Decadent mini desserts

Sat, Dec 8, 2012, 00:00

An array of exquisite desserts that you can serve in small dishes and mini sizes so your guests can enjoy several different sweet treats, writes EUNICE POWER

If one considers the dynamic of the traditional party, it is certainly a funny old gathering – a group of guests summoned together either through work or friendship or obligation. Some know each other and some don’t, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are known, in some way, by the host. Hence it follows that the successful party is one where the host keeps their guests “moving and meeting”.

When I host a party, or cater for one, I find that dessert time provides the ideal opportunity to get people moving and meeting. I tend to serve dessert in another room, or from a side table, so guests are invited to get up and move around.

Gone are the days of the huge pavlova and big bowls of trifle – all of which look a mess once the first spoon has dug in. Now, it’s more about small and sophisticated desserts.

Over the years I have gathered up little glasses, crystal sherry goblets, votive light holders, and other suitable vessels which I fill with delicious treats, all of them small so guests can sample more than one. I often include baskets of warm Madeleines, trays of florentines and bowls of little meringues sandwiched together with melting fillings. These are passed throughout the room. In fact I have often been known to grab a passing tray and hand it around as a means of escape from my captor in the corner.

Most of these treats can be prepared a day in advance allowing a cool and collected host or hostess to enjoy her own party.

LEMON AND PASSION FRUIT SOUFFLÉS

These are memorable, light and fluffy, with a gorgeous tangy flavour. Makes six large portions or 12 small ones.

3 large eggs

2 lemons, juice and zest

2 passion fruit

225g caster sugar

4 leaves of gelatine

300ml cream

To decorate

3 passion fruit

Separate the eggs. Put the yolks, zest and juice of the lemons, sugar and passion fruit pulp into a large heatproof bowl. Stand it over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the mixture is thick and creamy – about five minutes. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile soak the gelatine leaves in warm water. When the gelatine is soft, take it out of the water, squeeze off excess water and add to the hot lemon custard. Stir to dissolve completely, and allow to cool.

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