When you’re writing a cookbook, you end up with a lot of leftovers in the fridge. I won’t post photo evidence, as the current state of the interior of our fridge is nothing to be proud of — in fact, the whole kitchen is due for a deep clean of epic proportions after the past few months of recipe development.
Of course, leftovers are the mother of invention in the kitchen, and so, when I found myself feeling a little creative a couple of Saturdays ago, I moseyed over to the fridge to peruse my options. Just as the door alarm was going off I came across the tub of Homemade Crowdie Cheese that I made a few days earlier as well as some crab meat leftover from the previous night’s Fish Pie at the Lillington’s from DOA (a brand new recipe for the cookbook.)
“Crab Rangoon!” I shouted with joy.
I haven’t had them since my own Trader Vic’s experience in Vancouver, circa 1982, when my friend’s dad took the two of us to the Polynesian-themed restaurant for a special night out. Pretty dresses, Crab Rangoons, Cheese Bings and enough Shirley Temples to make us both sick.
(And the utter delight I just felt when I found that recipe for Cheese Bings tells you what an important right of passage it was. I just sent the link to my friend with a big SQUEEE! and promise to make them for our next girl’s night.)
After I folded a plate worth of wontons, I remembered the short crust pastry in the freezer — another leftover from recipe testing.
After a brief wait for it to defrost, I made a batch of teeny-tiny Crab Rangoon Bridies suitable for your next cocktail party. The filling is very rich. You can certainly make bigger bridies with this filling if you’d like, but I suggest serving them with a sharply dressed green salad for balance.
Or maybe that’s just my inner Claire pushing the veggies again.
I ended up freezing the bridies at the time, then pulled them out the following weekend for an impromptu cocktail-hour gathering with a few neighbours. I had egg-washed them before freezing, so I simply put them on a baking tray frozen solid and baked them as described in the recipe below, maybe 5 minutes longer.
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
My new go-to recipe for Crab Rangoon. The homemade crowdie cheese is fresher and cleaner tasting than store-bought cream cheese which is full of chemical fillers and stabilizers. Whether in short crust pastry or dumpling wrappers, it’s sure to be a hit at your next gathering.
Makes about 2 dozen bridies or 4 dozen wontons
- 1 recipe Homemade Crowdie Cheese
- ½ pound (225 g) crab meat
- 4 green onions, sliced thinly
- 1 large clove garlic, grated or minced
- Zest from 1 lemon, grated
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 recipe Short Crust Pastry or 1 package wonton wrappers
- 1 egg (bridies only)
- Peanut or Vegetable Oil, for frying (wontons only)
Combine the crowdie, crab, green onions, garlic, lemon zest, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in a bowl and fold together gently until well combined.
Move the rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 375° F.
Roll out the short crust as directed and use a 3” or 4” cutter to cut out rounds. Mound about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the centre of each round. Fold in half and press the edges together firmly, then crimp closed (see video in the notes below). Poke 2 small holes in the tops to allow the steam to escape.
Whisk the egg together with 1 teaspoon cold water. Brush the egg wash onto the bridies then bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Mound 1 teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each wrapper. Moisten 2 edges of the wrapper with water, then fold in half into a triangle. Moisten one of the bottom corners with a bit more water and wrap the corners around the filling to form a little purse.
Heat 2” of peanut oil to 350° F in a pot over medium-high heat. Fry the wontons in groups until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with plum or sweet-chili sauce for dipping.
- If you have preserved lemon, use a whole minced rind in place of the lemon zest for deep lemon flavour.
- A great (short) how to crimp video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PutVw_SbKV0
- Both the bridies and wontons freeze well. Cook, directly from frozen, as directed in the recipe.