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Suggestions for Dessert Buffet

Suggestions please for an after dinner dessert buffet for a large gathering 100+. Looking forward to an attractive assortment,easy to serve and of course,tasty --Hoping for a table as varied and tempting as an upscale brunch. I was thinking of a selection of French pastries, Italian cookies,and perhaps tarts and small fancy cakes. Thank you in advance for suggestions of items or bakeries.
Dinner will be the middle of January in the San Francisco.

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  1. Rulli's sour-cherry-filled almond cookies are wonderful.

    Dianda's amaretti and some other items are as good as it gets but still reasonably priced.

    1. For 100+ people, I was thinking the CarĂªme Room at the California Culinary Academy on Polk Street. On Thursdays and Fridays they do a massive buffet, including an extensive dessert buffet. The OP is asking for after dinner, so this is not a perfect solution - I don't think you can pay for just dessert.

      1. Golden Gate Bakeries custard tarts would be a nice addition. They're $1 a pop, but if you went in and ordered a 100, maybe you could get a break. Don't call though, I've tried calling in orders, they have never taken them from me over the phone.

        1. For that many people, I would suggest a chocolate fountain....

          1. in mini, individual petit four sizes:
            fruit tarts
            cream puffs
            lemon mousse
            mousses,chocolate and/or fruit based
            pecan tarts
            fruit skewers with dipping sauce
            creme brulees or flan
            varied flavored cheesecakes
            banana or coconut cream tartlets
            key lime pies
            panna cottas
            fancy bread puddings
            apple or pear or cherry crumbles
            just to name a few...
            as anna suggested above, chocolate fountain is a way to go.
            or maybe a banana fosters station, crepes suzette or cherries jubilee ( all involves flambe'), fancy, dramatic and impressive to many people...) hope this helps.

            1. I second the recommendation for cream puffs. They're easy to eat and if you get it at the right place, just really nice. Also, chocolate and strawberries are always a winner. Have you considered a fountain?

              1 Reply
              1. re: singleguychef

                Not really full creampuffs but profiteroles , mini-creampuffs. Easy to make, can be frozen until needed, taste great.

              2. Thank you so much for suggestions thus far. Where are the best places to find the creams and fruit tarts,petit fours,and napoleons? Have called Emporio Rulli thanks to Robert L.and will check on tarts at Golden Gate. Also love the idea of cream puffs/profiteroles recommendations please for best site to buy and how to store so fresh tasting.

                2 Replies
                1. re: foodseek

                  My own opinion is that cream puffs/profiteroles are really only best the day they are made and don't store well. There is nothing worse than a soggy cream puff. That being said, Patisserie Delanghe makes them ... tho the caveat is that it is not my favorite bakery.

                  The state of petit fours in SF is pretty dismal too. I can't remember one I really like.

                  Someone mentioned cannoli and since you are considering Emporio Rulli for cookies ... do NOT get the mini cannoli here ... Rulli does some fabulous cookies ... the mini cannoli don't qualify.

                  Ok ... the end of the negative stuff. Here's a link to some recs for other Rulli cookies.

                  Rulli cookies that have had favorable mentions: amaretti, chocolate cookies, apricot cookies. meringues. coconut cookies covered with almonds with a raspberry center, marzipan cookies.

                  For tarts, I would suggest Bay breads. I LOVE their lemon tart and I THINK they do mini versions.

                  They also have canneles which might be nice and get a big thumbs up on the board. Their colorful macarons might be nice too.

                  DeLassio's mini-cupcakes are so beautiful ... little works of art ... and as tasty and creative as they are pretty. The caveat is that because they are small they don't keep well. However, Delassio will deliver, so you could arrange to have them delivered on the day of the event.

                  I like some items at Citizen Cake very much. Their pate de fruit are just wonderful. They have these lovely chocolate squares called mendiants which are so pretty and delicious and would look lovely on a dessert table. Not everything is wonderful at Citizen Cake, so I'd do a taste test of anything else.

                  I don't know, some of those tiny XOX truffles here and there on the dessert platter might be nice too.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Oh yeah, Bay Bread. They also have good macarons (French almond-cookie sandwiches).

                2. The only cream puffs place I've heard of is Beard Papa's. They have one at the food court of the new Westfield Center in San Francisco and also at the corner not far from Mission and 4th Streets across from the Sony Metreon. Supposedly all natural. My friends like it, but I haven't tasted it first-hand. I just like the idea of cream puffs, however, for a dessert buffet.

                  Maybe others have a better recommendation?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: singleguychef

                    Beard Papa has FABULOUS crean puffs. If you want to get cream puffs for your dessert buffet, that's the place to get them from.

                    1. re: dleutza

                      Beard Papa's thingies aren't exactly cream puffs. They make a two-layer sandwich of pie dough and puff pastry. In Japan, and ship it frozen. To me the stores smell unappetizingly of frozen pie dough.

                  2. Dianda has real cream puffs.

                    1. For a cream puff that is much more cost efficient the ones from Trader Joe's is pretty decent. Serve it with a nice rich chocolate fountain. Have done it many times for parties and always get asked about the cream puffs. Good luck!

                      1. Whole Foods bakery has delicious "little bites". Each little dessert is a bite or two. We have ordered them to serve as part of a dessert buffet twice, everyone loved them. They make little tarts, mousses, cakes, pies, etc.

                        1. If you can find an old-fashioned Scandanavian bakery, get their Fyrstekake (fear-stuh-kah-kuh -- literally "first cake" -- a/k/a Prince's Cake). This is traditionally the first thing tasted just after midnight on January 1.

                          It's a rich crust -- eggs and butter with just enough flour to hold it together. A layer goes on the bottom, sides and top (glazed), filled with marzipan and a thin layer of intense raspberry jam.

                          It's about the size of a small pie, and it doesn't look like much, but it's totally addictive. The crust balances the marzipan, and the raspberry keeps it from being cloying. A work of genius. Once the guests taste it, 100 of them will inhale 10 fyrstekakes instantly, and they'll be fighting over the crumbs.

                          1. I have been tasting the delightful sweets and creams of the city. Since I wanted a visual as well as tasty offering, I have ordered from :Rulli cookies including meringues
                            macaroons,biscotti,butter cookie with cherry,chocalate cookie,apricot and coconut. From Delanghe-mini versions of napoleons,eclairs,custard puffs,petit fours, and Princess cake,fruit tart,and cappachino caps. And from Dianda cream puffs. And, yes out of the offerings, I would say the petit four is perhaps the weakest but for looks,color,and interest I thought necessary. Perhaps the petit four isn't that tasty after all. I don't remember one I truly liked. My favorite is the Delanghe napoleon and tart. Thanks again for all the help.