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Menu ideas, anyone?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for some input, I'm a perfectionist at times and rather creative so sometimes I need a bit of focus when it comes to desiding on which dessert I want to offer. Sometimes I spend half the day looking thru books for new ideas and with my schedule lately I just don't have the time to invest.


I had a customer who requested individual croucembouches (sorry can't spell tonight) for a party of 200. For many obvious reasons thats not a good choice (we have extremely high humidity as just one reason why I cant do that for 200) and we've talked her out of that.

So my task....something "spectactular" that's realistic for 200 by one pastry chef with no assistance. I'm capable of doing very advanced work but I don't want to kill myself with too many components. Sometimes the simplist ideas are the best and then you can focus in on your presentation.

Anyone feeling creative? Or have you seen anything interesting lately (nothing too out there taste wise, please)?
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #2 of 23
It depends what month we're talking about, and what kind of plating assistance you have, as well as what you can pre-plate and hold.

But here are some ideas, anyway:

Deep chocolate and pear chantilly tart with william-poached pears in a light chocolate/honey syrup

Crispy mocha crepes, filled with warm cherries, and served with coffee anglaise.

Brown sugar madeleines with roasted figs and mascarpone.
post #3 of 23
I vote for #2 :)

[ July 28, 2001: Message edited by: KyleW ]
At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
www.kyleskitchen.net
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At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
www.kyleskitchen.net
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post #4 of 23
Hi W.DeBord,

When I sit down with my pastry chef to develope beo's for large groups we always look to the seasons,# of guests,is there a theme,how many components will be involved,how many times will the plate need to be handled before the guest recieves it Etc.
By reading all your posts I know you are a very talented Pastry chef,and I am sure you will come up with a winner.

I think this type a plated dessert could work.

Some type of tuile that can be pre plated,maybe a berry tuile.Gold bud stone fruits from Northen California are incredible right now.White peaches and nectirines,perhapes a compote made with the fruit and put in the tuile and then as the dessert goes out top with a huckleberry sorbet,some fresh huckleberries and zoro with a fruit infused simple syrup.

Or this one you could almost plate in advance,Pineapple Financier cake topped with a molded poppy seed parfait and served with a cherry sauce,garnished with bruinoise roasted pineapple.

Or maybe an Opera cake cut into long triangles and served with a number of fruit coulis and freash berries.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
The party is for next week and the heat of August outside is starting to heat up the kitchen.

I have O/ZERO assistance (except after dinner is served and then they won't follow my lead for anything exact). We have extemely limited room in the cooler. It will need to be a one shot deal, pretty basic at plating time.

Figs are out for the year according to the prduce guy. Pears are a bit early for August....and I don't have a source for nice frozen cherries (fresh is out, too much labor). Actually when I need great fruit it never happens, we'll get in rock hard peaches the day before or some crazy thing. I go to the grocery stores and hand pick fruit for occasions when I have to count on good fruit.

I'll just throw out some ideas that keep floating thru my head, maybe that might help?


I've been playing with sorbets and gelatos alot lately, nothing fancy really. I don't have a ice cream maker, I've been using the cusinart after it's frozen to cream them out.

Anyway I've got the cover of the August issue of Food & Wine running thru my head. Mini balls of melon sorbets with watermelon balls served in a globe glass bowl. But of course making some adjustments......seeing how I don't have any neat dishes and rentals isn't a possiblity, I need to think further.

The shape of the scoops of sorbet remind me of the shape of the cream puffs in the petite croucumbouches she mentioned.

What about the balls in a scooped out fruit bowl? But that can be rather time consuming hollowing out orange halfs? Not a perfect idea. Maybe even free form on the plate with some fruit sauces or fruit pieces? Freeze my own ice bowls, how? I could re-freeze them in different shapes like cones or cut them into squares?

I've been serving my sorbets in a hippen flower but I can't do that for 200 in our humidity (I've had them fail once after they were plated the wilt began). Tuile batter isn't much different.

I could garnish with a marzipan bee, hippen butterflie or spoon.......even fruit chips or a fruit compote (all easily made ahead of time)?????? But I do that all the time so "spectactular" they probably aren't..but then again what is "spectactular"?


Someone from one of the Chocolatier books had a champagne sorbet with dried apple chips inserted around the scoop served with a wine reduction sauce...that's interesting, but I can't plate the apple chips under that time line plating.

I've been painting on my plates lately with pastes and spraying with edible shelac. That's pretty eye catching, seeing how I'm a former artist it's quite fun. But......these guests won't know what their looking at since they don't know our plate has no pattern etc...

Any thoughts from what I've mentioned? :D
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #6 of 23
Wendy instead of a croquembouche maybe you could sell your client on profiteroles au chocolat. You know choux filled with vanilla ice cream and top with chocolate sauce. Choux for choux maybe he would like it. That it is something you can make in your kitchen.

If not how about a white chocolate raspberry tart, in a chocolate crust. Last week I made orange curd chocolate tartlets, it turned out very nice. Do you want individual size dessert?

