each ice cube compartment to free each filled compartment. Use a fork to crimp the edges of all the ice cube bites, making sure to keep the flavors separate. 
  6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Put the ice cube bites on the baking sheet, keeping the flavors separate). Brush the beaten egg on top of the puff pastry then sprinkle the ham bites with the remaining gruyere cheese, lay a slice of sun-dried tomato on top of the pesto bites, sprinkle black pepper on the brie bites. 
  7. Bake, rotating the baking sheet about halfway, until the bites are puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a serving platter. Top the shrimp bites with the remaining lemon zest.