Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Appetizer Wedding

My, my, my.  It has been quite some time since I've been here. However, Ole Sweetie-Pi's youngest daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, Jerrad, had a breathtaking  wedding vow commitment ceremony (they had eloped some 3 months earlier, little sweetie rascals!)  in the seacoast town of Cape Neddick, Maine, that I was honored to be asked to participate in. Would I make cold appetizers, Elizabeth asked.  I would be honored! I answered.

From that moment,  I had spent every available minute (and brain cell, it seems) in scouring the internet and my cookbooks for delicious, unique, and portable appetizers.  I was challenged by distance (3  hours travel time one way) and not having  the comfort of my own kitchen for last minute preparation work. A flurry of support, encouragement and ideas from my long-time dear friend Jane, and blogging friends, Coleen of Coleen's Recipes, Ingrid of 3B's...Baking, Baseball and Books and Rhiannon Nicole of Hey Gorgeous poured in and kept me sane.  Thank you, ladies, I owe my success in large part to you!  Hugs!

So where to start.  I brought eight items; some where more favored than others (which always happens doesn't it) and a couple where a surprise it.  I'll break these down into two or three posts to keep them reasonable short.

This was a huge surprise.  I made the bacon-wrapped dates more as an afterthought because I thought I hadn't made enough food (!) and wanted something quick and easy.  Little did I know just how delicious they are.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Dates wrapped in bacon.  No recipe really needed for these, just an explanation of method.  Take a whole pitted date (I made a mistake of buying dates with the pits still in them, but they were still wonderful) and wrap half a slice of bacon around the date.  Place the wrapped dates on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a 350*F oven for about ten minutes, seam side down, turn the dates over, and bake further until the bacon is cooked, turning as necessary.  Be careful, these get mighty hot and should be served barely warm or at room temperature.  I think with a  pound of bacon I made 32 wrapped dates, but I could have done another whole batch and I believe all those would have been eaten as well. Guests were just in awe of these sweet and salty morsels.

Chevre Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust
(from my esteemed blogging friend, Megan's Cookin')

If you ever want a unique and elegant appetizer, you must try this recipe!  Oh my gosh is it lovely.  When I explained to guests that this is not a sweet but is a savory cheesecake, (savory is so much nicer with champagne, grins) they couldn't wait to try it, and this rich cheesecake enthralled those who tried it.  I made this in two 11 x 7 inch pans because that's the pan sizes I have.  Megan makes hers in a tart pans, which I think is a much prettier pan, but in my little country city (an oxymoron!) tart pans of this size are not available. We don't have an Italian bakery here, so I made the biscotti from scratch (that recipe to follow).

6 ounces soft butter
1-1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup biscotti crumbs
1/2 cup ground walnuts

2 cups cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup goat cheese (chevre)
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat over to 325 degrees. Place butter, confectioners' sugar, flour, walnuts and biscotti crumbs in a 5-quart mixing bowl with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix.

Press the dough into pan(s), being careful to press the dough evenly on the bottom and sides of pan. Place pan(s) in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the dough to set.

Place cream cheese and goat cheese in a 5-quart mixing bowl with paddle attachment and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add eggs one at time until incorporated. Add sugar, rosemary, and salt. Mix for one minute.

Remove pan(s) with crust from the refrigerator and pour the batter into the pan(s). Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester. The toothpick will be clean and the cheesecake will not be fluid. If the batter is still runny, turn the oven off and allow cake to remain in the oven until firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Two Kinds of Biscotti

It seems I forgot to take a picture of the finished biscotti, so I can only provide you with a picture of part of the baking procedure. Here I had baked it once and sliced it in readiness for the second bake. I made two different kinds of biscotti, one for the crust for the chevre cheesecake, and the second to dunk into coffee or wine, or simply to enjoy.  The biscotti, though different,  looked similar, so I never did take a picture of the second recipe.  Here are the recipes.

(King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook)

This recipe is the first biscotti I ever made and is still my favorite and is the recipe I used for the Chevre Cheesecake, above.  

1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 (1 ounce) bottle (equals 2 tablespoons) anise extract
3 eggs
 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, plus 1 teaspoon water (beaten together for egg wash)

Preheat your oven to 325* Fahrenheit.

