Dessert for a crowd?

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Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Jenise » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:03 pm

Big crowd, like 80 people.

I'm cooking for a fundraiser Saturday week (on the 18th), an annual event referred to as "the fish fry" because once upon a time, the meal was indeed fried fish where the fresh fish was supplied free by someone's son. We no longer have that available and I'm not about to deep fry on a mass basis anyway, so I'm turning it into a salmon bake. The whole salmon filets will be poached with a smokey onion butter in little foil boats on an outdoor grill, and we'll serve it with a potato salad made with just boiled potatoes, mustard oil, vinegar and green onions and a cabbage slaw. In addition, I've got to come up with a dessert.

I just hate making desserts, and for a crowd it's even less fun. Whatever we do has to be something we can plate in the kitchen and hold while everyone's eating their main course food. It's summer, so shortcake comes to mind. The biscuits can be easily made in advance, and some kind of fresh local berry will be available. Raspberries and strawberries are on the way out, but blackberries and blueberries should be doing well then. But how do we make that a little more special? Use a cake instead of biscuits? (Lemon?) Flavor the whipped cream? Or do something else altogether? Don't want to resort to ordering from Costco, but I do need to keep it as simple as possible.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Carl Eppig » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:12 pm

Do cookies!
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:44 pm

I , too, like the cookie idea Jenise. Make ahead, you can fuss at home and not at the last minute. Berries can get messy with that many people.

Here is one from Martha Stewart that is excellent. My interior decorator/contractor made these for a clients wedding and they were a hit. I made them for a crowd and they were a hit. Serve with a good berry ice cream,
if you still want to do berries. This recipe makes 54 cookies, so you have a good start right off.

http://radiatortunesblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/coconut-thumbprint-cookies-with-caramel.html
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Jenise » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:23 pm

Oh my god, those look fab! I'd kill for those myself, but the neighborhood bunch is going to need something bigger and messier to feel they got their money's worth, and I don't want to deal with time-sensitive last minute service like ice cream. The Clubhouse just has a small household fridge with top freezer, and that will be full of ice.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Rahsaan » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:44 pm

80 is a lot.

We never cook on that scale, although tiramisu is one easy 'crowd-pleaser' for our scale of entertaining (5-15 people). Prepare ingredients, mix in big trays, etc.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Jenise » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:16 pm

Rahsaan wrote:80 is a lot.

We never cook on that scale, although tiramisu is one easy 'crowd-pleaser' for our scale of entertaining (5-15 people). Prepare ingredients, mix in big trays, etc.


Hmmm...that IS a good idea, if the ingredients are available locally and not too expensive. (Lady fingers and mascarpone could be dicey.)
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Susan B » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:56 pm

I know that both the lady fingers and mascarpone are both available at Haggen and others, but the cheese is pricey. I have purchased it from $14.00 to $18.00 per pound and one pound is needed for my recipe that serves 10 - 12 (9 x 12 pan). At a dinner at home that would only serve 8 as seconds would be offered.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:02 pm

How about baba au rhum? Bake the plugs a day or two ahead; a little staleness is easily overcome by the rum, syrup, and schlag. As each plate goes by, hit it with a couple pieces of preserved rinds, a dash of cinnamon, and give each table a plate of some chocolate nibble.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Barb Downunder » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:03 am

My SIL often cooks for the rowing club and she makes up big pans of sticky date pudding, can be kept warm easily, portioned up ahead,
pour over your hot butterscotch sauce and maybe cream on the side for those who like it.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Christina Georgina » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:49 am

Dense cake/s made in a mini muffin tin --different flavors--2 to a plate with a fruit sauce swirled decoratively on the plate- garnished with a few candied nuts or berries or sliced strawberries. Pretty easy, do ahead and last minute plate. Easy to jazz up with 'injections" of flavors/fillings in the middle and lots of room for decorating the final presentation.
All the easier if you use the paper liners- a la cupcakes but not sure you are looking for casual.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:25 am

Bread pudding with rum-soaked raisins, topped with a butter sauce and whipped cream.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Jenise » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:49 am

Christina Georgina wrote:All the easier if you use the paper liners- a la cupcakes but not sure you are looking for casual.


Good point. This is going to be VERY casual. Paper plates, buffet service.


Susan, re the mascarpone: That was definitely the case the one time I tried to find mascarpone when I first moved here nine years ago. ONLY the Food Coop carried it, and the price was prohibitive for a group event. And since the purpose of this event is to raise funds, I do need to keep my per-plate cost down.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Carrie L. » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:02 am

What about mini free-form berry or peach pies, using ready made pie crust? They could be made ahead and then stacked with waxed paper in between. You could serve with a squirt of canned whipped cream or a mini scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Jenise » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:14 pm

Carrie L. wrote:What about mini free-form berry or peach pies, using ready made pie crust? They could be made ahead and then stacked with waxed paper in between. You could serve with a squirt of canned whipped cream or a mini scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Love that idea! But in the meantime, I've been granted the gift of a volunteer Dessert Captain (whew!) to take this off my hands, and she's going to do lemon shortcake (sheet cakes) with a fresh blackberry topping and a whipped lemon cream. Will be delicious, very easy to serve and cost under $1 per serving, which is where I need to be.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Carrie L. » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:08 pm

Jenise wrote:
Carrie L. wrote:What about mini free-form berry or peach pies, using ready made pie crust? They could be made ahead and then stacked with waxed paper in between. You could serve with a squirt of canned whipped cream or a mini scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Love that idea! But in the meantime, I've been granted the gift of a volunteer Dessert Captain (whew!) to take this off my hands, and she's going to do lemon shortcake (sheet cakes) with a fresh blackberry topping and a whipped lemon cream. Will be delicious, very easy to serve and cost under $1 per serving, which is where I need to be.


The PERFECT solution. :) That's great.
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Re: Dessert for a crowd?

Postby Jenise » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:08 pm

Carrie, I am SO relieved, believe me. I can forget about all of it until it's time to cut and serve. JOY.
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