Kreavie chestnut bites, mini canellés and lavender/pear mini financiers
This past Sunday was my 3rd annual dessert party. It all started 3 years ago when I decided to throw a party sometime between my birthday in November and the Christmas holidays. It has since become a tradition… I ended up making so many desserts that first year that everyone took a tupperware home. So the year after, I made a lot on purpose and prepared some nice gift boxes that my guests filled up and took home with a nice card as their Christmas gifts. I did the same this year as well. I love the idea of giving sweet treats as a holiday gift and this for me, is the perfect occasion to do so…
Key lime squares
All year long I go through hundreds of food and baking posts and I come across so many recipes I’d love to make but don’t always have time for. I bookmark them all and they come in handy when it’s time to pick a menu. I also often include some of my favourite recipes from that year. To be able to pull off a multi-dessert party, you must be very well organized so here below are some tips I’ve gathered with experience :)
Honey and pine nut tartelettes and Tahini date shortbread cookies
Pick your recipes – I spend weeks doing this, mostly because I can’t decide on what to make and also because this is my favorite thing to do! Look through those cookbooks or favorite blogs and pick the recipes you want to make. When choosing, try and pick various recipes in terms of types of desserts (pies, cakes, mousses, cookies, verrines, etc.) and flavours (chocolate, fruit, spices, etc). Prep time is also crucial when picking recipes, you have to have some recipes that are ok if done a couple of days ahead because you absolutely cannot make everything the same day! You may also want to include some true and tested recipes in there if you are not too confident about baking something for the very first time. In my 11 desserts, I only had 3 that I had made before; the rest were all new recipes. I always try new recipes when throwing a party, which might not always be the wisest choice!
Calculate your quantities – Once your recipes are chosen, print them out. Then go through the ingredients list of each carefully. Add up the most popular ingredients (flour, eggs, sugar, butter) to come up with a total needed then list the least common ones (dates, nuts, fruits, etc). Check your list twice, you don’t want to run out of sugar when in the middle of a recipe!
Go shopping – Do this a few days ahead so that you’ll have everything handy when you’re ready to start. I shopped for everything on the Wednesday before the party then came home and got everything organized .
Make a schedule – Decide what dessert you will be making when. Start with a couple of days before the party since you really can’t do a lot much earlier than that (unless you’re making things like ice cream, macarons or truffles, which can be made a few days ahead). Don’t forget to include preparation in your schedule, for example, you can pre-chop all the chocolate needed for your recipes, toast and chop any nuts needed, confit fruit since that can be done a few days ahead, etc. These steps will help you save some valuable time.
Start baking! – I started prepping on Friday night and made 2 desserts that night (the cookies and the chocolate/yogurt cream for the “green”) then made a few more on Saturday and prepared some things for Sunday. On Sunday, I baked the cannelés and financiers dough (which needed to rest in the fridge for 24 hours) and made a few more things, but was done early enough to tidy up and decorate the apartment before everyone showed up. I assembled some desserts at the last minute (assembling the “green” verrines, icing the cupcakes, dusting the cake with cocoa and plating it, etc.) and when everyone got here, everything was on the table and I was ready to party!
Be flexible – If you find yourself short on time (or just plain tired), then eliminate something. You’re probably making too many anyway so one less dessert won’t be missed by anyone (don’t tell anyone, but I decided to eliminate one at the last minute!) You can also supplement your homemade desserts with store bought ones. I bought some chestnut bites from Kreavie because they are absolutely delicious and I wanted to share them with everyone!
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how you prepare 11 desserts in 2 days, and have fun doing it!
Chocolate & chestnut truffle torte
Orange and olive oil cake
This was my menu for this year’s party. All the recipes just happened to be from my favourite baking blogs, except for the green, which is from genius Montreal pastry chef Patrice Demers and one of the best desserts I’ve had this year. Click on the titles to get to the recipes.
Tahini date shortbread cookies – Best. Cookies. Ever. Period. (My Kugelhopf)
Tortine alla nutella – Nutella cupcakes, need I say more? (Bell’Alimento)
Key lime squares
Cannelés – I had a little trouble with the baking temperature and time but the last batch was awesome! (Christelle is Flabbergasting)
Orange and olive oil cake - One of the party’s favourites! (Christelle is Flabbergasting)
Chocolate & chestnut truffle torte – Dense, chocolatey and amazing! (Goodfood)
Honey and pine nut tart – These were a great hit! (Tartelette)
Milk chocolate peanut bars – In his words: “Peanuts, chocolate AND bananas” and you get to brûlé the bananas! (Zen Can Cook)
Sticky toffee pudding – Sticky, sweet, full of butter and so good! (Donna Hay)
Lavender/apricots financiers – I love financiers and this was my first time baking with lavender, a success! Since it’s not apricot season, I replaced them with pear and it was great! (Tartelette)
Happy holidays everyone! I wish you lots of good foods and sweet treats in the new year. May your plate always be full and your table always be surrounded with loved ones….