After another successful holiday dessert party I am happy to share this year's dessert party champion. The competition gets tighter each year, but these delicious mini tarts with pretty seasonal fruits wowed our guests!
It is an interesting competition that goes down. The voting has to do with much more than just taste. Knowing your audience as well as standing out amongst all the desserts are huge factors in getting votes. There are so many things to try that rarely does anyone try every single dessert. Coming up with something unique and bite size has proven to work in the winner's favor.
So this year's winning dessert comes from my childhood best friend (whose mom happened to win the year before!). These mini tarts are cute and easy to grab and are surprisingly refreshing with the fresh fruit.
Pomegranate Persimmon Mini Tarts
Adapted from Apt. 2B Baking Company
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons cold, cubed butter
1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons water
1. Using a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the yolk and pulse, then slowly stream in the water and pulse until the mixture begins to clump a bit.
2. Lightly butter cupcake pan and gently press the crumbly dough into the pan. Make sure to evenly coat the bottom and the sides while being careful to not compact the dough too much. You may have a bit of extra dough, save it just in case you have to repair any cracks later on. Freeze the tart shells for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat your oven to 375º and bake the tart shells until it is lightly golden. Bake until the dough is cooked (no longer having that doughy/glossy look) - I hate an overcooked crust and I knew it would have to bake longer with the filling. Start checking the crust at 5 minutes. After baked, repair any cracks that may have formed with your leftover dough. While the shell is baking, prepare the filling.
Make sure to mix ingredients in order listed.
3 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups labneh (kefir cheese)
In a medium bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar, salt and vanilla. Then, whisk in the cheese.
Turn the oven down to 300º
Pour the filling mixture into the warm tart shell and return to the oven to bake until the filling is set, but jiggles slightly in the center, about 10-15 minutes. Take care not to over bake the filling, as it will ruin the smooth texture of the filling.
Cool the tart completely then top with 4 peeled (a y shaped peeler is great for this task) and sliced fuyu persimmons (the short, chubby ones) and the arils from one pomegranate (about a cup's worth).
We hosted our 5th Annual Holiday Dessert Party this year. Year after year it is always a treat to gather with friends and family around a little friendly dessert competition! As the years go by the competition gets a little steeper. It is truly one of my most favorite events of the year.
As I shared before we literally were still bricking the fireplace before guests arrived. We were able to get just enough on both sides to throw up a few extra bricks and the mantel before the party started. We were given this beautiful mantel from a friend who was replacing hers. The timing was quite perfect as she offered it to us the day before the party! Talk about throwing stuff together last minute! It can be stressful but I was impressed of the crazy amount of things we accomplished for this party.
With an hour left before guests arrived, I quickly got dressed and came out to our semi-finished fireplace and my mom and Brent sweeping up the room. As you can imagine, I was quite thrilled to come out and see the beginnings of a complete fireplace. I then ran around like a crazy woman grabbing things from different rooms and art off of the wall in my office to put together this mantel display. It was the quickest and most stressful styling of my life, finishing just minutes before our guests arrived! I am pretty pleased with what I was able to come up with (even if there are now empty wall spaces in my office!).
For the party, we ask guests to bring a dessert to enter into the competition if they wish (not mandatory for attending) and I provide other non-sweet food.
We set up our dining room table with a place to vote and plenty of room for desserts to be put on display.
And just so you get an idea of what this room looked like hours before the party. Here is the before:
And the after:
In our living room I set up a movie and toys for the kids. Having this downstairs space proves to create a separate space for the kids to play while still being accessible to the party (and their parents!).
As guests arrived my heart about melted when these two sweet girls in their pretty Christmas outfits hung out on the hearth of the fireplace. All I have ever hoped for an dreamed of. Cozy hanging out by the fire (minus the fire part).
The table got filled with yummy treats and we were sure to end the night with full tummies!
The winner of the night were these delicious pomegranate and persimmon sugar cookie cups. They were to die for. You can find the recipe here.
For the food I have it down to a system. I serve the same tried and true favorite appetizer items. Pepperoni pizza and pear and gorgonzola pizza...
Fried cheese ravioli with marinara...
Slow cooker meatballs (made with chili sauce and grape jelly)...
Lots of cheese, crackers, and salami along with plenty of veggies...
Another successful and blessed party complete with our very first night with our almost finished fireplace!
We finished the night taking in the beauty of our hard work. Brent said he could barely feel his finger tips...poor guy.
Check out our other past holiday dessert parties here:
2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010
I do not always decorate our bedroom during Christmas but I like to put up at least one little tree that can light up at night to add a little sparkle to our room. This year a simple feathered wreath and tree dress up our bedroom for the holidays.
My favorite part is having the tree lit at night to see down our hallway.
Since the next two photos are undeserving of their own separate post, here is our guest bathroom decorated for Christmas as well. A few pieces of ribbon and another small wreath ties in the bathroom with the rest of the house.
It is sometimes the littlest of details that are the sweetest.