A croline is a type of pastry made to be eaten as a finger food. The shell of a croline is usually made from puff pastry, though other pastry shells, such as fill dough or empanadas, can be used. The filling can be made out of any number of things, and both sweet and savory crolines are commonly made. A small, bite-sized snack, crolines are often served as hors d'oeuvres or by caterers who must carry appetizers on platters through a crowd of guests.
Puff pastry or another type of pastry dough completely surrounds the filling of a croline. The bottom and sides of the croline are usually made from a solid piece of pastry, whereas the top is covered by a lattice of pastry dough. The lattice allows the filling to be seen through the top of the pastry while keeping it from spilling out as it is cooked and served. The pastries come in a variety of different shapes, though small circular shapes are the most common, as they are the easiest to form. Crolines that contain fish or seafood are sometimes shaped like fish.
There are many different fillings that can be put into a croline, though traditionally these pastries are made with savory fillings. Mixtures that include ham, mushrooms, cheese, and salmon are some of the more commonly used fillings. Vegetarian crolines that use mixtures of different vegetables, cheeses and fruits are also popular. Cooks can combine non-traditional ingredients, such as curry or chutney to create new types of crolines. The filling should always be cooked before it is placed in the dough.
In recent years, sweet crolines have become popular. Fruits, jams, chocolates, and other sweets can be placed in the croline pastry just as savory fillings are. Puff pastry is not itself sweet, but a dusting of powdered sugar can be added to the top of it to make it more dessert like. Once sweet or savory crolines are assembled, they are baked in an oven until the filling is warm and the pastry cooked through.
A croline is made to be a bite-sized snack or hors d'oeuvre. The pastry shell around the outside of the filling makes it convenient for people to pick up and eat with their hands, which has, in recent years, made crolines popular amongst caterers who often pass these foods around through a crowd.