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Favorite/impressive potluck dessert?

I'm looking for some good dessert ideas for a potluck. Something that's more interesting/unusual than the typical apple pie, pumpkin pie, brownie, etc.

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  1. Get real key lime juice and use the Joy of Cooking recipie for key lime pie. I use two yolks for extra richness. Extra points if you use a flaky crust instead of the graham crusts from the store.

    Don't forget to chill before serving.

    1. I have yet to meet a person who doesn't love these butterscotch cashew bars. Plus they bake in a 9x16, but are dense, so you can cut them into almost fudge-sized bites and serve a lot of people. If it's warm, they will soften and stick together, so it's good to cut them and wrap in pieces of parchment or cupcake liners.


      1 Reply
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I know how to use the search function and I've read all those thread already. Thanks

          1. re: flzhang

            i wasn't implying that you didn't know how to search. you didn't specify in your OP that you had already looked through the existing threads so i assumed you hadn't, and i figured i'd go ahead and pull them up for you since they contain tons of ideas...but clearly my efforts would be better served and appreciated elsewhere. mea culpa.

            1. re: flzhang

              So nothing in those threads interested you? Is there something more specific you'd like--it would help us narrow down a suggestion, especially if none of those hit the spot. I'm hard pressed to come up with an idea that hasn't been mentioned in one of those threads.

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

              those links were very helpful; th much. one of them includes using toffutti better than cream cheese. i got some of this recently, based on pos. comments from some CHs, but i don't care for it by itself. ghg, what do you think of it flavorwise in recipes?

            3. a large trifle was well received at my last office gathering. I used Joy's trifle from allrecipes.com .

              2 Replies
              1. re: danionavenue

                +1 to danion...most trifles are just gorgeous to look at, easy to prepare and very much devoured.

                1. re: danionavenue

                  I agree about trifle and urge everyone to run right out and buy a trifle dish because ANYTHING you put in it looks spectacular. If you feel like it you can make lovely custards and flavor them with rum and layer them with meringue and whipped cream and pineapple and homemade sponge cake. Or if you are pressed for time you can buy sponge layers and layer them with strawberries and whipped cream or in an emergency even Cool-Whip. You can't go wrong because anything layered in a trifle dish is drop-dead gorgeous. You can also use a trifle dish for a layered salad eg light green lettuce, dark green spinach, orange carrot, red tomatoes etc.

                2. Tiramisu. If you want to keep the cost down, make it with a mixture of ricotta and cream cheese (blended together until smooth) instead of mascarpone (which is traditional but expensive). It transports well and actually needs to be assembled a day ahead.

                  1. I brought mini apple pies to a pot-luck concert. I used pre-made dough rolled up in a box from the cooler section. Then used a biscuit cutter and cut out rounds. Half using the larges, and half using one smaller (the tops). I plopped them into mini muffin tins, filled, and applied the tops. Cut slits in and baked. They turned out really, really cute, and folks loved them. I added a small wedge of cheddar on top with a toothpick. And, they were easy to eat in the hand.
                    You could do something similar like an interesting pie filling in a wonton skin, fried.
                    A GREAT cookie is always nice.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: wyogal

                      I like your idea and will do it using mincemeat. In England we bought lovely little mincemeat tarts like that, sold by the pound as "mince pies". Mini size is a great idea as they would be rich.

                    2. Pumpkin Gingerbread Triffle is impressive and goes over very well at my office functions.

                      5 Replies
                        1. re: vafarmwife

                          Wow that sounds wonderful! Do you have a specific recipe you wouldn't mind sharing? Thanks

                          1. re: Island

                            You can either use gingerbread or crushed ginger snaps. You can make gingerbread from scratch or use gingerbread mix.
                            2 packages (14-1/2 ounces each) gingerbread cake mix
                            1 package (4.6 ounces) cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
                            3 cups 2% milk
                            1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
                            1/2 cup packed brown sugar
                            1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

                            Prepare and bake gingerbread according to package directions, using two greased 9-in. round baking pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
                            Meanwhile, for pudding, in a large saucepan, combine pudding mix and milk; stir until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Combine pumpkin and brown sugar; stir into pudding.
                            In a 4-qt. glass serving bowl, crumble one gingerbread cake; gently press down. Top with half of pudding mixture and whipped topping. Repeat layers. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Yield: 25 servings (1 cup each).

