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Good 4th of July dessert to serve with my menu?

bythebay Jun 2, 2012 09:15 PM

I'm thinking of having a little outdoor 4th of July get together. My idea so far has been for a salad, maybe romaine with blue cheese (grilled or not I'm not sure yet), then some sandwiches with provolone, roasted red pepper pesto, portabello, with arugula or spinach, and some watermelon, and then a dessert. I can't figure out what dessert would go well with the above and also feel kind of 4th of July-ish. Any ideas? I'm hoping for something that can be made or cut into a small size, so people can just grab a small piece and easily eat with fingers. Also, does the rest of the food sound okay?

  1. s
    smilingal Jun 5, 2012 07:47 PM


    1. b
      bythebay Jun 5, 2012 02:53 PM

      I made a trial of a few individual tartlets of the strawberry icebox pie with a graham cracker crust and cardamom vanilla whipped cream. Wow, it was amazing! Also, pretty simple to make. I really appreciate everyone's help and suggestions on this thread, thank you so much!

      1. g
        Georgia Strait Jun 4, 2012 05:24 PM

        hello from Canada -- our national birthday is July 1st -- so we share the long wkd (sometimes) with all of you -- i have to throw in my "outsider's" 2-bits and that would be -- you have to have red, white, and blue - with berries.

        That trifle (above) looks really pretty and that's a good idea about using those pretty (albeit plastic disposable) "crystal" glasses from the dollar / party store for individ serve size. Or maybe you already have access to a collection of pretty glass champagne "saucers" (often at the rummage store in our town)

        who doesn't like desserts that are not often made outside of good home cooking -- but we cooks know that it's important to make on that is not really too complicated to bake, assemble (then serve)

        i would think you're looking for a dessert you can make ahead of time, too - you just need the big fridge and the pretty trifle bowl

        -- or if fridge and bowl are not avail -- how about decorate tart/s, or shortcake/s or a sheetcake or cupcakes with red/white/blue berries?

        bottomline, i say (with respect) you just have to have the colors of the flag and it must include the fresh berries -- it just seems mandatory ; )

        as far as being dairy and / or gluten-free solution - i don't know what i'd serve for those folks.

        i wish we up here were as patriotic as all of you are re: your nation's b-day and the fact that it's a time to share with friends, family, neighbors et al

        i'll just have to invite myself one day ; )

        wishing you a safe and happy celebration

        1 Reply
        1. re: Georgia Strait
          bythebay Jun 4, 2012 06:43 PM

          Come on down, you're welcome! And I agree with you about the berries. :)

        2. b
          bythebay Jun 4, 2012 03:29 AM

          I had one other thought. I make a frozen key lime pie that I really really like and I've made individual sizes before and they came out great. Is it possible to convert such a recipe (like this one http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... ) into a frozen berry pie recipe by substituting fresh berry juice for the key lime juice and keeping everything else the same?

          I'm not sure a frozen pie would work well for this event, since it probably would get too warm sitting out, but maybe I could bring them out after a while or something. I probably will stick with one of the other suggestions, like the icebox berry pie, but wondered about this also.

          12 Replies
          1. re: bythebay
            chowser Jun 4, 2012 04:29 AM

            I actually think a frozen key lime pie sounds great, if you can make it work.

            1. re: chowser
              bythebay Jun 4, 2012 04:37 AM

              Do you think subbing with berry instead of key lime juice could also work? I guess I have my heart set on berry, maybe partly because of the color. I could top each tart with a berry or two and then some whipped cream. I think that recipe above is the one I use for key lime and it's really really good by the way.

              1. re: bythebay
                mamachef Jun 4, 2012 06:36 AM

                Not sure about this substitution. To my understanding it's a chemical interaction between the acid in the lime juice and the other ingredients that causes the thickening action. I could be totally wrong though. Happens all the time. :)

                1. re: bythebay
                  eclecticsynergy Jun 4, 2012 10:13 AM

                  I agree with mamachef, you need that supertartness in your tarts, otherwise you won't get the full-on Key Lime effect where you salivate so much it almost hurts for a second or two. But a berry drizzle is a frequent accompaniment and I can't imagine whipped cream & berries being anything less than great on it. Here's to red, white & blue... and green!

                  Ok, I know it isn't really green unless you want to color it that way; I just got carried away. But if it were my party I'd make it green just for the fun of it.

                  1. re: eclecticsynergy
                    sbp Jun 4, 2012 10:41 AM

                    It works great as yellow - in the original Hair, there was a song about the red,white blue and yellow...fringe.

