Tuesday, December 30

Festive/Party food - Day 4 - Sweets

No party would be a great party without sweets,.m More like finger sweets. When you chewing on something all night, you hardly have time to sit and eat whole cake. For thos ocasions, it's much better to go with small, easy to grab, sweets.
Here is my selection, but there is much more out there to try, just experiment and try to make few things from similar ingredients, just add different "something" at the end. It will look great, you get variety and everyone is impressed how did you do it...!
My favorite are citrus peels diped in chocolate, coconut salami, stuffed figs in alcohol and truffles. Also, trifle is one amazing party dessert, so light and simple to make. Hardly that you can go wrong with trifle. And also you can realy improvise so much by adding variety of fruits, chocolate, or biscuits and cream puffs, jello pieces..endless list..

Mixed Berry Trifle
(Martha Stewart's recipe)

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 pints (2 pounds, 4 ounces) strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for cream
Pinch of salt
1 loaf brioche, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch slices
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 cups mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1 cup heavy cream

Make pastry cream: In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream, salt, and vanilla bean. Bring to just under a boil. In a second bowl, whisk together cornstarch and sugar, then whisk in eggs. Add a ladle of hot liquid to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Repeat twice, then whisk egg mixture into remaining milk mixture in pot.
Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until bubbling and thick, about 2 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, then whisk in butter. Place plastic wrap directly onto surface of cream and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Whisk to loosen before using.
Assemble the trifle: Mash strawberries with 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Let stand 30 minutes.
Brush brioche with syrup and tear into large pieces. Layer bread in bottom of a 14-cup (5-by-7-inch) trifle dish or bowl. Spread 1 generous cup macerated berries over top, then 1 cup pastry cream and 1 cup whole berries. Repeat layering twice more. Refrigerate overnight.
Whip heavy cream to medium peaks with 1 tablespoon sugar and spoon over top. Garnish with fresh berries.

Berry Trifle - simple recipe
(Martha Stewart's recipe)

3 pints raspberries
1 quart heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large or 2 small store-bought pound cakes, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups lemon curd
24 ounces frozen sliced peaches, thawed

In a food processor, puree 1 pint of raspberries and strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the pulp.
Whip heavy cream and slowly add sugar until the cream is silken. Add vanilla extract and raspberry puree and continue whipping, just until combined and soft peaks form.
Layer half of the pound cake in the bottom of a large trifle dish. Spread half of the lemon curd over the pound cake. Top the lemon curd with half of the peaches and one pint of raspberries. Dollop half of the whipped cream over the fruit and spread gently.
Repeat layers, reserving a few peaches and raspberries for garnish. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Candied Citrus Peels dipped in chocolate

For a big jar of mixed citrus candied peels you need (approximately, depending on the size of the fruit):

1 grapefruit peel
1 orange peel
2 lemon peels
about 1 cup of sugar (1/2 cup for a syrup and leave 1/2 cup for coating)
1/3 cup of water for syrup
1/2 cup of dark chocolate in chunks (Valhrona or Callebaut)
1 tbsp of good cocoa powder (if you want your chocolate even darker)

and more here

Coconut Coffee Salami

Original Salami recipe:

350 gr finely ground biscuits (lightly sweetened)
150 gr powder sugar
50 gr melted semisweet chocolate
2 dl brewed coffee (possibly espresso or any strong)

White fill:
100 gr coconut
120 gr unsalted butter
100 gr sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 dl milk

Mix together ground biscuits, 150 gr of sugar, melted chocolate and cooled coffee . Make a rectangle with a sides in proportion of 2:1,(one side two times bigger than the other), thick 1 cm (½ inch). This mass has to be soft, not crumbly, so it can be rolled into a roll (salami).
At the same time, in a small saucepan boil together coconut, butter, sugar and vanilla and milk and cool. Spread over a coffee rectangle and roll from a longer side towards the other, until its compact and completely rolled. Press around to get more compact mass and than roll in a plastic or parchment paper. Leave it in a fridge for at least five to six hours or over night.
Cut in a rolls 1 cm (½ inch) thick.