                            1. re: vafarmwife

                              Vafarmwife thank you for taking the time to post your recipe! Triffle never appealed to me until I saw this because I love gingerbread. Can't wait to try it.

                              1. re: Island

                                You're welcome. You also can add some pumkpin pie spice or just cinammon, nutmeg, ginger or cloves to your liking to the pudding and pumpkin. You can also use butterscotch pudding instead of vanilla.

                                I made this using crushed gingersnaps and it was good to, but I love gingerbread too.

                        2. One of my favs!>>You can bake this just before the dinner or take this to the party and it can bake while you have dinner.

                          As decadent as it gets!! s. 8- 12

                          6 (TRADER JOE’S) ALMOND or Plain CROISSANTS (20 OU.), cubed
                          6-8 OU. DARK 72% CHOCOLATE, chopped
                          (up to twice the size of chocolate chips)Tr J's (Caillebaut is best)
                          3/4 C. TOASTED ALMONDS,skin on or off, roughly chopped
                          4 OU. ALMOND PASTE, chopped
                          1/2- 3/4C. (TRADER JOE’S) DRIED TART MONTMERENCY CHERRIES or Dried Cranberries
                          and/or Candied Orange Peel
                          6 LG EGGS
                          2 LG EGG YOLKS
                          1 C. SUGAR
                          1 ½ C. HEAVY CREAM
                          2 2/3 C. WHOLE MILK
                          1/4- 1/2 C. BRANDY
                          2 TSP. VANILLA
                          ½ TSP. KOSHER SALT
                          2-4 T. COLD UNSALTED BUTTER, chopped

                          Cube croissants, spread out on sheet pan and air dry for a day or toast lightly in
                          250 degree oven ½- 1 hr. Spread evenly in a buttered or pam’d 9 x 12” non-metallic baking dish. Distribute almonds, chocolate, almond paste and cherries in the pan, tucking in with the cubes.
                          Whisk egg yolks and eggs til combined, add liquids, sugar and salt. Pour over the dish, pushing down on the croissant mixture to submerge in the liquid. Dot with butter. Chill 1 hr- 24 hrs.

                          Bake at 350 degrees, 40 minutes until lightly browned and custard is set. Cut and serve napped with vanilla crème anglaise.

                          Substitute for additions (nuts, fruit, chocolate, brandy) or milk for cream as you like.

                          1. Paula Dean's Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding
                            Carrot cake
                            Date bars
                            are some favorite desserts at recent potlucks I've been to.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sunflwrsdh

                              i am excited to try Paula's Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding for the Thanksgiving crowd this year!

                            2. Pumpkin tiramisu is a little different.

                              This one uses amaretto (yum!), but there are versions of this using rum, bourbon, whatever your heart desires. This is the only one I've ever had, but there are even eggnog versions out there.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mlou72

                                +1 for tiramisu, although I am a purist so it must be made with mascarpone and no non-traditional flavorings. The only drawback IMO is that it does not have the best looking presentation. It can actually look kind of yucky in the pan, but I guess that leaves more for those in the know :)
                                A couple of other great dessert recipes I have been relying on for YEARS:
                                Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon sour cream sauce
                                White chocolate/Raspberry cheesecake
                                Black and white chocolate tart with macaroon crust

                                I had a friend in college who used to make those butterscotch cashew bars katecm mentioned. They are ridiculously good--I still think about them and that was a looonnng time ago!

                              2. My man makes a killer tres leche flan. I'm not crazy about sweets, but I could suck that whole thing down by myself. Of course, I usually don't get to it because I'm being tackled by other guests trying the same.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: linguafood

                                  solution: get him to take out some of the master batch and bake it in a ramekin just for you. then you can have it hidden somewhere the guests won't see, for your own secure reward!!