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Open House Desert for a crowd

**Dessert** not desert. I'm so ashamed.

I need dessert ideas for a birthday party that will be sort of an open house set-up. So it needs to stay out a while. So I'm less sure about things like cheesecakes, tiramisu etc.

I'll probably make a couple batches of cupcakes.
But I was not sure what else.
We have food allergies and I pretty much have to make everything.

I was thinking of doing fondant, but I've not heard good things about those chocolate fountains. Anyone know differently?

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  1. Along with the cupcakes, I'd do a couple of batches of different bar cookies (depending on how many guests there are). Brownies, blondies, chocolate chip, lemon, snickerdoodle, etc. I almost always do bars instead of drop or roll-out cookies, mainly because I am impatient & would rather just throw one pan in the oven.
    I don't like the fountains, but that is just me.

    1. Desert ideas? like sand? Is this a dessert party or a desert party?
      Fondant/chocolate fountains?
      How about individual fruit tarts, or pies? They are easy to make in muffin tins (regular size, or the small, one-two bite size).
      Some great cookies would be good, too.
      A fruit platter with some dip would be nice as well.

      4 Replies
      1. re: wyogal

        Whoops -argh -I hate when I do that!!
        Yes dessert!

        1. re: DebinD

          It's spelled opposite of logic. I always have to think about it, too!
          But anyways... cupcakes, pies/tarts, cookies, fresh fruit..... plenty.

          1. re: wyogal

            Dessert has two S's because you'd like two servings.

      2. If you can tolerate almonds, try biscotti (mandelbrot). My wife is of Italian heritage, so it's biscotti (twice baked). I took German as a language high school. Two different words for the same thing. The biscotti can sit out for hours without a problem.

        Buon appetito

        1. What about doing some vanilla pound cake, serving slices with a variety of toppings that people can choose, like berries, cherries, caramel, lemon curd, chocolate sauce and whipped cream?

          1. Not knowing what your family's allergies are, let me suggest:

            Pecan Tassies (if nuts are out, there are plenty of fruit recipes)
            Lemon curd in those pre-made filo shells with 3 blueberries on top, glazed with melted raspberry jelly (3 only because the shells are small and the odd number pleases the eye)

            On a slightly savory note, Spanish perada (pear cheese or pear jelly) served with Manchego.

            1. what allergies?

              and do you mean FONDUE instead of FONDANT?

              cheesecake and tiramisu will both be fine for a few hours (that's my opinion and experience).
              an ice cream sundae bar (if you can keep an ice bath) or ice cream sandwiches (with homemade cookies0
              rice pudding in shot glasses
              Sand Tarts
              ...don't know the allergies to be more specific

              10 Replies
              1. re: Emme

                Damn -yes I meant fondue. I was also looking into making a cake with fondant (as I've done before so I actually do know the difference) and it got all screwed up in my head

                1. re: DebinD

                  Unless you're having a wedding, why use fondant? It's a lot of work and it tastes awful. Just make a cake and frost it with something edible.

                  It's impossible to advise anything more specific without knowing what food allergies you have to bake around.

                  1. re: Jay F

                    I use a marshmallow fondant. I have fun with it and my kids like the taste.

                    I'm avoiding all nuts.

                2. re: Emme

                  Having gotten wicked food poisoning from tiramisu that sat out for a few hours, I'd follow your first instinct on that one - mascarpone should not be left out. A baked cheesecake, on the other hand, should be just fine. I have a lemon ricotta cheesecake that I adore that holds just fine in an open-house type setting. You could make it in a rectangular pan and precut cheesecake squares with a little whipped cream or fruit topping on each. Mmmm.

                  1. re: Kitchen Imp

                    Will it work for a cheesecake novice as myself? I'd love to see it. Thanks.

                    1. re: DebinD

                      I think it would. It's the only kind of cheesecake I've ever made, and it's awfully easy. The thing to keep in mind is that this recipe is *not* for a NY-style cheesecake (the kind made with cream cheese and sometimes sour cream). It's a version of Italian ricotta cheese pie, which often has a texture that is simultaneously denser and lighter than NY cheesecakes. It's hard to explain the difference, but I'm attaching a photo so you can see what I mean.

