It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when parties abound and all manner of merriment ensues. Many of us are fearless when it comes to entertaining a crowd, but for others, being tasked with hosting this year’s annual gathering of friends and family may sound more overwhelming than exciting.

But fear not! Hosting a wonderful holiday party doesn’t have to be stressful. We asked Emery Whalen and 2009 Louisiana Cookin’ Chef to Watch Brian Landry, the founders of QED Hospitality, for their advice on throwing the perfect holiday bash. Emery and Brian are the powerhouse duo behind The Pontchartrain Hotel’s Jack Rose, a restaurant dedicated to putting fun back into fine dining and the home of the Mile High Pie. 

Emery and Brian know that fantastic food and drink are central to all Louisiana festivities. So, they suggested focusing on these essentials: appetizers, desserts, and cocktails. All of their recipes can be prepped ahead of time, leaving you time to relax and enjoy being with your guests. By combining these eye-catching, delectable recipes and a bit of party math, you’ll be keeping spirits bright throughout your soirée!

Photography by Randy P. Schmidt.
Baked Alaska
Yields: 8-10 Servings
You can make this recipe as easy or as hard as you want. There are three components: vanilla ice cream, pound cake, and meringue. Easiest version: Buy the pound cake, ice cream, and meringue powder. Hardest version: Make the pound cake, ice cream, and a Swiss meringue all from scratch. Don’t forget to make room in your freezer in advance!
  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder*
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 pound frozen pound cake, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 2 pints vanilla ice cream**
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until glossy and smooth. Beat in meringue powder. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange a layer of pound cake slices on prepared pan.
  3. Using a knife dipped in warm water, cut ice cream out of container, and place on top of pound cake slices. Cover ice cream with remaining pound cake slices. (You can tear slices into pieces to completely cover ice cream.)
  4. Using a spatula, spoon meringue on top of pound cake, completely covering dome with swirls and peaks. Freeze until ready to serve.
  5. Position oven rack to allow room for Baked Alaska, and preheat oven to broil.
  6. Broil until meringue is light golden brown. Using a knife dipped in warm water, slice cake, and serve.
*Cream of tartar may be substituted.

**We used Breyers.

Kitchen Tip: Separate eggs while they are still cold—it is way easier!



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