No butter version:

250 gr finely ground biscuits (lightly sweetened)
150 gr powder sugar
50 gr melted semisweet chocolate
100 gr ground ,roasted and skinned hazelnuts
2 dl brewed coffee (possibly espresso or any strong)

White fill:

150 gr unsweetened coconut
130 gr sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 dl milk

Bayadera/Nanaimo type bar

(layered squares )

White layer:
100 gr. butter

150 gr. sugar
200 ml. water
350 gr. ground nuts(any nuts of your preference)
350 gr. finely ground low sweetened biscuits (Petit Beurre type)

Dark layer:
250 ml of milk
150 g of sugar
100 grams of butter
200 grams of semi sweet chocolate melted
350 gr ground nuts
350 g ground biscuits

200 grams of cooking chocolate
50 g margarine
some oil

Add water, sugar and butter to melt. Remove from heat and add nuts and biscuits. In the same way do it with the dark part, except that you add melted chocolate. Both compounds divided into two equal parts. Using plastic bags to develop the first part of the dark and put on a tray or baking dish (33 × 26), lay white part, dark etc, it depends on how much of the mass you prepared.
Melt chocolate in steam and evenly pour over your cake. Leave it in the fridge to get firm and cut into desired shapes.

Chestnut chocolate balls

200 g chestnut puree
50 g finely chopped roasted pistachios
50 g finely chopped roasted almond
50 g finely chopped roasted hazelnut
1/4 cup chopped sour cherries preserved in alcohol
50 g melted dark chocolate (over 70% cocoa)
100 g almond meal (ground almond)
3 tbsp cherry brandy
1 tbsp honey

For coating (optional):
dark cocoa powder or
grated coconut

Prepare chestnut: if you cook them, boil them for 1 hour and peel and mash them to get even mass or if you have preserved chestnut puree available in your stores, pick lightly sweetened. Mix with almond meal.
Add nuts of your choice, chocolate, and mix until you get even mass. Add vanilla and honey.
Form balls and coat in cocoa or coconut flakes if desired.

Couscous dessert

1/2 cup chopped dry figs (or dry raisins, apricots)
1 warm green or black tea
1 1/4 cups fine couscous
1 1/4 cups boiling water
2 tbs oil
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs orange flower water (find in some oriental food stores)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped roasted pistachios
4 tbs honey
a pinch of salt

I have modified the original recipe a little bit, up to my taste. In the book, this recipe use raisins, but I have replaced them with my favorite: dry figs, and I balanced the sweetness and a flavor by adding a little bit more honey and flower water. I strongly suggest, while making it, add the ingredients slowly so you can modify it according to your taste.
Put the figs (raisins, apricots) in a heatproof bowl and pour in the warm tea. Let the figs soak for 1/2 - 1 hour until they are soft. Put a couscous in a separate heatproof bowl and pour in the boiling water with a pinch of salt. Cover the bowl and leave it for 15 minutes to absorb all the water. Drizzle the oil over and mix with a spoon and fingertips to separate the grains. Add the sugar, orange flower water, cinnamon. Stir in the soaked chopped dry fruits. In the meantime, roast pistachios in a pan for a few minutes and chopped add them to the mixture. Add a honey and combine until you get enough sweet and aromatic dessert. If preferred, you can add a bit more of orange flower water, cinnamon and honey.
Enjoy it with whipping cream over, if needed,.. taste is so amazing that, for me, anything else would spoil the flavour.

Stuffed dried prunes-Oriental style

Stuffed dried prunes in a brandy

20 pitted dried prunes
20 walnuts
chopped chunk of dark chocolate
2 oranges
candied orange or lemon peel
1/2 tbs orange flower water
Make a pouch in a prune and take a pit out. Stuff it with a walnut, chocolate piece and orange peel. Heat a orange juice from a 2 oranges and add an alcohol and orange water. Place prunes in a jar close together and pour over hot orange-alcohol liquid, to cover. Leave to cool and than store it covered in a cold place for a week.

Carrot candy balls
Carrot candy

2 cups (500 g) carrots
1 cup (250 g) sugar
1/3 cup (150 g) chopped walnuts
1/4 cup (120 g) ground walnuts
(juice of one orange or lemon can be added for nice citrus flavor if preferred)  


Grate the carrots finely. Add 1 cup of sugar and cook over low heat all together until the mixture is thick. Remove from a heat and when it cooled off, add the chopped walnuts. Stir well, making little balls, roll them in ground nuts and sugar and leave to dry.

Steamed Chestnut Cake

450 gr (1lb) cooked chestnuts (puree)
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
5 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
5 tbsp brandy
50 gr chopped dark chocolate
50 gr chopped walnuts or almonds

Mix chestnut puree with brandy and yogurt, Beat eggs separately with adding 1/2 sugar at the end of beating of egg whits and 1/2 of sugar in egg yolks. Add chestnut mix and chocolate and walnuts. Butter steam-safe dishes or put some maple syrup or honey at the bottom so cake don't stick. Cook in a steam bowl for 30 minutes. Let it cool, take it out from a bowl and sprinkle with roasted nuts.

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