                      Here's a link for the recipe from when I posted it on a different thread a few years back, with some notes about modifications: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3903...

                      1. re: Kitchen Imp

                        That's actually the cheesecake I grew up with (in the caribbean many moons ago). Would you double the recipe for an 11 x 17? And how about a shortbread crust? My graham cracker crusts never slice well. And lastly can it be made in advance and frozen? I'm guessing not -but I can dare to dream.

                        1. re: DebinD

                          To be honest I've never made a larger version, nor have I made it in a rectangular pan, but I'm certain the latter would work. I think in terms of doubling it, I would bake two that are more or less the same volume as a 9" pie pan (if you decide to go rectangular). Doubling it in a single, larger pan could lead to cooking-time problems.

                          I think a shortbread crust would work fine. I've never tried it. Here's an excuse for you to make a cheesecake today, to test it out! Mmmmm.

                          As for freezing, never tried that, either. I don't think I'd risk it. It does taste *much* better if you cook it a day in advance and chill it overnight, though, so maybe just make it a couple days ahead and keep it in the fridge.

                          1. re: DebinD

                            One more thing I forgot to mention - in that post I said to use part-skim ricotta, but since then I've come to the conclusion that it's infinitely better to use whole-milk ricotta and get skim evaporated milk, instead. Of course if you don't feel like cutting calories, go full-fat on both and the texture will be beautifully creamy. But the part-skim ricotta produces a grainier texture than whole-milk ricotta, so I'd definitely go for the latter.

                            1. re: Kitchen Imp

                              Thanks. I probably won't be doing any skim! I'll stick to the original recipe and make a double batch but bake it in 2 pans. Thanks.

                  2. don't be ashamed! Until u mentioned.. I didn't even notice your spelling . The first thing that popped up was a big Trifle. You could make it according to your liking. Everyone loves it,it's easy and it never fails.

                    1. Chocolate truffles
                      Sheet cakes
                      Assorted fruits for those on a diet

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                        pound cake slices w/fruits, (I think the Sara Lee is quite serviceable and a chocolate fondue is always a quite elegant party; have enough spears and little plates to cut down on carpet stains, strawberries, dried apricots/figs, bananas (how about bananas foster in a chafing dish w/pound cake slices? sliced pears and apples w/ a cheese and nut board?

                        1. re: betsydiver

                          Thanks. I'll have to make the pound cake as Sara Lee doesn't have good allergen controls. How would you serve the fondue? The only pot I have is a small one.

                          1. re: DebinD

                            I second the trifle idea! A lovely layered big glass server filled with alternating pound cake, berries, combo of 1/2 creme anglaise & 1/2 whipped cream, and perhaps a drizzle here and there of a great chocolate ganache, or put that on the side to add as guests wish?
                            Festive, and easy, and as cream anglaise is cooked (eggs), not such a worry about leaving out for a few hours. Yum!

                            1. re: gingershelley

                              I'd love to do this myself. Any particular recipe for creme anglaise that you especially like?

                              1. re: Kitchen Imp


                                My basic recipe is 1 cup whole milk; 3 Tbsp. sugar, 3 egg yolks, 1/2 vanilla bean to each 2 cups milk.
                                Depending on how much I think I need, I just use this ratio.

                                Usually, 2 C. milk, 1/2 vanilla bean scraped into milk while being warmed. 2 cups milk would mean 6 egg yolks.. so whisk those, then add sugar a bit at a time. Wisk egg yolks/sugar vigorously for about 5 minutes until pale and thick, then put about 1/2 cup warm milk into egg mixture to temper. Put the egg mixture back into the warmed milk, and whisk - if your a novice, you would want a double boiler set up, if an expert, go for heavy pot and low heat. Warm mixture slowly over heat constantly until it begins to thicken, taking care to get into corners and all over bottom of the saucepan. I use a silicone spatula to augment my whisk to make sure I get full coverage. When it thickens enough to leave a trail in the mixture, turn it into a large stainless or glass bowl over a bowl of ice. Gently stir until cooled and further thickened. Voila!
                                Can flavor with various liquers, like frambois, grand Marnier, ameretto, etc. depending on what your serving it with. Or fine fruit zest, or both:)