December 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The holidays are a prime time for entertaining and hosting friends and family. It is also a time when we want everything to look extra special and festive. When preparing a buffet table (and that is true for any meal, not just dessert!!!) you want your guests to eat with their eyes first. That initial reaction in front of a beautiful food display will make the enjoyment of food even deeper. We are all sensitive to beauty and the presentation of food is yet another area where visual appeal is fundamental!
Here is a modern, silver tray that will make a statement (houzz.com)
To that effect, SWEETTABLESCAPES is always on the lookout for ways to present food in the most attractive way. We’ve been collecting a few more pictures of beautiful serving pieces, but first:
Here are some of our tips for designing a beautiful buffet for any occasion:
DIY TIPS FOR A PERFECT DESSERT TABLE
The type of event, season, location and overall vibe you want to project will help you determine the style of your party and subsequently your dessert table. Whether it be a colorful carnival-themed birthday party or an elegant anniversary, a romantic engagement, a feminine bridal shower or a wedding, you want to express your personality and your event will reflect yourself, your style and your creativity.
1) Design: This is where you will let your inspiration and creativity speak. Based on your theme or simply the type of event, you will determine the overall look you want to achieve: do you want something simply fun or elegant, vintage maybe? Do you want a destination you love, an activity you enjoy or simply nature to be your inspiration? Your taste and personality should dictate your choices and help you determine the following elements of your table.
2) Colors: These will be the colors introduced in your invitation and the overall décor of your event. Stick with two or three and pick a tablecloth (solid will let all your desserts take center stage) as a canvas, add a backdrop if the space behind your table is too unattractive and have all your desserts made in these same hues.
3) Table: A tablecloth that goes all the way to the floor will be much more sleek and elegant. You will then have to choose all your platters, cake stands, trays and jars to fit your color scheme and theme. Try having a variety of shapes and heights (you can easily make risers with fabric-covered styrofoam blocks or even cardboard boxes) to create visual interest. Choose wood cake stands for a natural look or crystal for an elegant vibe.
4) Desserts: The sweets you select are the most important part of your dessert table and must offer a variety of flavors, shapes and textures to satisfy everyone’s taste. A centerpiece cake is always a striking feature but not a necessity; cupcake towers can also create a stunning accent. Cookies, brownies, cake pops, tartlets, candy, parfaits and all miniature desserts can be integrated. Try to keep everything in the “two-bites-and-you’re-done” category. Treat these sweets as finger food: easy to handle and too small to feel guilty about!!You might want to have mini pumpkin pies, small caramel apples, spiced cupcakes and apple-cider shots for a fall event or lemon-poppyseed petits-fours , pastel-colored cake pops, white-chocolate covered oreos and monogrammed cookies for a spring celebration. Don’t forget fruit as a colorful and refreshing extra for all your calorie-conscious guests!
Candy is a great addition to any table to add touches of color and fill small spaces but it can also become the main event as the ever-so-popular candy bar. In this case, use apothecary jars and bowls in all shapes and sizes, provide lots of spoons and cellophane bags and let your guests rediscover their inner child.
Of course, the holidays allow you to bring other elements and maybe a bit more sparkle than usual. That’s the fun of it! So enjoy creating a gorgeous buffet table and see you guests hooing and haaing. They will also realize how much you devoted to making your event extra special for them!!
5) Finishing Touches: Remember that attention is in the details and to make your dessert table the memorable denouement your guests will not soon forget, try to integrate labels for each of the desserts. Ribbons on jars and spoons always look festive and flowers are most certainly a welcome addition to any table, adding an organic and natural feel to the design.
As a final piece of advice, I would like to recommend creating your dessert table in a separate corner or special space so that you can enjoy the “reveal” when dessert time comes. You’ll be thrilled to see the joy on your guest’s faces when they discover a beautiful, stylish table covered with sweets!!
Keep in mind that this dessert table is the ending to your party and the final impression you’ll leave your guests. Everyone loves sweets, the indulgence of multiple choices and the sheer beauty of a lavish and tasty spread. Make sure it is the perfect reflection of you!!
Now, lets’ look at a few serving pieces:
Anthropologie: these have a beautiful green/blue sheen
How about an elegant wooden tray?..Barclay Pine at Bellacor.com
These classic, white, elegant Victorian Compote bowls from Roses and Teacups.com can be used year-round:And for a glamorous touch of gold, don’t even hesitate to get this inexpensive, yet oh-so-festive bowl at cb2.com
It comes in 2 sizes!
December 3, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The cranberry tartness becomes a pleasant counterpoint to the sweet curd and the crunchy pecan crust makes for a delicious, miniature treat! We ABSOLUTELY loved it!!
The recipe is from the November 2013 issue of Martha Stewart Magazine.
For the curd, you’ll need:
- 4 cups fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries (from one 14.5-ounce package)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 oranges)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- Pinch of coarse salt
- 3 large egg yolks plus 1 large whole egg
- 40 Pecan Pastry Cups
- Whipped cream, for serving
Place cranberries, water, and orange juice in a saucepan, cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst, about 35 minutes. Press through a fine sieve, scraping back of sieve to get all the pulp (you should have about 1 3/4 cups), and discard solids. Cook pulp in pan with butter, sugar, and salt over medium heat, stirring, until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, about 7 minutes.
Whisk together egg yolks and egg in a medium bowl, then whisk in cranberry mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time. Return mixture to pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes. Pass through sieve into a bowl (you should have about 3 cups) and press plastic wrap directly on surface of curd to cover. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes. To serve, let guests assemble their own tartlets, or spoon curd into pastry cups and top with whipped cream.
For the pastry cups, you’ll need:
Pastry cups can be made 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
- 3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- Vegetable-oil nonstick cooking spray
Process pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Beat together mascarpone and butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Add flour, pecans, and salt and beat just until dough comes together.
Working in batches if necessary, lightly coat cups of mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Press balls into bottoms and up sides of cups and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pastry cups 15 minutes. Press down bottoms of cups with the end of a wooden spoon handle, then continue to bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Let cool completely before filling with curd.
December 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Every season brings its ingredients and fall is certainly “apple time”. At SWEETTABLESCAPES, apple picking has become an annual family tradition and every year, we enjoy our “standard” apple desserts (homemade applesauce, apple pie) but we also try new recipes.
We can’t remember where this CREAMY APPLE CROSTATA came from but it was enjoyed by all at a recent “Thanksgiving test-run” evening!
Try it for the holiday or on any given Sunday!!
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into very thin slices
3 TBsp ice water or as needed
3 TBsp sugar
3 Golden Delicious or Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Position rack in bottom third of the oven and preheat at 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the dough: pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with some lentil-size pieces. Gradually add some ice water and pulse until dough clumps together. Gather up the dough and press into a thick disk. Use now or wrap up dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
(Let the dough sit a room temperature to soften slightly before rolling out)
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and dust with flour. Roll dough into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to lined baking sheet. Sprinkle center with 1 TBsp sugar, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. Arrange apple slices in two overlapping concentric circles on sugar, filling the center with smaller slices. Sprinkle with 1 TBsp sugar. Fold dough border over, loosely pleating dough as needed. Brush away any flour from dough. Bake until dough looks set, about 15 minutes.
Whisk cream, egg yolk, vanilla, nutmeg and remaining 1 TBsp sugar until combined. Slowly pour over apples, letting custard fill in spaces around slices (crust will keep custard from spilling out)
Bake until custard is set and apples are tender when pierced, about 20 minutes more.
Serve warm or at room temperature.