Maria Kiesel’s pâté makes an elegant holiday gift presented in a pretty porcelain ramekin with crackers or crispy wafers, like Margaret’s Artisan Flatbread. The buttery, earthy pâté can be spread on crostini, stuffed into Cognac-poached prunes, or even shaped into small balls and deep-fried with sage leaves.
This moist cake, topped by a generous layer of cardamom-spiced, pecan-dotted crumbs, is a fabulous gift. Last year, Kate Heddings brought one to a holiday dinner party for her hosts to serve to overnight guests at breakfast the next day—"even though I wouldn’t be there to eat it!" she says. Along with the cake, she gave the Calphalon pan she baked it in, fresh-ground coffee beans and a glass container of heavy cream.
Kristin Donnelly is devoted to her mother’s one-bowl Bundt cake because of its clove and cinnamon spices and its simplicity. As an exchange student in France, she even paid top dollar for chocolate chips and applesauce at an American market to make it for her host family. Today she adds a kick of black pepper to the batter and serves each slice with a cool-sour dollop of crème fraîche.