Easter--help!

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Joined Nov 26, 2000
We have Sunday buffet at the country club where I work. But They have put out special notices inviting the public to come to Easter buffet. They also advertised an "elaborate display of desserts and pastries".--No reservations needed! I could have double the number. From 300 to 400.

I have already decided to do a couple of large "basket of flowers" cakes set on fake grass with meringue mushrooms and chocolate eggs. I thought I would do cupcakes decorated easter style for the kids.

Any other ideas for an "elaborate display"?

eeyore
 
1,839
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Joined May 29, 1999
For Upwards of 400 folks some ideas are:

chocolate dipped fruits to serve the masses 200 pieces or so

eclairs and cream puffs 150 pieces

mini pastries

5 each of four types of cake

10 dozen each of four types of cookies

10 each fresh fruit tarts

150 cup cakes

Quick breads and coffee cakes

croissants

Good Luck!
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
Hi, I'm a pastry chef at a private country club. I do very detailed work, but we can only seat 175 which is very managable. Although I have the problem that everything must be pre-sliced/portioned...I'd bet that you have to do that also???

My advise would be to avoid individually baked desserts since they take the most effort and time. Bake items in-mass like a sheet pan of carrot (or whatever) cake, a sheet pan of brownies (or other cookie bars), a sheet pan of petite fours,etc... . Then cut them and decorate so they look like individually made pastries.

Even though I work at a very fancy club I still have to provide some simple items as I've described. I also like to make items like creme brulee which is so easy to make in mass volume...plus it will hold for a couple days.

I would choose my items based on how far in advance I can make them. For instance, choose bavarian creams in your tortes instead of mousses', or at least mousses with gelatin so they freeze nicely. Then I'd also pick items that I could reuse for another up coming event so I wouldn't be waisting them.

Then once my items were baked and frozen (the week before)I'd work on my garnishes. I make great looking frosting bunnies, lambs and chicks piped in buttercream on sheet pans and freeze them.Once there frozen I can easily place them on cupcakes or even crown the top of a pre-sliced cake (if you can pipe that small) Marizpan carrots, royal icing flowers, even purchased chocolate eggs and jelly beans can be used very nicely to garnish.

So bake in volume ahead of time, then work on your garnishing. Have all your tortes assembled in the freezer, but don't glaze them until their defrosted a day or two before Easter. Also slice sheet pans of suff either before you freeze or a couple days before serving. So on easter all you have to do is tray up.

It's all about managing your time/schedule so you have very very little last minute work when your working in larger volumes.
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
Now that I re-read you orginal post I think I didn't answer your question?

Would it help you if I posted some of my previous Easter sweet table menus?
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
Wow, am I ever glad I work at a Jewish country club. No bunnies for me. I get into a big sweat about mother's day. I do chocolate chip, almond macaroons, palmiers, madeleines, gingersnaps, rugelach, diamants and hazelnut croquettes from the French cookie book. Mini eclairs, brownies, key lime tartlets in bought shortdough shells, cheesecake squares, choc mousse in little choc cups, lemon curd tartlets, fruit tartlets, pecan diamonds, plugs of bavarian on linzer cookies, creme caramel baked in a 9" cake pan and unmolded, different flavors of cake slices, challah rolls, breadsticks, flatbreads, baguettes, hard rolls, pecan rolls, mini muffins, it just goes on and on. BTW, I wish they let me use the freezer more- managements feeling is that if party x gets their stuff fresh, the party y should too. The grounds crew eats very well.
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
Some people have a hang up with "fresh", that's silly! I'd rather eat a cake correctly frozen then one that sat in a cooler for a week or longer. I prefer fresh of course, but sometimes you have to have back-ups in the freezer. When you have no idea how many people are going to walk thru your doors and your promising great food, you better have it.

Bighat do you only make individual pastries? I usually divide my attention like this: I make very showy edible center pieces (their back up in case I run low). Then I make mostly cakes/tortes and circle them around the centerpieces. Then I have one table where I set a large pot of cookies and suckers on sticks and surround that with individually plated items (like flan, creme brulee, triffles, or tira mi su). Then my last table I have an icecream bar and trays of mini pastries. We always put my breakfast pastries with the reg. food, but only danish sell well.

I wish I worked at a Jewish club. I know this sounds like a bad sterio type but I miss serving people who live for desserts. I work for people who think it's rude to eat at a party. Sixty-year old women wearing backless dresses where you can count their ribs from the back. Yuk!

