Once the plan was in place, I set out to find wonderful treats for a tasty dessert table, but, alas, I ran into an unexpected obstacle! All my favorite bakeries were closed for the long holiday weekend! Undaunted, I let my iPad do the walking and found a variety of sources here and there, and, well, came up with an interesting and delicious table! Voilà!
Our parties always seem to end up in the kitchen, so I set up the desserts in the Living Room to encourage circulation. It did seem to help a little, but in the end, we all ended up back in the kitchen.
The treats included Cannolli, Fruit-filled Kolacky, Coconut Flan, and, the pièce the résistance, Galette des Roi - Kings Cake as made in France. It is made with puff pastry with a frangipane (almond cream) center. The cake had a baby Jesus hidden in its center, and whoever finds it gets to wear a paper crown, and is declared King for the day!
Kolacky is a delicious Central European pastry, and, since Polish Americans make up the largest European ethnicity in the Chicago area, there is no shortage of places that offer this yummy treat.
Cannolli may be Italian, but it's become an American favorite. If you haven't tasted one, I urge you to find the nearest Italian bakery and have them fill one for you on the spot. The best are filled with the sweetened Ricotta cheese center just before serving, so the shell doesn't have time to turn soggy. Then the ends are capped off with either finely chopped pistachio or chocolate chips.
Just recently I learned how to make Coconut Flan, thanks to my friend, Layda, who brought one to our Christmas celebration and shared her recipe. The flan, arriving to the New World from Spain, acquires a uniquely Caribbean flavor when coconut is added. It is marvelous! I'll share the recipe soon, once I've made it half a dozen time and feel comfortable with the outcome. So, unintentionally, this turned out to be an international dessert buffet! How fitting for The Three Kings!
Gold, symbolic of one of the gifts that the Magi were reputed to have brought to the Baby Jesus, is represented in the tablecloth and the arrangement of gold branches. I found the branches at my local supermarket, stuck them on a dry oasis, and covered them with river rocks. I love how it looks against my brown Living Room wall! Each guest went home with a Lottery ticket. Hopefully, more gold would be heading their way.
And here are the three mystical beings that represent the revelation of God to us. They foreshadow, with their gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense, Jesus' greatness and his suffering. It is always, a most moving and perfect ending to the holiday season. May your new year be filled with epiphanies and joy! God bless!