The winter sports competitions are a great excuse to cozy up around the TV with friends for a marathon viewing party. Here, we’re sharing 10 snack and dessert recipes inspired by some of the countries competing this month. All together, it’s an ambitious menu. You can make the whole thing (props to you!), get your friends involved and go potluck style, or just pick and choose a few elements you like (ahem, teams you’re rooting for). Let the games begin!
Beaufort, Chive and Black Pepper Gougères
The airy golden cheese puffs — a beloved appetizer in France — are great for snacking. Pile them on a platter and pass around the room.
6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) unsalted butter
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup (5 oz./155 g.) all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g.) shredded Beaufort cheese
2 Tbs. minced fresh chives or fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) water and the butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until the butter has melted completely, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour all at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until a thick paste forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and make a well in the center. Crack 1 egg into the well and beat it, with the wooden spoon or a handheld mixer, into the hot mixture. Repeat with 3 more eggs, beating each egg into the hot mixture before adding the next egg; you should have 1 egg remaining. Add 1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) of the cheese and the chives and mix well.
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. To form each gougère, dip a teaspoon into cold water, then scoop up a generous teaspoon of the batter and push it onto the baking sheet with your fingertips. Repeat, dipping the spoon in the water each time to prevent sticking and spacing the mounds 3 inches (7.5 cm.) apart. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the mounds with it, being careful none drips onto the pan, which can inhibit puffing. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g.) cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake until golden and crunchy, about 15 minutes longer. Pierce each puff with a skewer to release the steam, turn off the oven, and leave the puffs in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 30 gougères.
Blini with Caviar & Sour Cream
These little pancakes topped with luxurious caviar will add a fancy touch to your get-together. Basic black is always appropriate, but you can also mix it up with different flavors and color of caviar, too.
1 tsp. quick-rise active dry yeast
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) warmed whole milk (105°-115°F/40°-46°C)
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg, separated
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sour cream
4 oz. (125 g.) domestic or imported caviar
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the yeast, warm milk, flour, salt, and egg yolk. Stir together to blend and then whisk until smooth. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the batter rise in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
In a perfectly clean bowl, beat the egg white with a balloon whisk until stiff, pointed peaks form when the whisk is lifted. Using a rubber spatula, fold into the batter gently but thoroughly.
Melt about 2 teaspoons of the butter in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat. (Alternatively, use a nonstick griddle, brushing lightly with melted butter.) Ladle 1 rounded tablespoon of the fluffy batter onto the pan for each blini, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook until the bottoms are lightly browned and bubbles have formed on the top, about 3 minutes. Flip the blini over and cook until browned on the second side, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and place in a low (200°F/95°C) oven to keep warm. Cook the remaining blini in the same way, adding butter to the pan as needed. You should have 18-20 small blini. (At this point, the blini can remain in the warm oven for up to 30 minutes before topping and serving.)
To serve, spread about 1 teaspoon sour cream over the top of each blini. Top each with a generous 1/2 teaspoon caviar. Arrange on a platter and serve at once. Serves 6-8.
Artichoke & Lemon Fritto Misto
Begin your meal in the Italian style with crispy morsels known as fritto misto, and serve with a garlicky aioli for dipping.
4 artichokes, each about 1 lb.
3 cups buttermilk
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
Canola oil for frying
Aioli for serving
Working with 1 artichoke at a time, remove the tough outer leaves to expose the light yellow core. Using a knife, trim off the top. Using a spoon, remove the choke. Trim the stem end and cut the artichoke lengthwise into slices 1/4 inch thick. Place in a bowl and add half of the buttermilk to coat. Place the lemon slices in another bowl and coat with the remaining buttermilk.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, semolina flour and the 2 tsp. salt. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, pour in oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Working in batches, drain the artichokes well. Coat with the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Fry the artichokes until golden and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and season with salt. Repeat with the lemons, frying them for 1 to 3 minutes.
Arrange the artichokes and lemons on a warmed platter and serve with aioli. Serves 4 to 6.
Deviled eggs are iconic American fare for barbecues, potlucks, and any kind of casual party. You can spice them up with flavors and seasonings if you like, but this version is as fresh and simple as they come.
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. minced fresh chives, plus more for garnish
1 tsp. minced fresh tarragon, plus more for garnish
1 tsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
Finely grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
To hard-cook the eggs, place them in a saucepan just large enough to hold them. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch and bring just to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and cover. Let stand for 15 minutes. Drain the eggs, then transfer to a bowl of ice water and let cool completely.
