Monday, October 26, 2009

Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations

I just finished reading my review copy of Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations: Entertaining at Home with New York's Savviest Hostesses. I love to curl up in bed and read cookbooks...and sometimes cook from them too. This one came along at a fortuitous time as the holidays are right around the corner.

Members of The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have contributed their favorite recipes that they rely on to celebrate holidays and the seasons. There are menus and recipes for Valentine's Day, Passover, Derby Day, and of course what I'm thinking about now: Christmas. I haven't tried any of the recipes, but I thought the Society's previous effort was a success so I'm anxious to try my hand at a few of these dishes. (Also, the fact that Florence Fabricant is associated with this book is like a seal of approval.)

I've included a dessert recipe below that I'd like to make, but if you're not someone who enjoys cooking or reading cookbooks, you should at least look at the photos of the gorgeous interiors and tablesettings. You just might be inspired to get into the kitchen and whip up something to celebrate.

Roaring Twenties Coffee Bavarian Cream (Makes 12 or more servings)

2 packets plain gelatin
1 cup whole milk
1 cup brewed espresso
1 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
Small chocolate truffles for decoration, chilled

Place the gelatin in a 4-cup glass measuring cup and stir in the milk. Bring the espresso to a boil and whisk it into the milk mixture. Stir in the sugar. Transfer the mixture to a metal bowl and place it in a large bowl filled with ice and water. Stir from time to time as the mixture cools. When the mixture starts to thicken, transfer it to the bowl of an electric mixer.

Beat the mixture at high speed until it is smooth and fairly thick and lightens in colors. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until they hold peaks but are not dry. Fold the egg whites into the gelatin mixture.

Whip the cream until stiff and fold it into the gelatin mixture. Transfer the mixture to an 8-cup metal ring mold or another fancy mold. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

To serve, unmold the mousse and decorate it with chocolate truffles, if you like, which can also be piled into the center of the unmolded dessert.

(Recipe and photographs from Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations: Entertaining at Home with New York's Savviest Hostesses, Rizzoli New York, 2009, photographer Ben Fink.)


  1. I love the silver goblets on the cover. I don't have any, but our friend Cameron does and they always make for a terrific table.

  2. Courtney- I agree. I have a friend who has pewter goblets that obviously cost less than silver, but they look great too. Might be a budget option for those who can't afford silver!

  3. I love that footed silver tray that the goblets are on! You can find those at lots of places in pewter (or even people that are selling and unaware it's real silver!) at places like Goodwill, HomeGoods, and flea markets. I scoop them up whenever I see them - sometimes they just take a good polish but they're the most versatile pieces I own!

  4. Lauren- It's amazing what one can find at Goodwill, I agree. My sister got some great silver revere bowls at the one near her home!

  5. That last image makes me want to repaint the trim and ceiling in my dining room. Wonderful! And the blue chair. I'm mad for the whole thing.

  6. Just yesterday I was searching for a good recipe for Bavarian Cream--and here it is!!! This one is definitely on my "try out" list. And I'm going to serve it in early 19th c. Imari bowls. thanks.kagsker

  7. Who knew Park Ave did potluck???
    Does this mean I am finally chic because I ALWAYS do potluck at my house? Thank the Lord

  8. Sally- I know..who knew?? I've been stylish serving Chicken Poppyseed and I didn't even realize it!

  9. The dessert recipe I will give to my husband (he is the cooker!) and I file this beautiful pictures!!


  10. "To serve, unmold the mousse." Such simple words. Disaster lurks behind every move. Julia Child's sound advice that when a mousse unmolding goes bad, you can always serve it up in parfait glasses is always a backup plan!

  11. LOL at Sally's comment. I love cookbooks that are combined with "living well." This looks like a great find!

  12. Can't wait to get my hands on this one. I love the photographs of the interiors.