Kosher dessert for shabbat?
re: the mess
Afraid that's not always true.
For some, the food made outside the home must be certified for them to even touch it. Meaning it must be Kashrut, on top of whatever vegan claims they make.
Again, it depends on how the individuals observes the Kosher laws as there are many variations. Some just wing it, and Vegan is enough restriction while others wouldn't want it in their home. In the Bay Area, there aren't a lot of strict Kosher options, so you'll encounter more modern approaches...but there are endless variations. Safest thing to do is get a Kosher wine.
Chowhound has a great Kosher section for additional answers, by the way.
re: the mess
To an orthodox Jew, it's not just the ingredients that matter. The environment in which the food is prepped also is a factor.
For example, to be certified kosher, there have to be safeguards so that an employee couldn't bring in non-kosher items in the area where food is prepped.
I wonder if hallal certification is similar. Anyone know?
Is it a Kosher home?
If not, you can bring anything. A honey cake is traditional suggestion and works for non-European Jews as well. A poppy seed cake or streudel from Cinderella Bakery would be nice. Rugelach are easy to find and pretty safe. This is assuming they are European Jews.
If it happens that they are a Kosher home, then you'll have no way of guessing which of the many variations their denomination, and particular family keeps. You can visit any one of these places: http://sfjcf.org/resources/guide/chap... but even that isn't 100% safe. It may be that they only trust certain types of certification.
Chances are they either not so devout to care, and will like any nice dessert, or they're used to this situation, and will be very forgiving if you make a mistake.
436 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94118
In my house, any dessert we like is a good dessert for Shabbat. Recent desserts have been roasted pears with coconut milk "ice cream", chocolate pudding and fruit, ice cream sundae bars, any kind of bundt cake, brownies, fruit tarts, etc.
Grand Bakery is in Oakland. Their challah is great, and I like a few of their cookies, but their cakes and such aren't great.
The most important thing for you is to find out if the dessert needs to be from a kosher certified location (e.g. Grand Bakery, or many packaged cookies, ice creams, etc. that you buy in a regular grocery store), or if it can be from anywhere (then you can make or buy anything you like, as long as it doesn't have lard or suet or something in it). Also, must the dessert be pareve (completely free of dairy), or is dairy based okay?
I hope you have a delicious meal!
3264 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
I'd love to hear pickup recommendations from other hounds, but I suggest to you the blog http://www.couldntbeparve.com/ - the blogger is a rabbi's wife and has come up with a number of really successful parve desserts. I adore them because I'm lactose intolerant, and love having a plethora of eggs-ok, no dairy desserts.
Does the dessert need to come from a Kosher-certified source, or can it be just de facto kosher with a small k?