And once the invitation has been issued (usually a written invitation but sometimes just a phone call, but never an email one) I start going through cookbooks for dishes for the party.
And then, I plan the table including linens, china and flowers.
The Thursday after Christmas, I invited the group I refer to as "The Cape Codders" to lunch. The four of us (and our husbands) rented a house on Cape Cod for a week in September. We had a grand time during that week for we explored the Cape from one end to the other and we "ladies" did a day in Sandwich seeing the historical sites, antiquing a bit and enjoying an elegant afternoon tea.
And it was the first time since September, we had all gotten together. We had a lot of visiting and catching up to do.
We ate and visited. Talked about the good times on Cape Cod and the fun day that we had in Sandwich. We remembered all the lobster we had eaten including the 12-pounder. We talked of Provincetown and the Whaling Museum. It was a fun afternoon and all too soon everyone bid their good-byes.
* 1 pie crust (either your own or the refrigerated Pillsbury ones)
* 1 1/2 c. sugar
* 1 whole cinnamon stick
* flour, for dusting
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1/2 c. creme fraiche (if available)
Bring 1/2 cup water and the berries, sugar and cinnamon to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring, until the berries pop, about 2 minutes. Drain in a sieve set over a bowl. Return strained liquid and cinnamon stick to pan; reserve berries in a bowl. Simmer liquid over medium-low heat until thickened, about 15 minutes. Pour syrup over berries; let cool. Discard cinnamon.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a 9- inch round tart pan with a removable bottom (or a regular pie tin if you don't own a tart pan). Trim edges, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang. Tuck edges of dough under to create a double thickness and press firmly again sides of pan. Press bottom of dough firmly into tart pan. Chill in freezer 20 minutes (or if you're like me I never have room in the freezer so I refrigerate for 40 minutes).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Remove pie weights and foil. Let cool completely.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Fill tart shell with cranberry mixture and syrup from bowl. Bake until syrup is only slightly runny and berries begin to brown, 45 to 60 minutes. (if pastry edges brown too quickly, cover with a band of foil).
Meanwhile, beat cream to soft peaks. Beat in creme fraiche (if you have it); refrigerate. Let tart cool on rack until cool enough to remove from tin. Serve warm, with whipped cream.
NOTE: I made 4 individual tarts instead of one big one. I am rather fond of individual desserts!
Martha Meinsen Scott is a weekly columnist for the Fort Scott Tribune. She may be reached by e-mail at linderhof firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Tribune by calling (620) 223-1462. Visit her blog at linesfromlinderhof blogspot.com.