Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Desserts for a Formal Dinner

We recently had 34 people over for a formal dinner. It was a wonderful evening! Apparently I am known more for my desserts than my main entrees. So in one sense, my guests couldn’t wait until the main meal was over with, so they could get to the grand final. I actually made five different desserts for the meal: Mocha Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, Chocolate Mousse Cups, Raspberry Mousse Cups, Cannoli and Fresh Fruit Tartletts.

I’ve already included recipes for most of these desserts in previous blog posts. But I haven’t posted the recipe yet for the Mocha Chocolate Chip Cheesecake. So….here it is:

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

5 T. unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp. vanilla
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup white flour
4 tsp. cocoa

Cream butter and sugar together. Blend in vanilla and egg. Add flour and cocoa and mix together until well combined. With greased hands, pat into a greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edge. Remove from oven and let cool while preparing the filling. (Do ahead tip: once the crust is cooled, you can refrigerate or freeze until ready to fill.)

3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-oz. package mini chocolate chips, divided in half
1 T. espresso powder (available from online retailers like King Arthur Flour) or 2 T. instant coffee
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt half of the chocolate chips in low heat in double boiler or microwave; set aside. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs, one at a time. Add sweetened condensed milk and melted chocolate chips and blend well. Add espresso powder and vanilla. Stir in the remaining half of mini chocolate chips (unmelted!). Pour into a greased 9-inch springform or cheesecake pan. Bake one hour and 15 minutes, until cheesecake is set and slightly golden around edges. Turn off oven and let cheesecake cool in oven for about an hour. Then put in the refrigerator and let chill for at least 8 hours or overnight. When ready to garnish, remove cheesecake from pan. Top with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

The cheesecake seemed to be the main hit of the evening. Still, the other desserts got gobbled up as well. Here’s a picture of my raspberry and chocolate mousse cordial cups:

Here’s a picture of one of the trays of cannoli that I served:

And here is a photo of the fresh fruit tartletts that I made. The fresh fruit is so colorful and pretty! My personal favorite was the strawberry tartletts…made with strawberries freshly picked from our garden.

When I get time, I will post some recipes from our main entrĂ©es as well. I just thought I’d post the dessert pics first. Somehow, that’s what people seem to look forward to the most. I know it isn’t just me who does that!

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