                    1. re: eclecticsynergy
                      bythebay Jun 4, 2012 10:46 AM

                      Thanks guys, I don't want it to be all runny, so that's good to know that could happen without the lime juice. The berry drizzle could idea could work.

                    2. re: bythebay
                      chowser Jun 4, 2012 11:45 AM

                      I agree w/ the others about needing the acidity. What if you make the key lime pie into a trifle? I love this key lime pie recipe, a good part because of the crust:


                      You could bake the crust, crumble it. Bake the filling. Then layer granola crust w/ key lime filling w/ berries w/ cream cheese layer and top w/ whipped cream. Drizzle w/ berry drizzle, if you want.

                      1. re: chowser
                        bythebay Jun 4, 2012 01:02 PM

                        I like the idea of little mini tarts so if I do key lime I'll probably do individual tarts rather than trifle, just because I think they're cute. What if I do the berry version of key lime pie but add some lemon juice for acidity? Does it need a lot of acidity to work? I guess I'd have no idea how much to add, etc. Probably it's not a good idea to experiment with this, especially for guests but I would love it if I could make it for somehow. If not I think I'll go with the strawberry icebox one in individual sizes.

                        1. re: bythebay
                          chowser Jun 4, 2012 01:50 PM

                          If you're sold on the idea of mini-tarts (I love the presentation and how easy they are to serve), you could do lemon curd tarts and top w/ berries. Or what about a berry mascarpone cream tart:


                          I love mascarpone cream.

                          1. re: chowser
                            SAHCook Jun 4, 2012 01:59 PM

                            That recipe looks so good! I think will be the summer of the tarts at my house ... a lemon curd tart is already on my list, as well as the basic fruit tart with pastry cream. I've been bringing them to potlucks - they're relatively simple, but people always feel like they're getting a treat.

                            1. re: SAHCook
                              chowser Jun 4, 2012 03:47 PM

                              Plus I can pretend it's healthy because it has fruit.:)

                            2. re: chowser
                              bythebay Jun 4, 2012 04:31 PM

                              Thank you, that berry tart looks good. I love mascarpone too. Can't go wrong with that!

                  2. b
                    bythebay Jun 3, 2012 05:22 PM

                    Thanks for the ideas and comments everyone. I'm thinking I'll do the trifle or the mixed berry shortcake.

                    1. tim irvine Jun 3, 2012 05:07 PM

                      I build my July 4 menu around dessert, peach cobbler with Mexican vanilla ice cream. I have a friend from RI who goes for blueberry slump.

                      1. chowser Jun 3, 2012 03:41 PM

                        As a mix of the trifle and shortcake, I make tres leches cake w/ berries on the side and whipped cream. People who want to keep it light stick with the berries.

                        If you would like a substantial salad for your meal this red, white and blue potato salad is excellent:


                        1. mamachef Jun 3, 2012 02:23 PM

                          Well, if you're trying to keep it thematic in terms of color, why not mini-cheesecakes on 'Nilla wafers, plain, blueberry topped, and strawberry or raspberry topped? You could even put a couple silver star-shaped dragees on top for decoration.

                          1. greygarious Jun 3, 2012 10:21 AM

                            Sounds like you are a vegetarian, in which case you should report your post and ask the mods to move it to the Vegetarian board.

                            Otherwise, most people would be expecting grilled meat at a July 4th party, with salads of the slaw variety, and corn on the cob. The watermelon, though, is a good idea.

                            There's always the flag cake, which you can google. Simple to make, and since it's a sheet cake is suitable to eat out of hand. Or use the same ingredients in cupcake form.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: greygarious
                              bythebay Jun 3, 2012 05:15 PM

                              I didn't even think about that. I forget sometimes that other people eat meat, I'm so used to not. But since I asked mainly about dessert and asked about my overall menu as just a secondary afterthought, I think my post should be okay in this subforum hopefully.

                            2. m
                              masha Jun 3, 2012 09:00 AM

                              My standard July 4th dessert is mixed berry shortcake -- strawberry, raspberry and blueberries, which, with the whipped cream, give you the red, white, and blue color motiff, and is a quintessentially American dessert. Hard to eat as finger food, however.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: masha
                                katecm Jun 3, 2012 09:49 AM

                                Not true! I make them into sliders and they're fabulous. The trick is that you can't do very thin slices of strawberry - you pretty much have to halve them and use that as the filling. If you did regularly sliced strawberries, they'd squeeze right out: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/stra...

