How to pull off the perfect coctail party?
Whether you have your set ways in planning a party, or you don’t know where to start, consider my little tips I’ve gathered over the years that make the process effortless. Given that I am coming from a family that takes food and hosting very serious, I can assure you I’ve plenty experience under my belt. I mean, we had to officially put it on paper who is hosting which holiday to have everybody satisfied. I am not joking!
Even if you decide to ‘outsource’ it almost completely, always have at least one or two things of your own. Then it becomes personal.
I like to start my to-do list backwards- with the dessert. Once I make the choice, then all the rest ties around it: amuse bouche, cheese plate and signature cocktail.
My go to Aperol flavored chouguettes with fondant snow caps are a crowds favorite. Indulgent, elegant bite size and very, very versatile. Just like that you can turn them into Halloween party treat or lovely Christmas centerpiece AND since Aperol is added just before piping, you can leave it out and serve them to kiddos, if they are around. The fact that they can be prepared 2-3 days ahead is just another bonus.
If you have never made choux buns before, for a fail-safe experience: weigh the ingredients exactly, pre-heat your oven well, pipe the size recommended and lastly don’t open your oven while baking. There! Simple as that AND make sure to check the blog next week as I reveal my next trick…
125g whole milk
125ml still water
5g caster sugar
1 pinch fleur de sel
150g plain flour
4 whole eggs
300ml whole milk
2 vanilla pods
80g caster sugar
8 egg yolks
20g plain flour
20g corn flour
150g butter (room temperature)
1 TBSP Aperol
Store bought fondant
(Alternatives: White chocolate or powder sugar)
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
In a sauce pan bring water, milk, butter and sugar to a boil while stirring lightly.
Move the saucepan from the fire and using a wooden spoon add in flour.
Put it back on the fire and continue stirring until it pulls away from the sides (becomes a ball-like compact mass).
Spread it on q dinner plate and cover with cling film.
Let it cool for few minutes and than transfer the mixure into the mixing bowl.
Beat in one by one the eggs, making sure it incorporates well before adding the next one (so that it wouldn’t split).
Transfer the mixture to the piping bag and pipe 1 cm size chouquettes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Bake them for 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and let them cool.
You should have about 40 chouquettes.
In the saucepan bring milk, 40g of the sugar and the halved and deseeded vanilla pods to a rolling boil.
In the mean time mix the egg yolks with left over of the sugar, until pale and completely dissolved and then add flour and corn flour to it.
Pour half of the milk mixture over the egg yolks and flour mass while whisking it with a balloon whisk. Then add the left over of the milk and once incorporated nicely return to the fire and heat up until small bubbles start bursting on top.
Remove it from the fire and cover with cling film.
Cream the soft butter well and add cooled the pastry cream mixture.
Finish with a TBSP of Aperol and transfer the mixture to the piping bag.
On the bottom of the chouquette pierce a tiny whole making sure that tip of the piping nossle can fit.
Pipe a small amount of pastry cream in each chouquette and finish dipping the tops in the fondant.
(Use it according to the instructions).
If you can not get a hold of fondant, than melt white chocolate and once slightly cooled dip the tips letting them drip completely before placing them on a whire rack to firm.