The Sweet Life: Throw a Dessert-Tasting Party!
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• Contrast salty and sweet with a cheese, a rich chocolate dessert and a tart, fruit-based recipe. “People put things out in more than one spot; create several vignettes and spread things out to encourage your guests to move about,” says Stuart Kotake, director of catering and conference services at the Kahala Hotel & Resort.
• Expect each guest to use three or four small plates. Some desserts—petit fours, truffles, pecan pie tartlets—can be served with just a napkin. Place plates and napkins near each dessert vignette.
• Bring things out in stages. “Don’t use big platters; rather, make a couple of small platters, so as the food gets nibbled, you can easily refresh with a new platter,” says Kotake. Make sure the first courses are dishes with a “shelf life.” Kotake suggests a baked brie with raspberries, kept on a chafing dish, which will stay warm and gooey the whole party.
• A chocolate fountain is an easy way to create an edible centerpiece. Offer unusual dried fruit, such as cantaloupe or honeydew; decadent, warm cookies; salty mini-pretzels. Have a container with bamboo skewers, rather than using forks.
Napkins and plates, Williams-Sonoma. Napkin-ring holder, Pier 1 Imports.
Photo by Olivier Koning
Haupia CrêpesServes six
12 crêpes (recipe follows)
2 cups haupia filling
4 cups of diced fresh fruit, such as strawberry, pineapple, kiwi and banana
2 ounces sugar
2 ounces unsalted butter
3 ounces limoncello (a lemon liquor)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ounce unsalted butter, melted, cool
2 cups whole milk 2 large eggs
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces powdered sugar
A pinch of salt
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups coconut milk
3 ounces sugar
2½ ounces cornstarch
4 ounces water
Vanilla comes from certain type of orchid—here's the seed pod, or vanilla bean pod.
Photos by Olivier Koning
Add liquid mixture into dry mixture a little at a time until well blended, dissolving all lumps. Refrigerate the mix.
Lightly spray the cooking spray into a 6-inch nonstick pan and place over medium heat. Ladle 1.5 ounces of batter into the pan and swirl to cover the entire pan. Cook until golden, about 30 seconds, flip crêpe over and cook an additional 15 seconds. Place cooked crêpes on parchment paper or waxed paper to cool.
2. Haupia method:Bring coconut milk and sugar to a slow simmer in a sauce pot. Mix the cornstarch and water, then slowly whisk into the coconut milk, until thick. Remove and pour into a deep dish to cool. Refrigerate.
3. To assemble:Place a dollop of haupia onto a crêpe, fold in half, then half again, forming a triangle shape. Continue to assemble all 12 crêpes.
In a large sauté pan, heat butter, add in sugar and fresh fruit, deglaze with limoncello, and then add in the prepared crepes to heat them. Place heated crêpes onto a plate and top with the fruit sauce from the pan.