Saturday, June 6, 2009

Baby Shower Fun!

I saw Connor for a total of about an hour today-- he and Jer had a Daddy day. This was because I helped throw a baby shower for my good friend Anna. We all had a blast!

The girls and I had decided on a tea party theme for the shower, which due to my insane obsession with tea was right up my alley. We decided to go with a sort of mixed casual and formal eclectic look, with mismatched silver and china.
I spent a few weeks collecting china tea cups from thrift stores all over the area. The cups were our party favors-- everyone got to pick their favorite and then take it home with them in the end. Finding them was immensely fun, they got a good reception, and they were pretty cheap as favors go (I paid between fifty cents to three dollars for each teacup). The teacups were all so neat, I almost just went out and bought other favors so I could keep them all. Now I want to collect tea cups. Oh well.
I also picked up a bunch of mismatched silverplated serving dishes and teaspoons. Fresh flowers and honey came from the farmer's market. Fun!

We had a good time planning, cooking and presenting a yummy menu-- and an even better time eating everything! So first, of course, I picked out the tea; we used Tea Forte for the occasion. It's a little pricey, but it's high quality tea and the presentation is just so darn cute that it's perfect for parties. Then we made a wide variety of finger foods. My contributions were miniature quiches, lemon bars, and some cherry raspberry truffles of my own invention. Here's the recipe for the truffles, which are pretty simple and are to die for:

Jessie's Cherry Raspberry Truffles

1/2 cup creme
1 package frozen raspberries
20 fresh cherries, pitted and halved
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (preferably high quality)
12 oz semisweet chocolate (ditto)
unsweetened cocoa for garnish
1.) Dump the frozen berries into a saucepan. Stir over medium low heat until the berries soften and release their juice. Pour the raspberry puree into a strainer to get rid of the seeds. You want anywhere between 1/2 cup and 2/3 cup raspberry juice-- however much is released (it will depend on the raspberries).

2.) Pour the creme into the raspberry juice until you've made one cup of liquid total (i.e. if you have 1/2 c of raspberry juice, use 1/2 cup creme, 2/3 cup raspberry juice, use 1/3 creme, etc.).

3.) Melt the 8 oz bittersweet chocolate. Pour creme/raspberry mixture into chocolate. Stir to mix. Then refrigerate until set-- about an hour.

5.)Take chocolate ganache (what you just made) out of fridge. Working quickly, roll into balls the size of your cherries. Mash each ball of ganache into a cherry half. Return ganache and cherries to fridge and let firm for 30 minutes.

6.) Melt semisweet chocolate. Let cool until at room temperature, and then reheat (this will temper the chocolate: make it shiny and prevent it from "blooming," or separating out when chilled) Using fork, dip cherry/ganache balls into melted chocolate until thoroughly coated. Place on wax paper cherry side up- it makes a nice, smooth dome this way.
7.) Sprinkle lightly with cocoa to garnish. Put in fridge five minutes to set, and then remove from fridge and serve at room temperature, if you can wait that long.

Makes 40 truffles, unless you can forgo the rolling, dipping, and garnishing entirely and simply eat large spoonfuls of ganache directly out of the bowl. Then it makes one huge bowl of ganache with cherries on the side. Yum.

Everything turned out beautifully, overall it was a big success. We're already coming up with reasons to have another tea party. It was so much fun!



Sweet Lorraine said...

Awww. Completely adorable, Jess. I had a customer come through drive-thru a month or so ago with a china tea cup in her passenger seat. I inquired as to the cute cup's origin, and she said she got it as a favor at a bridal shower!

Hmm... I'm seeing Opie's aunt tomorrow, who has offered to throw me a shower. EUREKA.

Julia O'C said...

Oh, what a GREAT idea. Your photos and descriptions made me feel like I was there.

I may be in need of some cute shower ideas (husband's brother is proposing soon!) and might borrow some of these ideas from you. What a lucky mom-to-be. Great job.

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