Peel the eggs. Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, cut each egg in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks, and set the egg white halves aside. Rub the yolks through a coarse-mesh sieve into a bowl. Add the mayonnaise, chives, tarragon, parsley and lemon zest and whisk together until light and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper and whisk again.
Spoon the yolk mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip. Arrange the egg halves, hollow sides up, on a platter. Pipe the yolk mixture into the egg white halves. (Alternatively, use a teaspoon to fill the egg halves.) Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. (The eggs can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours before serving.)
Sprinkle with additional herbs and serve chilled. Makes 16 deviled eggs.
Smoked Salmon on Toast Points
Norwegian smoked salmon is famous for a reason: it’s creamy, slightly sweet, rich and buttery. Serve it on toasts with an herbed cream cheese, capers and hard-boiled egg.
For the herbed cream cheese:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
1 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
6 slices white or wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed, each cut into 4 triangles
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
6 oz. smoked salmon, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup capers, finely chopped
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and grated
Dill sprigs for garnish
To prepare the herbed cream cheese, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, chives and dill. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat an oven to 350F.
Brush the bread on both sides with the melted butter. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until the toast points are golden and slightly crispy, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
To assemble, spread the herbed cream cheese on the toast points and place 1/2 to 1 whole slice of salmon on top. Garnish with the onion, capers, hard-cooked eggs and dill sprigs. Arrange on a platter.
Alternatively, arrange the toast points and smoked salmon on platters. Place the herbed cream cheese, onion, capers, hard-cooked eggs and dill sprigs in separate serving bowls and let guests assemble their own hors d’oeuvres. Serves 8 to 10.
Vegetable Sushi Rolls
Sushi is great for sharing, and it’s easier to make than you may think. Better yet, get guests involved in the rolling and make it a party activity.
1 cup (7 oz./220 g.) short-grain rice, rinsed under cold running water
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) plus 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. sugar
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed, stemmed, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, drained and cut into thin slivers
Pinch of granulated dashi mixed with 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) hot water
2 Tbs. light soy sauce, plus extra for serving
1 Tbs. mirin
3 sheets toasted nori seaweed, each trimmed into a 7-inch (18-cm.) square
1 tsp. prepared wasabi paste
2 strips cucumber, each 5 inches long by 1/4 inch (6 mm.) wide
2 strips pickled daikon, each 5 inches long by 1/4 inch (6 mm.) wide
Pickled ginger for serving
Place the rice in a saucepan and add 1 1/3 cups (11 fl. oz./340 ml.) water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stir the rice, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until all the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, and place a kitchen towel over the pan. Re-cover the pan and let stand for 15 minutes.
Combine the 1/4 cup vinegar, the 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt, for 2 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer the rice to a wide, shallow nonreactive bowl and use a spatula to spread the edges of the bowl. Slowly pour in the vinegar mixture while slicing the spatula through the rice; do not stir. Cover the rice with a damp kitchen towel; do not refrigerate.
Place the mushrooms in the saucepan and add the dashi, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, mirin, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms.
In a small bowl, stir the 1 tablespoon vinegar into 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) water. Set a bamboo rolling mat on the work surface with a long side facing you. Place a sheet of nori on the mat. Dampen your fingers in the vinegar water, scoop up about 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) of the sushi rice, and spread in a band 7 inches (18 cm.) long and about 2 inches (5 cm.) wide across the middle of the nori. Press a groove about 1/2 inch (12 mm.) wide and 1/4 inch (6 mm.) deep centered along the length of the band of rice. Smear a thin trace of wasabi along the groove. Lay the cucumber strips in the groove. Starting at the edge closest to you, use the mat to roll up the sushi into a tight cylinder about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) in diameter. Lightly moisten the outer edge of the nori to seal the roll. Repeat to make a second roll with the daikon. Then make a third roll the same way with the mushroom strips. Use a sharp knife to cut each roll of sushi into 8 pieces. Serve at once with the pickled ginger and soy sauce. Makes 24 pieces.
Soft Homemade Pretzels
Bring out the beer and mustard! These homemade snacks are soft and salty — and infinitely better than anything you can buy prepared.