                                1. re: katecm
                                  bythebay Jun 3, 2012 05:14 PM

                                  Shortcake is what I was thinking too, but I wasn't sure if it would be good with the rest of the food. I like the mixed berry idea. But the cream won't slide out the sides?

                                  1. re: bythebay
                                    sbp Jun 3, 2012 05:23 PM

                                    It goes. You can make the biscuits wider and flatter, scoop out a bit of the insides, the make it more of a container.

                                  2. re: katecm
                                    eclecticsynergy Jun 4, 2012 10:04 AM

                                    Shortcake sliders! I love that idea!

                                  3. re: masha
                                    othervoice Jun 3, 2012 02:04 PM

                                    Great idea, I just might have to steal it.

                                  4. w
                                    wyogal Jun 3, 2012 04:07 AM

                                    Mini apple pies. I make them in my mini-muffin tin. big hit.

                                    15 Replies
                                    1. re: wyogal
                                      critter101 Jun 3, 2012 08:42 AM

                                      Okay...recipe, please?

                                      1. re: critter101
                                        wyogal Jun 3, 2012 08:47 AM

                                        Recipe? ha! Pie dough. Sliced apples, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, brown sugar, cornstarch. A small pat of salted butter on top of filling, then place a top crust, crimp edges (I use a baby fork), and put a slit in the top crust for steam to escape. Bake until crust is golden.

                                        1. re: wyogal
                                          magiesmom Jun 3, 2012 10:36 AM

                                          what ! Apples for July 4th? no, berries!

                                          1. re: magiesmom
                                            wyogal Jun 3, 2012 03:12 PM

                                            We prefer apple pie to berry pie. As American as apple pie, ya know...

                                            1. re: wyogal
                                              chowser Jun 3, 2012 03:39 PM

                                              I think it's the seasonality, not nationality, eg. turkey and stuffing would be American but not fourth of July.

                                              1. re: chowser
                                                wyogal Jun 3, 2012 03:47 PM

                                                Well, pardon me. I buy green apples all the time in the market to make apple pie. In this day and age, they are not that hard to come by year round.
                                                Do what makes you happy. For our house, it's apple pie that pleases us.

                                                1. re: chowser
                                                  1POINT21GW Jun 3, 2012 06:41 PM

                                                  Once picked, apples will keep for a loooooooooooooong time without degradation of taste or texture. Good tasting apples can be found fairly easy now.

                                                  1. re: 1POINT21GW
                                                    chowser Jun 3, 2012 06:44 PM

                                                    As can good turkeys and stuffing.

                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                      1POINT21GW Jun 3, 2012 07:28 PM

                                                      Ah, I see. I'm sorry, I thought you meant good apples couldn't be found now. Instead, I think you're saying that apples are not indicative of summer. I honestly never knew people thought that. I've always thought of them as a having no quintessential time of year like there is with turkey, dressing, pumpkins, etc.. Thanks for the insight.

                                                      Although, I gotta say, apple pie sounds pretty darn Independence Day to me. Maybe I'm alone on this though.

                                                      1. re: 1POINT21GW
                                                        wyogal Jun 3, 2012 07:43 PM

                                                        Obviously not alone. I'm surprised that there is such an adamant opposition to a simple suggestion. sheesh.
                                                        Have your berry pie, chowser. we'll have apple, and it will be damn good.

                                                        1. re: wyogal
                                                          chowser Jun 4, 2012 03:01 AM

                                                          I never suggested a berry pie but was trying to clarify what magiesmom was meaning. I think there is a seasonality to food and try to eat foods that are in season.

                                                        2. re: 1POINT21GW
                                                          chowser Jun 4, 2012 03:04 AM

                                                          It's more about eating food that is in season, for me. And, there is a seasonality to food, eg. as I've been saying turkey and stuffing is great and might be next month but it seems off season, just as I wouldn't do a braise in the middle of summer or berries in the middle of winter. Apples to me say fall as do pumpkins.

                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                            SAHCook Jun 4, 2012 09:35 AM

                                                            Apples do say fall to me, and I definitely bake with them more often when they're coming off the trees. BUT I personally prefer apple pie to berry pie - especially Dutch Apple Pie, although I hope that doesn't cancel out the "American as apple pie" aspect of it! ;)

                                                            In fact, when I was learning to bake pie, apple pie was what I practiced baking because, to me, apple pie is the quintessential pie. I'd be soooo happy with one on the 4th!

                                                  2. re: wyogal
                                                    iL Divo Jun 3, 2012 07:36 PM

                                                    agree about the apple pie.
                                                    the only berry pie I'm crazy about is the blueberry pie I've mentioned too many times on Chowhound.

