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Help! Need dessert for 25 people!

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Okay, so I was invited to a dinner this evening in San Francisco in a private home, and when I accepted the invitation I was asked if I could bring dessert for 25 people!

While I'm an excellent cook, I don't have time to make anything, so I'll have to purchase something to bring. :-(

PLEASE send me acceptable suggestions! (Oh, and I have NO IDEA what the menu is!)

Thanks!

Saucy Girl

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  1. That's a lot to ask of somebody! I would bring either fresh fruit and good chocolate (or cheese) or else good vanilla ice cream and a bottle of liqueur to pour on top.

    1. i'm not sure if you should post this on the SF board to get local suggestions for where to go...? also, i'm sure the hosts wouldn't mind if you asked them what was on the menu to be sure you bring something that will work well with the rest of the meal. i'd call them to inquire.

      anyway, while i like corneygirl's idea, and a fruit & cheese plate would be my first instinct for a smaller group, it would be extremely expensive to get enough for 25 people.

      the ice cream sounds like a more viable plan, though i'd also toss in at least one non-dairy option in case there are people with allergies or lactose intolerance. how about an assortment of sorbets? you could accompany them with some sort of cookie or biscuit, though i'd hold off on the decision until i knew the menu. biscotti or shortbread wouldn't necessarily be the best dessert for an Asian or French meal ;)

      1. I'm not sure about the ice cream idea - who knows if the hosts freezer would be able to accomodate it?
        Is there a local bakery where you could get assorted mini pastries?
        That would be my suggestion.

        3 Replies
        1. re: NellyNel

          Miniature pastries was going to be my suggestion, but for 25, that could get expensive. What kind of host asks such a thing of a guest is what I'd like to know!?!?

          1. re: ttoommyy

            I agree!
            Yikes!
            And I just re-read the OP - she was invited to dinner "this evening" - So really the host did not give the OP much time to come up with something!
            Sheesh!

          2. re: NellyNel

            I doubt you are the only one bringing dessert so I would not really worry about people being lactose intolerant, etc... I think pastries/cookies from a really nice bakery is a great idea. If there is anyplace nearby that has award winning chocolate chip cookies. Everyone loves them (well almost everyone!) and they are inexpensive. I would not bring anything that could melt and I agree fruit/cheese could get expensive.

          3. Why not bring a trifle? If you can't bake cake that goes in it, a bakery might have unfrosted cake layers or maybe some spongecake or angel food cake that you could break up and add to a large punch bowl or disposible pan. Top with layers of instant pudding and some fruit like berries and whipped cream and you're set. Once you have the cake, it'll take less than 30 minutes to throw together.

            If you don't have time for that, I'd just pick up about four apple pies at a bakery and call it a day. Personally, I wouldn't worry about what's on the menu; they could have specified when they asked you to bring dessert. I also wouldn't cater to individual tastes; I'd bring one dessert, but that's just me.

            Kind of reminds me of this thread, except you were asked to bring the dessert: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/657999

            3 Replies
            1. re: Cherylptw

              Thanks much everyone! I love all of your suggestions. Here in San Francisco gourmet cupcakes are very popular, however they are SO pricey, so I ended up re-arranging my schedule so I can work from home this afternoon and I'm in the process of baking fudge brownies with nuts, and a blackberry cobbler!

              To your point, the hostess didn't give me any time to prepare (she invited me last night & this morning when I replied she asked me to bring dessert), and she hung up before I could ask what the faire is!

              So, since it is such short notice, I'm not going to worry about nut allergies (the nuts are clearly visible on the top of the brownies), and there's cobbler as a back up. My biggest dilemma was 25#, but this is the fastest solution I could come up with & not lose my shirt with pricey (store-bought) items.

              I laughed out loud at the thread about the guest who was asked to bring the main course! OMG! That put it all into perspective!

              Thanks for the marvelous suggestions, my fellow ChowHounds! bon appetit!

              ;-)

              1. re: saucy_girl

                Wow!
                Sounds fabulous Saucy!
                I'm sure your home-made goodies will be better than any store bought stuff! (maybe that's why you were asked to bring dessert!)

                Great stuff - enjoy!

                1. re: saucy_girl

                  Ha! I was going to say that you can rarely go wrong with brownies, and there you were, already there.
                  And what with the last-minute invite/demand I wouldn't worry about the nuts either. you were very kind to have a cobbler backup.

              2. How did it go?

                Sounds a bit rude of your host tbh, but I hope everyone liked your desserts!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Soop

                  Success!

                  There wasn't a morsel left, and several people asked me for the recipes, too.

                  The host's meal was very delicious and the evening was lots of fun. And they were very appreciative (& complimentary) of the desserts, which made the effort all worth it.

                  Thanks again for all of your suggestions and support!

                  :-) bon appetit

                  1. re: saucy_girl

                    Awesome. I love it when a plan comes together :)

                    I'll have to start baking again after a few months off. if I make anything, it's always too much for me and Donna to eat between us, so I always end up bringing along extras. I think you tend to get more compliments for desserts than anything else.