Last night I hosted some friends at home and it got me thinking about cocktails and canapés to serve before dinner. One of my favorite (and fastest) combinations to serve is Pear Bellinis with Gougéres or Mustard Batons. They are also great “make ahead” hors d’oeuvres.
The Pear Bellinis are easy peasy: Just mix 1/3 pear nectar with 2/3 Prosecco or Champagne. They can also be made as a “mocktail” with sparkling cider in lieu of bubbly. Sometimes I’ll slip a sprig of rosemary in there, too.
For the Gougéres, I use Dorie Greenspan’s recipe which comes from her fantastic book, “Around My French Table.” She’s coming out with a new cookbook later this month (you can pre-order it now!) called “Baking Chez Moi” and while I’m not a huge baker, her Instagram feed has me rethinking this entirely.
Back to the gougéres. They are light, fluffy and the perfect pairing with bubbly for a pre-dinner cocktail. You can freeze them if you don’t use them the same day, but I have had some bad luck trying to revive them if you keep them frozen too long (burnt, flat and less flavorful). In my opinion they are best the day they are made (or frozen up to 3-4 weeks, max) and most especially enjoyed warm fresh from the oven.
Another one of Dorie’s fantastic recipes is for Mustard Batons. If you’re not a mustard fan, you can swap the filling for olive tapenade, jam, or a variety of other spreads you might enjoy. Contrary to the gougéres, I HAVE had luck in preparing these in advance, freezing them and serving them down the road. They are a huge crowd pleaser. I like to serve them in a tall glass wrapped in parchment paper.
Next up on the blog… more about the meal itself!