                                                    easiest with best colors if you're going for red/white/blue:
                                                    the flag cake-a white sheet cake white frosting or whipped cream strawberries and blueberries.

                                                2. re: wyogal
                                                  critter101 Jun 3, 2012 11:06 AM

                                                  Sounds great...thanks.

                                            2. s
                                              soccermom13 Jun 3, 2012 03:59 AM

                                              How about two or three kinds of bars---lemon bars, brownies, or whatever sounds good. I love the Epicurious recipe for Apricot Walnut Bars:

                                              The rest of the food sounds really good!

                                              1. t
                                                Transplant_DK Jun 3, 2012 12:12 AM

                                                I made a cheesecake in a 9 x 13 pan once that I decorated with strawberries and blueberries to resemble the flag--something like that might be an option. There are tons of July 4th dessert ideas online as well, from cupcakes (might fit better with the kind of snack menu you're planning) to layered desserts with strawberries and blueberries for color. You could mix blueberries and baby marshmallows or something else white in with chunks of watermelon if you decide to carve it decoratively (scoop out and then refill with balls or chunks of fruit).

                                                I personally wouldn't serve salad with sandwiches, and wonder if you're considering grilling the blue cheese why you don't grill some chicken or kabobs or something to make a more substantial meal, but that's just me as I think of BBQ being 4th of July party food.

                                                24 Replies
                                                1. re: Transplant_DK
                                                  iL Divo Jun 3, 2012 12:59 PM

                                                  I agree with you transplant-the menu is lacking substantial cuisine

                                                  1. re: iL Divo
                                                    katecm Jun 3, 2012 01:16 PM

                                                    I think you can do it vegetarian, but perhaps a quinoa salad with grilled peppers, zucchini, red onion, etc would supplement it all? You could also prepare your sandwiches as wraps and then grill them briefly before serving.

                                                    1. re: katecm
                                                      bythebay Jun 3, 2012 05:17 PM

                                                      That's a great idea for both the salad and sandwiches, thank you!

                                                  2. re: Transplant_DK
                                                    othervoice Jun 3, 2012 02:02 PM

                                                    I agree, with you, for sure I'd be hoping I had more than one party to go to......Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Ribs, Chicken, Even grilled veggies if your not into meat.

                                                    1. re: othervoice
                                                      bythebay Jun 3, 2012 05:26 PM

                                                      The portabello will be grilled and will be in place of burger. We don't have an outdoor grill, just a grill pan inside, so it's not that kind of grilling BBQ get-together. I guess maybe it would be a portabello "burger" rather than sandwich.

                                                    2. re: Transplant_DK
                                                      bythebay Jun 3, 2012 05:11 PM

                                                      I'm vegetarian/pescatarian, so no meat.

                                                      1. re: bythebay
                                                        sbp Jun 3, 2012 05:20 PM

                                                        Sort of figured that. How about Cook's Country strawberry icebox pie? Basically, 2 lbs of strawberries cooked down to 2 cups, add 1 cup sugar, 1 tbs bloomed gelatin. Fold in 1 lb fresh berries (sliced). Pour into pie shell, chill. You can use this recipe to make individual tarts, or regular pie, I could see upping the gelatin content slightly, then making a sheet of shortbread cookies, topping that with strawberries, chilling, then slicing into cookie-bars.

                                                        1. re: sbp
                                                          bythebay Jun 3, 2012 05:29 PM

                                                          Yumm! Except gelatin is not vegetarian, but I can substitute for that. It sounds really good thank you.

                                                          1. re: bythebay
                                                            sbp Jun 3, 2012 05:38 PM

                                                            Sure. If you google it, you can see pictures. Cooking down the strawberries concentrates the flavor.

                                                            1. re: sbp
                                                              bythebay Jun 3, 2012 05:45 PM

                                                              Oh my God, it looks really good. I think that might be what I go with, as individual tarts. Thank you! Do you think I could leave out the gelatin altogether or it would be get too runny without it? I've used a substitute for gelatin before so I could do that again too.

                                                              1. re: bythebay
                                                                SAHCook Jun 4, 2012 09:28 AM

                                                                I made a similar recipe last weekend in a rectangular tart pan (filling from joyofbaking.com, WS basic tart shell recipe). I think the gelatin - or a substitute - is very necessary. The tart pretty much stayed together when we sliced into it. It was pretty, and the filling didn't slide off. It keeps the slices from becoming all shell, no filling.

