I'm planning an engagement party to kickoff Wedding Season, so fill your heads (and hearts) with fabulous ideas and tips (homemade invitations, anyone?) on how to host your own. Mine will be an after dinner dessert party with champagne and a to die for dessert buffet. Taking help from your local bakery is an easy way to round out a menu of homemade mini baked goods. Store bought cookies and tiny candies can fill silver platters and sparkling bowls. Since an engagement party should really be all about the couple, be sure to include their favorite desserts (and don't forget something chocolate for all of those chocoholics!). In my case, Julie loves cheesecake and Scott is mad for strawberry shortcake so those two dishes must be on the menu, for the recipes
can be made in mini muffin tins for individual servings that guests can pop right into their mouths.
Strawberry Shortcakes With White Chocolate Whipped Cream
can be prepared in martini glasses, small tumblers, or mousse cups with a spoon ready and waiting in each one for the invitees.
1 cup (100 grams) graham wafer crumbs or crushed digestive cookies
1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, melted
2 - 8 ounce (454 grams) packages of cream cheese, room temperature (use full fat, not reduced or fat free cream cheese)
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Strawberry puree and/or fresh berries, optional garnish
- Line 12 - 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups with one - 2 inch (5 cm) wide x 6 inch (15 cm) long strip of parchment paper. (The ends will hang over the sides of the cups to be used as handles to lift out the baked cheesecakes.) Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
- For Crust: in a small bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.
- Press about a tablespoon of crumbs on the bottoms of the 12 muffin cups lined with parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.
- For Filling: in the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese on low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until combined.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and beat until incorporated.
- Remove the crusts from the refrigerator and evenly divide the filling among the 12 muffin cups.
- Bake for about 18 - 20 minutes or until firm but the centers of the cheesecakes still wobble a little. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (a few hours or even overnight).
- Remove cheesecakes by first running a sharp knife around the inside edge of the muffin cups to loosen the cheesecakes. Then, taking hold of the two strips of parchment paper, carefully lift each cheesecake from the muffin cups. Gently peel off the parchment paper and place on your serving plate. If desired, top with strawberry sauce and/or fresh berries.
Makes 12 individual cheesecakes.
White chocolate cream
2 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, chilled
1 cup whipping cream, plus additional for brushing biscuits
2 tablespoons raw sugar
4 cups halved hulled strawberries (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- For white chocolate cream: Place white chocolate in medium bowl.
- Place 1 tablespoon water in very small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over; let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.
- Bring 1/2 cup cream and 3 tablespoons sugar to simmer in small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat; add gelatin and stir until dissolved.
- Pour gelatin mixture over white chocolate, whisking until melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature.
- Beat remaining 2 cups cream in large bowl until peaks form. Fold 1/2 cup cream into white chocolate mixture to lighten.
- Fold chocolate mixture into remaining cream in bowl. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
- For biscuits: Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl; whisk to blend. Add butter.
- Using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms.
- Gradually add 1 cup cream, tossing until moist clumps form.
- Gather dough into ball; shape into 8 1/2-inch round on parchment or foil. Chill 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut dough into eight 3-inch rounds, gathering scraps and reshaping as needed.
- Place rounds on prepared sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool completely. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. If desired, rewarm in 350°F oven 5 minutes before using.)
- For strawberries: Combine strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, and mint in medium bowl; toss to blend. Let stand at room temperature until juices form, at least 10 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 hours.
- Cut biscuits in half horizontally or crumble into pieces. Place in pretty cups and mound strawberries with syrup on each, dividing equally.
- Cover with white chocolate cream and more biscuit.
What dessert makes your sweetheart weak in the knees? Tell me about it below. And be sure to check back this afternoon for the final and third piece of this menu.