Monday, December 7, 2009

christmas party treats

every year around the holidays my parents throw an amazing party - with lots of food, drink, a piano player and carolers, lots of christmas decorations, a golf cart (long story), and amazing party outfits. my mom has some great christmas cookie recipes, but she asked me to make a few things this year. she namely wanted "individual" desserts, since a lot of people bring cakes and cheesecakes that need to be sliced and don't usually get eaten because people just want to pick up something and eat it.

so of course i knew i'd make cupcakes. but i wanted to make special christmas-y cupcakes. i found a recipe for white chocolate cupcakes (vanilla cupcakes with white chocolate frosting and white chocolate curls on top). so i made those, but added crushed candy canes to the top as well. over time the candy cane soaked into the frosting and gave it a stronger peppermint flavor, which was nice. i also used a real vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract for the frosting, because i absolutely love the look of those little vanilla specks in any kind of baked good.

for my second dessert, i thought about making individual fruit tarts. i recently got a hold of some mini tart pans, so i figured this would be perfect. first i made the pastry cream, since that takes some time. you have to heat the cream and then add it to egg yolks and then heat it again and stir it constantly and then strain it and let it cool then refrigerate for a while..gaah. but i must say..IT WAS DELICIOUS. oh my goodness. let's just say this ended with "extra" pastry cream and a spoon in my hand. while the pastry cream was cooling, i made the pastry dough and stuffed it inside the tart pans. i was reading a recipe that said to roll it out and lay it into the pan, but i was working with little 2 inch pans. i didn't bother rolling it out (plus it was so buttery that it kept sticking to everything). i just ripped off little pieces of dough and pressed it into the pan. much easier.

i waited until the next day, hours before the party, to assemble these little guys. i had some mint leaves, so i candied them by rubbing them with an egg replacer (i didn't want to waste a whole egg for a few mint leaves) and then covering them in super fine sugar, letting them dry and get crunchy. the tarts came out really pretty, i was proud. i should have put them back in the refrigerator, because by the time i got to the party and put them on a serving platter, the cream soaked into the crust and they got all soft. eh, whatever. they were still delicious and people ate them all.

i will definitely make the tarts again. maybe next time i'll make one big one and wow everyone with my skillz.

happy holidays!!


Simply Life said...

oh those are adorable and look delicious!

Beatrice said...

Mini fruit tarts are one of my favorite things -- yum -- and the mint leaves are a nice touch.

Lia Chen said...

Cupcakes and mini tarts are both look sweet delicious! Will be nice to have those on Christmas :o)