Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hosting a Dessert ~ Holiday Entertaining Part I

The month of December is a particularly busy time.  I try to have a formal dinner party and often a big friends/neighbors party too.  During both of these I'm often so busy I get to spend little time talking with my guests.  It is for this reason I particularly enjoy hosting a holiday dessert.

For a group of six to eight, I use the bar serving area in the Great Room so we can bask in the ambiance of the fire and the Great Tree.  Kevin goes to so much effort to decorate this room and this tree that most everyone wants to spend time here.  It feels warm and comfortable and is a great place to gather more intimately with friends.  The desserts are self-serve and in addition to eggnog and coffee I like to put out a little bottle of chocolate liqueur for those that want it to add to their coffee. I also try to find some chocolate coffee stirs or coated spoons.  It's a little holiday addition that makes the dessert feel particularly special.

The Great Room and Tree
I've hosted these events just after a Christmas parade, in the evening after going to a movie and during tea time.  Really anytime works, even after dining out with friends.  It's so easy to prepare and set up in advance, I do one or more of these each holiday season.

If I'm not feeling particularly ambitious or know that we are dining out with friends before the dessert at our place, I'll simply make a tray of cookies and pick up some special holiday chocolates.  Below is my homemade cookie tray on a Fitz & Floyd holiday platter along with some Belgian chocolate cups filled with chocolate liquors and other tasty treats.   With a pot of coffee after a big dinner, that's surely all you need.

But if I'm feeling more ambitious and having guests mid-day or after a cold Christmas parade, I do try and bake a special dessert for the occasion.  I always think of a cream pie as a winter pie, I guess because fresh fruits are out of season and the velvety cream is so rich and delicious, it's perhaps only during the holiday season your guests wish to indulge in this special treat.  My cream pie recipe uses nine egg yolks an nine cups of cream (but it does make two pies, if that's of any consolation) so you can see why it should be served only on the most special occasions.      

Of course everyone likes to see a holiday Yule log cake on the dessert buffet and I've made this jelly-roll type cake several times.  It looks lovely and sets the scene, although if I have to chose which one of the above I'm having for dessert, count me in for the cream pie!

Of course sometimes it's a rather larger crowd, like this year when I've invited my colleagues from work to stop in for dessert after our holiday party.  That requires significantly more food and for this I generally set the dining room table with a wide range of smaller items, as I know they want to taste a bit of everything.

Of course sometimes it's just one other couple or even just the two of us, and even then I do try to put a little something by the fire to finish off the day.

A cup of holiday coffee or a glass of good port are often all you need to finish off a good dinner or wrap up a busy day of shopping.  Why not make it special during this holiday season.  We have the rest of the year to diet and exercise!  Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. this is the first break I've had in weeks... what a lovely virtual present... looks like great fun!!!! That mile high pie has me drooling.