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) warm water (110°F/43°C)
1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. olive oil, plus more if needed
3 1/4 cups (16 1/2 oz./515 g.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) baking soda
Coarse salt for sprinkling
Grainy mustard for serving
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the 3 tablespoons oil, the flour, and kosher salt. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed until smooth, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 1 hour.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush the parchment with oil. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 18 inches (45 cm.) long. With each rope positioned horizontally, bring the 2 ends up and toward the center as if forming an oval, cross one end over the other, and press each end into the bottom of the oval to create a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on the prepared pan, spacing them evenly.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Fill a large, wide saucepan with 7 cups (56 fl. oz./1.75 l.) water, stir in the baking soda, and bring to a boil. Gently drop 2 or 3 pretzels at a time into the boiling water (be careful not to overcrowd them). Boil for just under 1 minute, turning once with a large slotted spoon or spatula. Return the boiled pretzels to the baking sheet, top side up.
Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt. Bake until beautifully browned, about 10 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through. Serve warm with big spoonfuls of grainy mustard. Makes 12 pretzels.
What’s better than a pot of warm fondue in the winter? Cut yesterday’s baguette into cubes for decadent dipping.
6 cloves garlic
2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml.) dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 3/4 lb. (875 g.) Gruyere cheese, shredded
3/4 lb. (375 g.) Emmentaler cheese, shredded
2 Tbs. kirsch
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 day-old baguettes or equivalent amount of artisanal nut, herb or whole-grain bread, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) cubes
If using a ceramic fondue pot, set the oven to 250°F (120°C) and put the fondue pot in the oven to warm. If using a metal fondue pot, skip this step. Fill the burner of the fondue pot with denatured alcohol.
Crush the garlic with a garlic press or grate with a grater and put into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or directly into the metal fondue pot. Add the wine and place the pan over high heat. As soon as bubbles form around the edges, after about 2 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cheeses, a little at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts completely into a smooth, creamy mass. Stir in the kirsch, nutmeg and pepper.
To serve, light the burner of the fondue pot and place it on the table. Pour the hot fondue from the saucepan into the warmed ceramic pot, or transfer the metal fondue pot directly to the burner. Set out fondue forks and pass the bread cubes. Serves 4 to 6.
Flaky layered strudel pastries are one of the most traditional foods of Austria. Cut this apple version into slices and serve as dessert.
For the filling:
6 large tart apples, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g.) golden raisins or dried currants
1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) slivered blanched almonds
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, strained
6 sheets filo dough, thawed in the refrigerator if frozen
6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) clarified unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Butter a half-sheet pan.
To make the filling, in a bowl, toss together the apples, granulated sugar, raisins, almonds, lemon zest and lemon juice until evenly mixed.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large, dry work surface. Unroll the filo sheets, lay them on the parchment, and cover them with a kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out. Lay out 1 filo sheet on a separate piece of parchment, brush with a little of the clarified butter, and repeat with the remaining filo sheets, brushing each one with butter. Spoon the apple mixture in a strip along the length of one side, leaving a 2-inch (5-cm.) border. Fold in the short sides and, starting from the border, roll up into a log. Place, seam side down, on the prepared pan.
Bake the strudel until the apples are tender when pierced with a toothpick and the filo is golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the strudel cool slightly in the pan.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm, cut into thick slices. Serves 8.
Maple Pecan Squares
Canadian maple trees yield the sweet, sticky syrup we all love — the maple leaf is even on the country’s flag! These toffeelike pecan bars are easy to serve and perfect for a party.
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
For the filling:
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Carefully line a 9-inch square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, letting the foil extend up the sides and over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil liner.
To make the crust by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar and salt until blended. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas form.
To make the crust with a food processor, in the bowl of the processor, combine the flour, brown sugar and salt and pulse 2 or 3 times to blend. Add the butter and pulse 8 to 10 times until large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas form.
Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust until the edges are lightly browned and the top feels firm when lightly touched, 12 to 17 minutes. Set aside.
To make the filling, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, maple syrup and brown sugar and stir together until the butter melts and the brown sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the cream. Then stir in the pecans. Pour the hot filling over the partially baked crust, spreading it evenly to the edges with an icing spatula.
Bake until the filling is set when you give the pan a gentle shake, 22 to 25 minutes. During baking, the filling will bubble vigorously, then the bubbles will subside and become smaller toward the end of baking. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool until the filling is firm, about 1 1/2 hours.
Using the ends of the foil liner, carefully lift the maple-pecan square in its liner from the baking pan. Run a small knife around the edges of the square to loosen it from the foil. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 25 small squares. The squares will slide easily off the foil. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 25 squares.