Combine the sugar, baking powder, butter and eggs.  Blend in the entire bottle of extract and then the flour, one cup at a time. Remember that flour can absorb whatever moisture is in the air so on a humid day you may have to add a little more flour to your dough.

Spoon the dough onto a greased cookie sheet (I use parchment) to form two longs 1 1/2 inches wide by 1 inch high.  to shape the logs, wet your hands and pat the top and sides of the dough.  Brush the logs with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and cut the logs diagonally into slices, 1 inch thick, to produce cookies.  turn the cookies on its side and rebake at the same temperature for an additional 15 minutes.

The second version of biscotti I baked is a recipe I found on  It contains brandy and almonds, and is definitely a more "grown up" biscotti.


2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brandy
1 1/2 teaspoons anise extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almonds
2 tablespoons anise seed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil.

In large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine brandy, anise extract and vanilla in a small bowl or measuring cup. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Alternately add dry ingredients and brandy mixture to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in the almonds and aniseed.

Drop dough by spoonfuls onto prepared sheet, forming two 2 x 13-inch long strips on each sheet. Smooth dough into logs with moistened fingertips.

Bake about30 to 35 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Place cookie sheets on racks and cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Cut cooled logs on the diagonal into 3/4-inch thick slices using a serrated knife. Place slices on cookie sheets.

Bake for about 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes, until dry and slightly brown. Remove to a rack and cool.


  1. Congrats! First of all on your stepdaughter's marriage and second of all on your successful catering gig! So far I'm quite enamored with everything you've made. Oh my that chevre cheesecake looks awesome.

  2. What a beautiful bride and groom, in a beautiful location. How sweet of you to do this for them. I'm sure it was delicious.

  3. Congratulations! What a beautiful bride and groom and little girl (of course). Everything looks wonderful. Love the bacon wrapepd dates. I bet they were awesome. I always love biscotti. I totally want to try this cheesecake appetizer. I bet that would be great with some fruit along side.

  4. Oh Katy, I've been wondering how your wedding preparations were going!
    What a lovely bride and groom and it sounds like a perfect day with your yummy offerings. I've had the bacon wrapped dates before and they are so good!
    So glad everything went well for all of you.

  5. Congratulations to the wedded couple and to you dear Katy for a job well done!

  6. Congratulations to the bride and's to many wonderful happy, healthy years together.

    Have missed you Katy-everything you made looks wonderful,


  7. Ditto what Carol said. Missed you Katy. Beautiful family. How can the appetizers not be fantastic, you made them with love.

  8. You outdid yourself Katy!! Just perfect...and you lived to tell the tale...bravo...(wedding prep can be stressful).

  9. Congrats to the happy couple! It looks like you pulled off the appetizer part beautifully (and deliciously)!

  10. What fun! I know how thorough you are, and from the research to the execution, you outdid yourself!

  11. What a beautiful couple. Great appetizers. I especially love the sounds of that bacon/fig. Ultimate sweet and salty combo.

  12. mmm your cheesecake looks yummy! good job and I can't wait for the other recipes to come!

  13. I'm thrilled you tried the cheesecake! I'm so glad you liked it, it's one of our favorites. And I love bacon wrapped dates! In fact, I'm doing a demo at a wine and beer festival and I'm doing bacor wrapped appetizers. These are one of three on the menu.
    The picture of the bride and groom is beautiful. I'm glad you had a great time!

  14. Chreve cheescake going onto my Want to Try post!!

  15. Hi Katy! I've missed you but you sure came back with a bang. What beautiful photos and mouth-watering recipes! I'm looking forward to trying each of them. Thanks for sharing your piece de resistance! What an accomplishment! Congratulations to you and the bride and groom.

  16. What a fantastic idea and spread!

  17. Congratulations to the bride and groom!
    You did a fantastic job on your appetizers.

  18. Everything looks so good, the dates with bacon is really different but I know I'd love it.

  19. Lost my first comment but it was mainly about the dates with bacon..I'm intrigued:)

  20. What a great idea for a wedding - and such lovely food! Yum!


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