Does your club do more pass plate desserts or buffets?
 
415
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Joined Jan 15, 2001
In keeping with the Easter theme, why not make Easter egg cookies decorated with a variety of pastel colors using royal icing or fondant. Also chicks, rabbits and ducks. Use crystallized sugar in different shades of colors for a quick decorating idea. Also, petit fours cut in small squares covered in white ganache or fondant. For the top of each little square pipe some pale green buttercream "grass" and then top with these very cute little easter egg candies(I think they're M&M's)that you can find at a grocery store. Very easy and fast.
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
How and what we serve depends on the type of party. If it's a wedding or bar mitzvah, then it's always a plated dessert, usually some kind of floretine or tuile cup with chocolate or fruit mousse. It goes on a large plate with edible flowers, berries and fruit coulis. I usually pipe a chocolate ornament to stick in the top to give it some height, but I have made fruit jells and cut them out with truffle cutters and candied hazelnuts and twisted tuile cookies.
First party this year was a beggar's purse of chocolate cake with raspberrys and soft ganache served on creme anglaise with candied grapefruit rind.
We have three major buffets on Memorial day, july 4th and labor day and those used to be giant buffets till they renovated and lost the space to set it up. So the last couple of years we used three tiered stands loaded with small pastries and dipped berries and so on. We got a new clubhouse manager this year so who knows? He has a lot of input as he helps the members plan the parties.
The women have an opening luncheon that we really try to finesse. Last year they had a white chocolate lily filled with ginger mousse. I had to cut off 85 cones with a hot knife and stick them to bowls with ganache. Then we ladled in a light fruit soup. The opening dance is also a biggy, This year I'm going to try to make something stuffed out of fillo to look like a firecracker.
I only need to make two desserts for dinner service every day. And only 8 to 10 portions of each and that's usually really homey stuff. The members like to know I'm there, but they'll have a cookie, thank you. I do way more stuff with breads, rolls, danish, brioche, flatbreads, quick bread, muffins, breadsticks, puff paste stuff, croissants and the like for the daily lunch bread basket. I don't typically do a lot of fancy garnishing. Don't have either a lot of experience or patience with it. But tell me to make 20 dozen rolls and I love it. I also spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen. We work 6 days a week in the season and to tell the truth, it's a good way to grab some ot. But we have a really good team and I like to help out.
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
Thebighat, I'm sorry I didn't follow your opening event item...the lily, would you re-explain?

Last year for our ladies opening event I made center piece cakes shaped like bee hives with marizpan bee suspended on curled wires. It was a sponge cake soaked with coffee and kaluha with shaved chocolate and coffee buttercream frosting.

This year were going with a golf green shaped cake with a white chocolate golf ball and a pastilage (sp?) flag by the whole. I got the idea from a book. This is how I'm decorating all of our b-day cake orders this year, too. I used to make my b-day cakes shaped like presents with chocolate bows but that takes alot more effort then the golf theme.

I used to make our rolls, but my heart really isn't into breads. I do love to make coffee cakes and sweet rolls etc...I hope we'll be able to share some thoughts on that topic! I'm always looking for new breakfast items. I have about 15 different items that are soooo good I just keep making the same things...I'd like to find more winners.


I guess we have more BIG events than your club. We do a "shore" dinner twice a year as our formal couples season opening and closing event. "Shore" meaning seafood extravganza! Then we sell out (sell out is around 175) for Easter, Motherday, Shore dinner, The 4th (we do 500+ and have our own fireworks), the second shore dinner, halloween, thanksgiving (not a sell out), and three major x-mas events.

I'd bet your club has more members than mine. We have less than 300 members. We do close to zero ala carte in the main club house (it would average to around 2 people per day), but I still have to have desserts. Our ala carte really takes place in our grill room which is just off the course and dress is casual. But they don't have desserts there only cookies.

