Pastry Case Display set up/expiration date of fillings

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by Joni Johnson, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Joni Johnson

    Joni Johnson

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    Pastry Chef
    I am fairly new to the culinary world of pastry and am a pastry chef at a grocery store. We have a display case which we fill with assortments of eclairs, fruit tarts, napoleon, cheesecake etc. I was wondering if there is a way to best display each dessert. Sorting by color, by there a way that makes the most sense? I suppose the main goal would be to sell the most desserts where I work. For me though, I would like to know a few best ways of organizing the layout regardless of the goal at hand.

    I love pastry and am hoping to make this a career and I believe presentation is very important. Are there any books or research on plating/presentation for a display case?

    I am also wondering if there is a general rule on the expiration date of fillings such as some whip creams, pastry cream, mousse...some people have suggested using the expiration date of the cream used, some say by taste? I store them in pastry bags in a refrigerator.

    Lastly, this may be an ignorant question but as I make fillings is it okay to just rinse the bowl with hot water and use it right away again to mix something else without washing it with soap?

    Probably a few basic questions but I would like to know and get a good foundation for developing my passion! I am finding my pastry case is starting to feel like my child and I want to take good care of it!

    Thank you all and I would appreciate any feedback!
  2. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

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    Chef Emeritus
    There's no hard and fast rule when it comes to displaying the merchandise.

    You're supposed to do it according to your target customers and the style of your shop.

    Usually grocery stores have experts that come in to optimize the product display in store.

    Grocery stores usually also have their own rules regarding the expiration dates.
  3. chefpeon

    chefpeon Kitchen Dork

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    Professional Pastry Chef 27 years
    In regard to expiration dates.......I leave items in the display case only if they are still of optimum quality and have not degraded. The quality of most pastry/dessert items deteriorates WAY before the expiration date of any creams, etc. you might use. For example, to me, an eclair is only optimum for one day, max, although the cream inside could be "good" for a couple weeks. Any product that isn't 100% top quality either gets thrown out, donated to a food bank, or sells for half price, depending on the policy of the store.

    In regard to how to arrange the pastry case, you need to assess your customer base and what they are looking for most often. Always arrange your case so it's attractive, no matter what. Attractiveness comes from cleanliness and the appearance of looking full. A full case gives the customer the impression that the product is fresh. An empty looking case looks the opposite. A good way to make the case look full as the day goes on is to push unsold product to the front. Do things like placing items that kids would like at their eye level. You should be wiping down the case at the beginning of each day so it's clean. Arrange products by size, attractiveness and how they sell. Make sure to prominently display best sellers. Try to promote items that aren't selling as well by sampling them out. You don't need an expert to tell you what pretty looks like. Load the case, then go stand in front of it. If it ain't pretty, change it.

    Regarding bowl answer is, it depends. For example, if I'm making a filling with say, peanut butter, then I want to make another filling after that, I would wash the bowl with soap because some people have peanut allergies. If I were making something like just plain whipped cream and I wanted to make a raspberry whipped cream after that, I would probably just rinse the bowl. When I'm making giant batches of cake batters and cookie doughs in a 60 qt bowl, I never wash it between batches (unless there's some allergens involved, like nuts, or if I'm switching between gluten and gluten free doughs, etc). I usually just scrape the bowl really well and then start my next batch. But if you don't consider yourself experienced enough to make those judgement calls, then err on the side of caution and wash with soap always.