Potluck Parties: "Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations"

EVENT: The Naptime Chef’s Book Launch Party
VENUE: The World Wide Web
TYPE: Virtual Potluck
DESSERT: Praline Pumpkin Pie

We were invited by The Naptime Chef to participate in a “virtual” dinner party with food bloggers and writers, to celebrate a book she’s helping to release, Park Avenue Potluck CELEBRATIONS.
It’s the sequel to the best-selling cookbook, Park Avenue Potluck, and it comes out today. Created and authored by members of The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), the new cookbook is about celebrating with food, and so it has a compilation of sensational recipes, entertaining ideas, party-planning tips, and personal anecdotes from New York’s most celebrated hostesses. Award-winning food writer and contributing New York Times columnist, Florence Fabricant has edited each recipe, as well as contributed to the book.

Phoebe and I took our time getting our feet wet in the virtual world. When we started Big Girls, Small Kitchen, our intent was simply to record the food we made – in photos and in stories – and allow readers to feel as though they were our guests. Though this idea is surely virtual, we liked to think that we were focusing on the realness of the food, the fact that we were actually cooking and eating and sharing with friends. It’s only more recently that we’ve expanded our social circle to include virtual friends, those that we’ve made with the help of Internet’s tools: Twitter, online food communities, and blog cross-posting.

As soon as we did get involved, we realized how productive and, yes, real, the blog community could be. So when The Naptime Chef invited us to participate in this inter-blog potluck, we were excited to make our friendship official at the virtual table. Phoebe first “met” Kelsey on Twitter, soon after we created the BGSK account, and soon the two were @-ing away, chatting about restaurants and summer activities on Martha’s Vineyard. Now, we tweet with lots of people, but we’re friendly enough with Kelsey to be invited to the “dinner parties” she throws.

In addition to great food shared amongst “friends,” this virtual dinner party will be supporting the fight against cancer, and that’s the other 3/4 of why we’re participating (the first 1/4 being our general enthusiasm about the online world): a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Park Avenue Potluck CELEBRATIONS will provide funding for The Society’s patient care, research and education programs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. For the rest of the contributions to the party meal, check out The Naptime Chef’s post about the entire potluck, which will be up early this evening.

From our kitchen, always ready for a virtual party, to yours,



Praline Pumpkin Pie
Makes 12 servings

This is the ultimate fall pie – pumpkin on the bottom, pecan on the top. It satisfies the craving for creaminess and spiciness with the pumpkin and for caramel and nuttiness with the pecan praline topping.


½ recipe Pastry for Pies (I used a recipe from Christopher Kimball’s, The Dessert Bible, but go with your preferred crust)
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned, frozen, or freshly cooked unseasoned pumpkin puree
¾ cup granulated sugar
1¾ cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dark rum
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out the pastry and line a 9-inch glass pie pan. Trim the edges and crimp with a fork. Line the pastry with a sheet of foil and pile in pastry weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove the foil liner and weights and bake for another 10 minutes, until lightly colored.

Remove from the oven and cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Brush the bottom of the crust with the jam. Place the pumpkin puree in a large bowl and beat in the granulated sugar, 3/4 cup of the cream, the milk, eggs, rum, spices, and salt. Pour into the prepared crust, place in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes longer, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack.

Preheat the broiler. Combine the brown sugar, pecans, and melted butter in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the pie. Cover the crimped pastry edge with a strip of foil and broil for a few minutes, just until the topping bubbles, watching carefully (note from Cara: REALLY carefully) so it does not burn. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Whip the remaining 1 cup cream and serve it with the pie.

Posted in: Potluck Parties
  • Kelsey B.

    You girls rock! The pie looks fantastic!

  • Jill

    congrats girls! this is awesome. yum yum :)

  • Kate

    This looks amazing. Might it make an appearance at this year's Thanksgiving? As always, I love reading your posts, and this one is particularly inspiring!

  • keenanevans

    this is a great story! congrats girls xx

  • Jennifer

    I must agree that Kelsey is one the best people I have met in social media/online. Glad to be a part of the potluck with you

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