Pu pu platter-inspired muffin tin charcuterie board

Muffin Pan Dinner Platter Perfect for Picky Eaters

Don’t like it when your food touches other, different foods on the plate? You’re not alone. The condition is officially known as brumotactillophobia, but by any name, there’s a difference between being a picky eater and just knowing what you like (and sticking to it). The argument that “it all ends up in the same place anyway” doesn’t feel particularly comforting either, to be honest. To avoid discomfort or a lost appetite, all it takes is whipping out your handy dandy muffin tin (yes, really). It’s effectively a charcuterie board with plate dividers.

This tip is inspired by the American-Chinese pu pu platter, whose name comes from the Hawaiian word pupu meaning “snack.” It’s the easiest way to craft impressive appetizer samplers, serving up small bites of many different foods in their respective cubbies, barricaded from touching. By separating the foods, you can enjoy their flavors individually, or customize each bite by pairing unexpected tastes together. This can be an extra helpful tip when building a snack board with bolder foods. That funky soppressata may be delicious on its own, but you don’t want to bite into a meaty strawberry. 

Avoid potentially unpleasant flavor crossovers and sensory overload on different textures, especially if you’re working with wetter foods, which can puddle. Serving runny vinegar eggplant relish? Keep it contained in its muffin tin compartment. Plus, arranging foods neatly is visually appealing. For an even prettier presentation, line the cups with cute paper cupcake liners.

You gotta keep ’em separated

Muffin tin with paper liners

Steer clear of any preemptive worry and keep mealtime fun, especially at dinner parties and cocktail hours, which are all about having a laid-back time with friends. You could use your muffin tin to assemble a vegetarian charcuterie board with the aforementioned vinegar eggplant relish, crostini, comté, gouda, apple slices, cashews, and apricots, all tucked into their own cubbies. This tip works with literally any charcuterie favorites you normally like to add to your boards. A muffin tin pu pu platter can also be a great way to serve the main course at themed dinner parties, featuring multiple different dishes with just a few bites of each food.

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You could whip up an Ethiopian-style spread of gomen, shiro, kik alicha, denich selata, and inguday tibs, with a scoop of each per muffin tin compartment (don’t forget the injera!). Or, serve a compartmentalized Ukrainian-inspired spread of paprikash, cold beet and horseradish salad, stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut, veal goulash, potato pancakes, and different pierogi flavors. The muffin tin pu pu platter would also make the perfect dim sum serving platter for siu mai, cheung fun, jiaozi, lo mai gai, lo bak go, and xiao long bao.

Hosting a group and need more than one muffin tin? This tip could also be an eco-friendly way to recycle a takeout box with dividers. Simply wash out the box, tear off the lid, and use it to serve snacks separately.

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