                                                                1. re: SAHCook
                                                                  bythebay Jun 4, 2012 10:43 AM

                                                                  Thanks I'll definitely use gelatin or a substitute if I make this. Do you think that that pie would also be good with a graham cracker crust?

                                                                  1. re: bythebay
                                                                    SAHCook Jun 4, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                                    I think it would be great! There's a recipe on one of those sites for a strawberry cream cheese tart. I did the filling with mixed berries on the WS tart shell, and it was really good. Not too sweet, and creamy. I'm not up on all the vegetarian definitions so I don't know if you do cream cheese and cream? Anyway, I immediately thought about a graham cracker crust for that one, kind of like a no-bake cheesecake. The graham cracker crust would be good with the strawberry one, too.

                                                                    1. re: SAHCook
                                                                      bythebay Jun 4, 2012 04:30 PM

                                                                      Oh good, I love graham cracker crust. Thank you!

                                                                      1. re: bythebay
                                                                        sbp Jun 4, 2012 05:14 PM

                                                                        Definitely graham cracker would taste great. Whenever I do a fruit pie, I also melt a little white chocolate with some butter and "paint" the bottom crust with a very thin coat of it before I fill with fruit. (I spread it with my fingers; better control). This totally seals the crust, so it never goes soggy.

                                                                        1. re: sbp
                                                                          SAHCook Jun 4, 2012 05:28 PM

                                                                          Not that I was doing well anyway, but you've just completely ruined my weight loss efforst for this summer with that white chocolate tip - thanks a lot! ;)

                                                                          1. re: sbp
                                                                            bythebay Jun 4, 2012 06:45 PM

                                                                            Oh my, I agree with SAHCook, that is definitely getting into weight loss effort out the window territory! : ) But yum!

                                                              2. re: bythebay
                                                                paprkutr Jun 3, 2012 07:47 PM

                                                                Go into the kosher section of your market and they gelatin that is pareve vegetarian. All products marked pareve on the package are vegetarian.

                                                                1. re: paprkutr
                                                                  bythebay Jun 3, 2012 08:59 PM

                                                                  Thanks so much, I never knew that. I think in the past I used something called "agar agar."

                                                                  1. re: bythebay
                                                                    16crab Jun 4, 2012 11:07 AM

                                                                    Beware on the kosher gelatin. After eating yogurt for years that contained it (I thought, it can't possibly be animal if the yogurt is labelled kosher dairy) I got really curious about it and googled it...turns out it is often made of fish bones, but it's also perfectly acceptable for it to be made of hide or bones of cow, because it is considered so far removed from the flesh of the animal that it is no longer meat. Many online sources to document, here is one: http://www.ivu.org/faq/gelatine.html

                                                                    1. re: 16crab
                                                                      bythebay Jun 4, 2012 11:21 AM

                                                                      Thank you so much! I'll stick to the agar agar I used before. It worked well. Thanks for the warning!

                                                              3. re: sbp
                                                                bythebay Jun 11, 2012 11:45 PM

                                                                This recipe was so good. I'm wondering can I make this with other fruits too, by just subbing something else for the strawberry, say plum, peach or apricot, or would this really only work with strawberries in this recipe?

                                                                1. re: bythebay
                                                                  sbp Jun 12, 2012 04:25 AM

                                                                  fruits like plums won't cook down as much, but you could give them a whir with a stick blender to get that puree that forms the base.

                                                                  1. re: sbp
                                                                    bythebay Jun 12, 2012 08:56 AM

                                                                    Thank you so much.

                                                          2. 1POINT21GW Jun 3, 2012 12:01 AM

                                                            Independence Day Trifle.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: 1POINT21GW
                                                              othervoice Jun 3, 2012 01:59 PM

                                                              As seen above but I take it one step further and make individual ones in little old fashioned glasses. (plastic) Everyone loves them and you don't have to worry about people digging into a large dessert and any sanitary conditions associated with it. They make a great presentation. Some I've done with cheesecake and others I've done with custard or bavarian cream, Easy step use vanilla pudding.

                                                              1. re: 1POINT21GW
                                                                bythebay Jun 3, 2012 05:16 PM

                                                                That looks good!

                                                                1. re: bythebay
                                                                  sweetpotater Jun 4, 2012 04:53 PM

                                                                  I usually do a trifle too, in a big dish (my grandmother's, which my husband dropped recently). I have no idea what the sanitary concerns are regarding people scooping portions into their own dishes with a serving spoon.

                                                                  The nice thing about trifle is you can go as DIY or store-bought as you like, when it comes to the custard, cake, and cream components.

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