Guide for the party host


Included are menus, decorating ideas and tips for gatherings

December 24, 2003|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF

Mary Engelbreit proclaims herself an unskilled cook. So it is a bit surprising that the popular artist, whose works adorn posters, greeting cards and home accents, has written a cookbook on party food.

To whom the book is addressed is a bit of a mystery. The title, You're Invited: A Cookbook for Special Occasions (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2003, $29.95), would seem to imply that this is a manual for those looking for ideas on what to bring to the next potluck.

The recipes and guidelines, however, are directed to the party host. The book includes menus and decorating ideas and some party tips that border on the obvious: "Like a great hamburger and perfect scrambled eggs, homemade fried chicken always satisfies; in fact, it's downright thrilling. To accompany it, pick an icy cold beer or a tall cherry lemonade."

The book's 144 pages include full-page photographs and, of course, lots of Engelbreit's colorful drawings.

The chapters are divided into "Finger Foods & Appetizers," "Soups, Salads & Side Dishes," "Main Courses," "Dreamy Desserts" and "Coolers & Cocktails."

One of the simplest, and most elegant, desserts is the Jolly Jellyroll With Lime Cream. Although I couldn't find lime curd in my supermarket, the recipe worked just as well by adding a tablespoon of lime juice to lemon curd. The result was a dessert that would make a perfect accompaniment to a holiday party.

Jolly Jellyroll With Lime Cream

Serves 8

6 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour, sifted with a pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1 to 1 1/2 cups raspberry jam


1/2 cup store-bought lime curd

3/4 cup heavy cream

fresh raspberries and lime zest curls, for garnish

To prepare the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set a pan one-third full of water on to simmer. Butter and flour a jellyroll pan; line with parchment paper; butter and flour the parchment.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Place the bowl over, but not touching, the water and continue whisking 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is lukewarm. Beat with the mixer at high speed 2 to 3 minutes, just until the mixture thickens.

Sift the flour mixture into the batter one-third at a time. Using a rubber spatula, fold just until the flour is incorporated. Add the vanilla and butter, folding just until distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly and bake in the center of the oven 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a wire rack 10 minutes. Place clean parchment paper or a kitchen towel that is slightly longer than the cake on a work surface. Dust the paper with some of the confectioners' sugar. Turn the cake out onto the paper; peel off the paper. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar. Roll the cake lengthwise and cool completely on the wire rack.

Place the raspberry jam in a medium bowl and beat until smooth. Unroll the cake and spread the jam over one side, leaving a 1/2 -inch border all the way around. Reroll the cake, using the towel to maneuver; remove the towel and place the cake seam-side down on a plate. Chill 30 minutes.

To prepare the lime cream: In a medium bowl, beat the curd until smooth. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the cream into the curd to lighten it. Fold in the lightened curd into the whipped cream until completely combined.

Evenly spread the lime cream over the cake. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve, but not more than 2 hours. Garnish with raspberries and lime zest before serving.

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