P.S. I saw your cake on the other side, it is one of the most georgous wedding cake I have ever seen.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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post #7 of 23
W.Debord,
Just as an F.Y.I you can buy sun or oven dried cherries that can be plumped.

Also,if you need a little inspiration try picking up Andrew MacLauchlans book "The making of a pastry chef" It's a great read..good for the soul.
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks I have that one, it insired me to put peach melba on my ala carte menu this time....it hasen't moved much though, oh well. I do find the read a comforting time, pages and pages of words I can identify with as if someone was reading my mind. Unforunately it leaves me depressed in the because I sure don't work in one of those kinds of enviroments.

I do need to try and work with the dried cherries more, I haven't done much. They don't have a "cherry" taste to me...more like a tart intense raisin, don't you think? Perhaps different sources have varing qualities. I did previously work with some frozen cherries from Door County, WI that were really exceptional....but that was years ago and I haven't done much with cherrys since then. I always dread seeing a cherry pie needed on a party sheet, the canned ones are soooo soft then by the time you bake them it's mush............

There's tons of French recipes in all the top European pastry books that call for griotes, but I've never even eaten one in my life. Why isn't there more happening with them in the States? Price, quality or demand?
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Oops, thank-you Iza for the kind words. I do try.

P.S. Profiteroles are a good idea but their pretty common at my work. Its one of the managers favorites so every other party has had them over the years...........
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #10 of 23
Hi W. I did like Iza's idea, about the profiteroles. Maybe you can fill them with different flavores creams or ice creams, and do some artsy deco ideas. Plating would be easy too.
I would suggest to first find out what flavors you want to present, that is chocolate, lemon, fruit, etc.? Then, in keeping in mind that you want a simple production because you have no assistants, maybe think in the lines of building your cake(or whatever) and fillings in a full sheet(like opera) and then you can cut your servings ahead of time and keep them frozen. Just an idea.
For a tuile cup, have you tried making florentine cups. They hold so much better than hippen/tuile paste and you can premake them up to 5 days ahead and hold them in a closed container with silica gel, so they don't get humid. And they're delicious with fruit and a light cream like a cold Grand Marnier or Calvados sabayon.
post #11 of 23
Florentine cups are great!

Great texture and taste and they stay crisp for quite some time,great suggestion angrychef.

Griotte cherry,they are very dark skinned and so is thier juice,we don't see them fresh very often..but you know those kirsh-cherry chocolates? those are griottes. Griottes are in the sour cherry family so most preparations you see they are sweetened and cooked. The best known griotte is the morello which you see often in imported jams and compounds. How about trying to use black seedless grapes instead of cherries and use some black plum flesh to help give you the body you get from cherries.

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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #12 of 23
Wendy how about some individual Paris Brest to remain in the pate a chou repertoire. Or maybe your client would prefer something totally different...

Fresh fruits tartlets with creme patissiere? or some mousse cake or only mousse, a few different kind with one of your nice place design. Or individual cheesecake if that is possible.

Ok I got my Eurodélices book, here are a few more idea. I don't know how complex you want the dessert though.

Fruits Terrine ( pan lined with white cake filled with almond mousse in the centre with different fruits) Looks really nice.

Cassata Alla Siciliana individual round mould filled with a layer of génoise and filled with vanilla ice cream served with a berry coulis.

Individual Fig Tatin

Red Berry Croquant Disk of meringue with whipped cream then berries places all around. Served with coulis

Chocolate Tartlet

Honey Mousse Cake

Chocolate Tear With Pear Mousse

Strawberry Chocolate Napoleon Rectangle of chocolate, 2 for each plate, are used instead of puff pastry. A layer of fresh slices strawberries. Each plate is decorate with mint leaves cut en Chiffonnade and a strawberry filled with white chocolate and a spoonful of vanilla sauce

Strawberry Chocolate Napoleon Rectangle of chocolate, 2 for each plate, are used instead of puff pastry. A layer of fresh slices strawberries. Each plate is decorate with mint leaves cut en chifonnade and a strawberry filled with white chocolate. (It looks really nice)

Chocolate "Cannelloni" stuffed with a chocolate nut mousse

Pralin Cookies With Almond Mousse And Strawberry it’s build like a napoleon with 3 layers per plate.

Individual Moka Charlotte

Individual Parfait

White Chocolate Charlotte With Exotic Fruit a layer of cake top with passion fruit mousse wrapped in a chocolate ribbon.

Caramelised Pears in A Crepe Served With Raspbery Coulis

Chocolate Mousse Topped With Banana Mousse

Filo Napoleon With Coffee Cream four layers of filo with coffee cream in between served with a milk glace


I’ll be curious to know what you decide upon.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for taking the time to give me ideas, I do appreciate it.

I make florentine cups very frequently at work, too. I do like it's flavor over a tuile. I had the weirdest time getting them to work at this job. I went through several recipes, different pans....every hoop you could think of and they wouldn't work on their pans. I had to find just the right recipe and bake them on parchement to get them to work.......