We do alot of parties though that's our main business...golf outtings and weddings. When we are busy we do about 1,ooo+ people a week, around 8 parties a week. Some are little ladies lunches and others are big outtings where we feed them lunch and dinner. But in our slow season, **** it's slow!
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
The lily cone was stuck to a wide bowl with ganache, then piped full of ginger mousse, garnished with strips of candied lemon peel. Then a light fruit soup of mango coulis with diced mango, golden raspberries, diced pineapple, strawberries,and so on, was ladled into the soup bowl, only about 3 oz or so. Looked nice. We have about 400 members and spouses, tournaments all summer, luncheons parties. Thursday night is the busy night, they do around 120-150 people. The alacarte dinner is pretty busy but in the three years I've been there I've never stayed to see how it goes. No longer interested in the hot line after doing it for 20 years. If I'm gonna smell like food when I leave work it's gonna be vanilla, chocolate and not garlic and grilled meat. I would love to swap some ideas and sources.
 
165
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Joined Nov 26, 2000
Wow! Thanx for all the responses.

This is what I have decided up 'til this morn.:

Easter basket cake filled with pansies, daisies, daffodils,etc. all buttercream and chocolate eggs. I will have 2 or 3 9" cakes to serve the first 2 hours before I start cutting into the basket.

Sugar cookies shaped like bonnets with bows and flowers.

Assorted chocolates and mints in easter theme.

Meringue mushrooms and chocolate mice around base of cake.

Fancy french petit fours--almond cake layered with fig and/or raspberry filling docorated with spring flowers.

Cupcakes

mini meringues filled with hazelnut french buttercream

Good idea about the chocolate dipped strawberries!

It's true--tartlets are really out of the question although I would love to.

I think Im going to do very small dummy cakes in the shape of lambs. 2 or 3.

I will have to do the regular southern faves: pecan pie, key lime or lemon meringue. etc. I will do my orange cranberry coffee cake and chocolate/cream cheese/puff pastries. Oh and zucchini bread.

What's missing? hmmm. something chocolate.

eeyore
 
165
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Joined Nov 26, 2000
Ok Ive reread some responses and

debord: Yes I have to have everything pretty much plated by 10:30AM. I think I will go ahead and do my mocha torte. maybe a lemon torte--easy.

What about hot-cross buns? Should I do them?

I think I will do my creme brulee. Ive never done it for brunch before. How long does it need to be eaten after you flame it? I wont have time after 10AM.

Thanx again.
 
2,938
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Joined Mar 4, 2000
Not to worry; the sugar will stay crispy for an hour or so, unless you have an unusually humid day.
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
Felchlin makes mini tartlet shells if you need small. I pipe them with pastry cream and then stick raspberries and blueberries on them. Also fill them with key lime filling. Or with a little jam and then frangipane. Bite size. I also once made white and dark chocolate leaves, put them on a large silver stand and then put meringue mushrooms and chocolate truffles around them.
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
I also use pre-made mini tart shells and cannoli shells (my insurance, for those last minute parties). I've filled them so many ways my brain hits over-load with ideas. You can bake fillings in them as well (like frangipane or pecan tart fillings) using cold fillings. All your southern favorites that you would have put in a pie shell go easily into a tart shell.

I hope you won't get up-set with me, but from what I understood of your list of pastrys you might be short for 400 people. Granted only you know how your people will eat. BUT if this is open to "common people" (not country club going regulars) they will eat ALOT differently in my experience. Country club group...2 per-person (mini's), general public I'd go with 4 per person. But, you've picked items with a fair amount of detail so you must be more experienced than I realized.

As far as having hot cross buns...they don't sell at my club. They'd rather have homemade doughnuts or danish. If it's a tradition in your area then you probably should make them.
 
165
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Joined Nov 26, 2000
OK. Im starting this week. I have made a list for this week, next week, and the last week. Yes I will be quite busy...but there is nothing going on this week and very little next.

Of course I will have several plated desserts besides all the fancy petit-fours and whatnots. They will make me do cobbler and banana pudding. They will serve icecream (sadly not made by me) I will be set.

Hopefully Im not biting off more than I can chew.

thanx again
eeyore
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
Just curious...how do Southerners like their banana pudding. Do you dress this up like a triffle or is it straight pudding in a cup?

Do you use mashed bananas or fresh chunks?

I've never really been south...Disney but you can't call that southern cooking.???! :D
 
1,403
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Joined Jan 1, 2001
Southern Banana pudding consists of layers of sliced bananas, vanilla pudding (fresh made, not a mix) vanilla wafers with a baked meringue on top. You can use a vanilla pudding mix and whipped cream or topping, but the original is as described above. You'll get raves-everyone loves it.
 
1,640
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Joined Mar 6, 2001
Thanks for the answer. That's exactly how Debbie Fields does it, in her dessert book. Yum!

;)
 
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