Sparkling wine adds elegance to a brunch or outdoor afternoon party. With delicate treats to accompany the cocktails, taking brunch or lunch al fresco becomes a real occasion.

Fountain of Cocktails

2 bottles Prosecco or other sparkling wine

1 quart blueberry juice

1 quart peach nectar

1 quart apple juice

1 quart cranberry juice

1 quart orange juice

1 quart pineapple juice

— In a large pitcher, mix together the blueberry juice and peach nectar. In another large pitcher, mix together the apple and cranberry juices. In another large pitcher, mix together the orange and pineapple juices.

Fill glasses with your choice of juice and top with sparkling wine.

Pear Puffs

Total Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 16 puffs

1 egg

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon semisoft cheese with garlic and fine herbs

2/3 cup canned diced pears, drained and thinly sliced

— Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. For egg wash, in a small bowl, lightly whisk together egg and 1 teaspoon water. Set aside.

Unroll puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll puff pastry into a 14-by-10-inch rectangle. Cut into 16 3-by-2-inch rectangles.

Spread 1 teaspoon of the semisoft cheese in a middle of a pastry rectangle. Top with 2 teaspoons of the pears. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash around the perimeter of the puff pastry rectangle. Bring corners of the pastry to the center and pinch seams together. Repeat to make 16 puffs. Arrange puffs, seam sides up, on prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and brush tops with remaining egg wash.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Prosecco Cake

Total Time: 60 minutes

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Cook Time: 45minutes

1 (16-ounce) box pound cake mix

2 eggs

1/2 stick butter, softened

1 teaspoon orange zest

1/3 cup Prosecco or other sparkling wine

1/3 cup orange juice

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup sparkling wine

— Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray and dust lightly with flour.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for cake. Mix on medium speed until well incorporated. Pour into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until top is golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack placed on a sheet pan.

To make glaze, put confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and slowly beat in the prosecco until consistency is thick but pourable. Pour glaze over top of cakes and allow to drip down sides. Let sit for 5 minutes to set.

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee

(Stellina di Notte)

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