Unforunately I don't get to decide on this dessert, only give my suggestions which may or may not be considered. You never really know.
Things aren't going well, I just laid the whole thing back on the manager today. She asked me if I had come up with any ideas, the lady is coming in tommarrow. I just told her the truth "I've had alot on my mind lately and have been able to consintrate, you'll have to feel her out as to what she wants." Her smile turned long, she knew what I was talking about.

Sorry I feel like I've taken advantage of your good help, I just had to bail.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #14 of 23
Not to worry Wendy. I just hope you'll think of something tomorrow when you'll meet the client. Let us know. Hope it's not one of those impossible people who has seen it all and did it all. You know the type I am sure.


Good Luck!

P.S. Are things improoving in your kitchen?

[ July 30, 2001: Message edited by: Iza ]
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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post #15 of 23
Wendy,
The croq's are easy money when put together with chololate. Sorbets are really in here now.We had a foundation dinner last night, I prepared the intermezzo, lychee sorbet garnished with a small rosemary stem pushed through a lychee and a raspberry. I froze the whole thing.I put them in shrimp supremes with a small amount of dry ice in the bottom. Placed them on underliners an a service tray, poured a little h2o and off to the races. Used Bourin purees, they have really bumped their line.
I still say the small croq's. We do these all the time. Drizzel like strawberries, a couple of your bees. Hey were doing that crazy cake with the cotton candy this week, we found a place that 2day airs. all flavor colors. Just a thought. You no me, giv em what they want.
I'm sure they will love what ever you do.
Jeff

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #16 of 23
W, Not to worry!!

No ones time is being wasted.
Keep us posted,and look at the donut not the whole

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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
I gave my notice again (with a time line) yesterday. Chef pulled stuff (again) where I had both boss witnesses, blah, blah, blah....they're trying to keep me, we'll see. I'm not only looking, I jumped through the donut whole and I'm running out the door. Life's too short for this much unhappiness.

Anyway, Jeff you always say something that catches my little brain. I need futher explaination please....on each underliner plate you put dry ice or on a serving tray with the sorbets? and then paraded it through the room where waitstaff passed off of that? Great idea!!!!!

Lady bought baked alaska, paraded throught the room by the waitstaff with sparklers in it....hum......it's easy at least.

Mini crouc. ....all you'll taste is choux paste, I don't find that exciting.

What cake with the cotton candy are you mentioning?

I did high heel slippers (for Mothers day) with cotton candy as the fuzzy toe part. They only looked good for 1/2 hr. before the humidity started melting the sugar down. So depending upon what your up to your client might have to place the candy on the cake at the last minute....?
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #18 of 23
Good Grief! I've obviously wasted your time, as I've just read your recent email saying the 'decision' would be made on the 30th! Sorry...
post #19 of 23
I am not a professional pastry chef, although I have had a bit of culinary training - so although it's brazen of me to suggest anything to you, I mean well. If your customer **really** loves chocolate, the 'chocolate oblivion truffle torte' that is in the 'cake bible' by Berenbaum (sp?) is a very elegant, intensely flavored dessert based on bittersweet chocolate. Total cooking time is 15 minutes, and the finished product holds 2 weeks in the reefer. Served cold, its texture is that of very smooth, creamy fudge, but at room temperature the intensity and texture of the chocolate is optimal. I have made variants with raspberry and blackberry purees, and praline (both hazelnut and pecan). (I also have altered the chocolate intensity by adding milk or white chocolate - I use Callebaut.) All got rave reviews from my 'test subjects' :} I've plated the dessert with complementary flavored creme anglaise (fruit or liquors), tempered chocolate ruffles, whipped cream, and/or roasted nuts. (I'm pretty much a 'minimalist' when it comes to plating desserts.) I have no doubt your plating skills/embellishments exceed mine, and you could really 'wow' them with presentation.
I'd be interested to know what you finally select...
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hey lobster....oblivion is a good flourless choc. cake! Actually I think it was Momoreg that turned me on to it, not that long ago....lots to learn from each other at every level........ :D
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #21 of 23
W.DeB -
Thanks for the gratious comments. I've been reading these forums for quite awhile, and most times I get more than I give. {Pastry/dessert work has been more of a stress release than an occupation for me.} I couldn't resist the chance to 'really' contribute. P.S. This weekend I try prepping a mango charlotte for a wine tasting {sparkling wines) next week - will be interesting to see what the tasters think, as I've no specific ideas on which sparkling wines they'll bring. Cheers.
post #22 of 23
W.DeB -
Thanks for the gratious comments. I've been reading these forums for quite awhile, and most times I get more than I give. {Pastry/dessert work has been more of a stress release than an occupation for me.} I couldn't resist the chance to 'really' contribute. P.S. This weekend I try prepping a mango charlotte for a wine tasting {sparkling wines) next week - will be interesting to see what the tasters think, as I've no specific ideas on which sparkling wines they'll bring. Cheers.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
I try to give back but I think I probably get more than I give also. It's great to have such a resource!

How did you do your mango charlotte? Mango mousse with diced mango....any contrasting flavor? Personally I haven't done much with mango, mostly fresh with sauce or using it as a sauce. I like the flavor but I find alot of people aren't that familar with it in my area.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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