Traveling Dinner Party – Part 9 – Desserts and Sweets

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Remember way back at the beginning, when I suggested a childhood favorite themed party? What better ending then S’mores Pudding Shots – with the added “grown up” flavor of Marshmallow Vodka.

S’Mores Pudding Shots
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup Fluffed Marshmallow Vodka
8 ounces extra Cool Whip
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff
1 Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar

In a large bowl, whisk together the chocolate pudding mix and milk until thick and smooth. Add in the vodka whisking until the mixture is free of lumps and well-combined. Fold in the Cool Whip and mix until no white streaks are visible. Set Aside.

Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons of graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of each mini cordial glass.

Place the pudding mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip such as the Wilton 1A or simply snip the corner of a zip top bag. Pipe the pudding mixture using a swirl motion into each glass stopping about 1/2 inch before the rim of glass.

Spoon or pipe (using a medium French tip) the Marshmallow Fluff directly onto the pudding mixture. If desired, use a kitchen torch to carefully brown the Marshmallow Fluff and garnish with a piece of the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar.

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Imagine if you will light little pastry shells filled with creamy white chocolate, drizzled with more chocolate and topped with sweet raspberries. The perfect little individual desserts served with tiny cordials of sweet, late harvest dessert wines. Yum!

White Chocolate Mousse Pastries
1 Package (10 oz) Frozen Puff Pastry Shells
6 Squares (1 oz each) White Chocolate
1 ½ Cups Heavy Cream
1 Square (1 oz) Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
Raspberries for garnish, if desired

Bake and cool pastry shells according to package directions. Set aside until ready to fill.

In a microwaveable bowl, heat white chocolate and ¼ cup heavy cream on high for 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring halfway through heating process. Stir until white chocolate is completely melted. Cool to room temperature, approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, chill a bowl to beat remaining cream. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. DO NOT OVER BEAT. Fold half the whipped cream into white chocolate mixture.

Fold in remaining whipped cream just until blended. Spoon into pastry shells. Drizzle with melted semi-sweet chocolate. Refrigerate 1 hour. Makes 6 pastries.

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While my all-time favorite dessert is a Chocolate Souffle with a Grand Marnier Cream Sauce, these are so temperamental and time sensitive that I wouldn’t suggest for an over-the-top dinner party. However; Baker’s Molten Chocolate Cakes are easy to make and give you that same light sensation.  I love to garnish the little cakes with fresh berries – strawberries or raspberries bring a bright color to the plate.

Baker’s Famous Molten Chocolate Cake
4 Squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate
½ Cup Butter
1 Cup Powdered Sugar, Sifted
2 Whole Eggs
2 Egg Yolks
6 Tablespoons Flour

Cook’s Note: According to the recipe, this cake can be prepared in advance, held in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before baking. However; the result is a denser, heavier cake. Since there isn’t a great deal of work in the preparation, I see no point in “holding” the batter.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter 4 small custard cups or ramekins; place on a baking sheet and set aside.

Microwave chocolate squares and butter in a large microwaveable bowl on high for approximate 1 minute or until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted.

Sift powdered sugar into chocolate mixture. Add whole eggs and whisk until blended. Add egg yolks and mix well. Stir flour into batter. Spoon batter into prepared cups or ramekins.

Bake 13-14 minutes or until sides of cake are firm but centers are still soft. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes.

Carefully run thin knife around cake to loosen; invert onto dessert plates. Dust with additional powdered sugar. Garnish each dish with a sprig of fresh mint leaves and fresh fruit such as raspberries  or strawberries. Even blackberries or blueberries will work nicely. (Since only a small amount of fruit is used for the garnish, it’s the perfect time to think ahead – fresh fruit with breakfast in the morning!)

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Years ago, my friends and I would gather every Friday evening at a wonderful little bistro in mid-town to drink champagne, eat chocolate mouse served in champagne coup glasses and talk politics. Oh, those were the days! Of all my Chocolate Mousse recipes, this is by far the simplest – very straight forward. Just two base ingredients – with a third if topped with whipped cream. It is straightforward and unassuming. Just remember to use a gentle hand. Simple perfection at its best.

Mousse au Chocolat
8 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
6 eggs, at room temperature
whipped cream (optional)

Slowly melt the chocolate in a double boiler. The top of the double boiler should be just above the water and the water should be at a simmer, not boiling.

Separate the egg yolks and whites into two large clean bowls. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Allow the chocolate to cool just slightly then stir the melted chocolate into the egg yolks, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth.

Stir one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and mix until thoroughly blended. Using a sharp-edged spatula, carefully fold the rest of the egg whites into the mixture. Spoon the mousse into individual glasses, chill and serve with whipped cream if you wish.

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Unlike traditional Zabaglione that is served warm, this is served well-chilled with the addition of whipped cream. The sweet Marsala Wine pairs well with an assortment of fresh fruits.

Whipped Cream Zabaglione with Berries
7 egg yolks
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
Desired Fresh Berries

Fill a large saucepan with several inches of water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat until the water maintains a strong simmer. Place the egg yolks, Marsala wine, and sugar into a metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the simmering water. Beat constantly with a wire whisk until the zabaglione turns pale yellow and thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.

Scrape the zabaglione into a clean mixing bowl, and set over ice, stirring occasionally until cold.

Once cold, fold in the whipped cream.

To serve: Fill dessert glasses half-full with fresh berries. Top with Whipped Cream Zabaglione and serve.

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Pucker up for these sensational little bite-size lemon treats. If desired, garnish with edible flowers for a little added color.

Lemon Tartlets
Ingredients – Tartlet Shell
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg white
1 1/4 cups flour

Ingredients – Lemon Filling
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon butter melted & cooled
2 teaspoon lemon zest
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
Powdered sugar

Preheat over to 325 degrees. Spray 2 mini muffin pans with cooking spray.

In mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg white; blend well. add flour; mix just until well blended. Divide into 24 pieces and drop into muffin cups. Press into tart shells.

For filling, lightly whisk eggs. Whisk in sugar and butter, lemon zest and juice. Mix well. Pour filling evenly into tart shells.

Bake 20-22 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Remove pan to cooling rack for 5 mins.

Remove from pan and cool completely. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

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Don’t let the name fool you – these aren’t little “pies” in the usual sense but rather apple-filled apples that are adorned with a decorative top and baked in the oven. A wonderful choice for a fall menu with apples are so abundant.

Petite Apple Pies
pie crust dough – favorite single crust recipe
6 Granny Smith apples
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Egg wash
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and dry apples. Cut the tops (about 1/2 inch) of four apples straight across. Using a scooper gently remove apple flesh and core (You won’t need this for the recipe, but you can save and use the flesh for homemade apple sauce or a smoothie).

Take your time, you want to be sure to keep the skin intact. Peel remaining two apples, remove core and dice for filling. In a mixing bowl toss apple slices, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and lemon juice.

Scoop apple mixture into hollowed apples evenly. Roll out pie crust and use rolling-pin to slightly thin out crust. Slice 40 thin strips (10 per apple pie). Cover the tops of the apples with pie crust strips in a lattice pattern.  If desired, add a braided trim and polka dot top (used a straw to pop out the polka dots) to some of the “pies”.

Whisk egg with 2 tablespoons of water and brush over pie crust. Place apples in an 8″ x 8″ pan with water covering the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil and back for 20 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes until crust is a golden brown.

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3 thoughts on “Traveling Dinner Party – Part 9 – Desserts and Sweets

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