Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Club Christmas Menu

I had great intentions to post all the photos from our recent Book Club Christmas last week, but it just did not happen! So today I am back with details of our menu. We kept things light for our mid-afternoon tea party, which seemed to suit everyone fine.

Book Club Christmas Menu

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Jam, Lemon Curd and Buttercream Icing
Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
Cheddar-Pecan Wafers
Cup of Loveliness Signature Roseberry Tea
Ice Water with Lemon

This three-layer cake received rave reviews. I baked three layers of lemon cake in square pans and stacked them with alternating layers of raspberry jam, buttercream icing and lemon curd. The combination was heavenly! In fact, one guest said she dreamed about eating that cake afterward and told her husband the next morning that he must commission me to make her birthday cake this year. In all fairness, my friend has been on a very strict diet, so it was probably just the sugar talking. But it was nice to hear such a rave review, in any event. I decorated the cake to look like a gift, covering the whole cake with varying sizes of circles piped on with a star tip. Wide green wired ribbon and fresh flowers added the final touches for our cake. I should have added the ribbon after refrigerating the cake for a while so the icing would set, but I was too impatient to complete the design. I kept the flowers in water until shortly before party time, then tucked them into the cake. And who could resist a sweet pink and green gift?

Cheddar-Pecan Wafers

These dainty wafers my friend Missy Jones made for the party provided a nice balance to the sweets on the tea table.

1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound sharp or extra sharp cheddar
1 cup pecans, toasted
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
4 ½ cups all purpose flour

In the bowl of a large food processor, chop pecans until nearly mealy. Remove to a bowl. Cream butter, cheddar, salt and cayenne. Add pecans and flour (add flour in two parts) and mix on “dough” setting. When all ingredients are well incorporated, divide mixture in fourths. Place each quarter of dough on wax paper and form into a log about 1 ½" thick. Place in fridge for about two hours, or until solid. Cut into scant ½" slices and place on parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven about 15 minutes, or until edges begin to turn golden brown. Let cool 2 minutes on tray and then remove to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Store in airtight container up to 3 days. The recipe makes a lot (four logs). If you want to save some, over-wrap the wax paper with plastic wrap and freeze up to one month. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before slicing to bake.

My friend Sharon Lyle came early to help me with last-minute party details, and she put together this pitcher of water with alternating layers of lemon slices and ice cubes -- a refreshing option for ladies who preferred a cold beverage to hot tea.

Tomorrow, a little giveaway sure to delight my bookloving friends! And assuming no computer problems slow my progress, I have lots of Christmas party ideas to share this week.

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