Cheryl’s Bridal Shower

Blogging philosophical question of the day: if something happened over a year ago, am I still allowed to post it?

I’m not sure what you think, but I say if it’s still relevant, why not? So what Cheryl and Joe were married last September, and so what her bridal shower happened last summer? It was a really great shower (and a really great wedding, which will be another post), and I still want to share it with you. Perhaps some of you are planning your own themed parties, and I welcome you to borrow any ideas you see on this site. :)

As much as Cheryl would have wanted to plan her own shower, her bridesmaids gave her one task only: choosing the theme. She chose the horse race scene from My Fair Lady as a design cue for the bridal shower, which was loosely translated as a “black and white” theme. The bridal party did a great job decorating the space, and I was tasked with baking some black and white items. How did we do? See the rest of the pictures after the jump.

Lots of black and white decor.

Black and white foods included: Peking duck, sushi, cheese, crackers, olives, figs, fruit (we cheated a little), black sesame shortbread cookies, Nutella cupcakes with vanilla frosting, whoopie pies, grass jelly and almond jello, nonpareils, marshmallows and macarons.

Black and white cookie favors with hand-made fabric rosette hairclips!

Black and white presents!

The happy bride was also donned in black and white. It really was a fun shower, and just wait until you see the wedding!

Nutella Tartelettes

Am I still posting about that baby shower I catered? Yes, and hang tight, I’m almost done. After this, there’s only one more post left, I promise.

This Nutella tartelette was truly decadent, filled with three varying layers of chocolate. First, Nutella lines the bottom of the tartelette shell. Next is a dark chocolate pudding, and finally, the tartelette is topped with a dark chocolate ganache. This was not the design of the original recipe, but I decided to mix things up a bit. Actually, the truth is, my pudding didn’t turn out quite right (I manhandled it and also overcooked it just a tad), and I had to serve something presentable to the ladies at the shower, so on went the dark chocolate ganache topping. After tasting it myself, you couldn’t even tell the pudding was a little off.

If you’re a dark chocolate lover, then oh boy, you definitely want to try making and eating this tartelette. Be sure to watch the time when you’re baking the tartelettes, and you’ll be on your way to rich, chocolatey bliss.

Nutella Tartelettes
adapted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme

Ingredients:
2/3 cup Nutella
4 3/4 oz bittersweet chocolate
7 tablespoons butter
1 large egg, room temperature, stirred with a fork
3 large egg yolks, room temperature, stirred with a fork
2 tablespoons sugar
4 baked tartelette shells (recipe below)

Directions:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 F degrees.
2. Spread the Nutella evenly over the bottom of the crust and set aside.
3. Melt the chocolate and the butter separately – either by using a double boiler or in the microwave. Allow both chocolate and butter to cool slightly.
4. Whisk the egg into the chocolate, stirring gently in circles and taking care not to agitate the mixture as you don’t want to beat air into the ganache. Little by little, stir in the egg yolks, then the sugar. Finally, still working gently, stir in the warm melted butter. Pour the ganache over the Nutella in the tart shell.
5. Bake tart for 11 minutes. Center of tart will not be completely set, but that’s how it should be. Remove the tart from the oven, and cool on a cooling rack to room temperature.
6. Additional step: If the pudding turns out too hard and crumbly looking, simply add a layer of dark chocolate ganache to hide the flaws. It’s definitely still edible, and the extra layer of chocolate will add to this tart’s decadence.

Tart Pastry
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions:
1. Whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade.
2. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses.
3. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds.
4. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.
5. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Unwrap, divide dough into 4 equal pieces, and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 4-inch rounds. (If dough is soft and sticky, slip onto baking sheet and refrigerate until workable, 20 to 30 minutes.)
6. Transfer dough to tart pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling over 4 tartelette pans with removable bottom. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough with one hand while pressing dough into corners with other hand. Press dough into fluted sides of pan. (If some edges are too thin, reinforce sides by folding excess dough back on itself.) Run rolling pin over top of tart pan to remove excess dough.
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 to fill 4 tartelette pans with dough.
8. Set dough-lined tartelette pans on baking sheet and freeze 30 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Take dough-lined tartelette pans out of freezer, press 4-inch square of foil inside frozen tartelette shells and over edges and fill with pie weights. (Beans or rice may be used as a substitute.)
10. Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out.
11. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Set baking sheet with tartelette shells on wire rack to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.