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Perishible fillings on dessert table


beacheschef
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A customer wants a dessert table at her wedding reception filled with baked items that her guests can take home with them as the wedding favor. I'll provide the boxes and all petit fours on the table.

HOWEVER - she wants mini eclairs, cannoli, cheesecakes... (refrigerated items)

My first thought is that I won't make any items that are perishible - the liability that someone will become ill is huge and it's expected that the guests won't consume these desserts until at least the next day.

I'm very comfortable recommending non-perishible desserts for a fantastic dessert table. The bride really wants the items I named above.

Is there some way to make these fillings (pastry and cannoli cream) non-dairy or safe to leave at room temp? And, do these alternative methods taste good?

Thanks!

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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Is she (the bride) willing to have the boxed up goodies put out an hour before the party ends? This way, they're refrigerated almost up to the point of departure and then the guests can consume them on the way out or wait until they are home and refrigerate them.

The other thing I'm surprized she's unwilling to consider is that by the time the guests eat these little delights - the eclairs/puffs and cannolis may have softened so they're not as good as they were when freshly made. Maybe you should give her a few to try so she can see what happens to an eclair or puff after 4 hours?

Ahh, the little joys of weddings are without number, right?! :raz:

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This is one of those topics that could turn into yet another debate about how the actual incidence of people becoming sick from spoiled dairy and the actual occurrence of spoiled dairy are two different things. A cream puff sitting on a sweet table in an air conditioned room is NOT going to spoil in 4 hours, and that's all I'm gonna say about that.

I know we now live in a paranoid liability filled world......if there's even a 1 in a million chance that somebody could get a little bit queasy from something of yours they consumed, then you don't even want to take the chance, as small as it is. Sigh.

A couple of things I will mention:

Ultra pasteurized cream. Sure it's more expensive, but I use it exclusively, not only for safety reasons, but because it's stable as hell. I never even need to add stabilizers to it.

I do believe there are non-dairy custard mix options for you, if you really want to go there.

I don't know about you, but I'm brutally honest with my brides. Sure, they want what they want, and if they can't get it from you, they will probably go elsewhere. That's never bothered me. If they want the impossible or the un-doable, or they want something for nothing, or they want to put me in a bad position disaster-wise or liability-wise, then I have no problem saying, "see ya".

If you are totally uncomfortable with the whole perishable-desserts-on-the-buffet-table idea and just don't want to take any chances, just tell the bride "no" and tell her why. Her options are to go elsewhere, or to take your suggestion of making non-perishable desserts. Take the angle that you are "looking out for her and her guests' safety". When you come at it that way, they tend to back down a little. You can say something scary like, "it wouldn't bode well for your wedding experience if you have guests barfing in the table centerpieces....." That vision alone might get her to re-think her whole idea. :wink:

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You said it sister!!

Frankly, I opt for the brutally honest method, esp. living in Florida (the land of sunshine and lawsuits!).

Just didn't know if there were techniques out there that I wasn't familiar with.

I'm not worried about the people that will eat the petit fours later in the evening (expanding on the 2 or 4 hour out of refrigeration rule). I'm concerned about all of the people that will leave these boxes of desserts in their car or in their hotel room on the dresser until the next day before eating.

Yes, the desserts may be safe for consumption the next day, but then again, they may not be. My reputation isn't worth those odds.

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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You could set them out on ice too. I mean if she's willing to pay for all this drama. Y'know like you could use those stacking stainless steel pans they use in steam tables & stuff and fill one with ice, place the smaller one on top and camoflage it so it looks pretty and set the desserts out that way. Or ice down some big containers set trays on top or some such a thing.

Just a chilling thought for you. :biggrin:

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K8's ice idea is a fine one indeed. I'd consider that for sure. Problem solved.

I'm concerned about all of the people that will leave these boxes of desserts in their car or in their hotel room on the dresser until the next day before eating.

Regarding what people do with the pastries once they've left the premises.....I'd put stickers on the to-go boxes stating that you assume no responsibility for mis-handling of the product once it's left the premises. State that the pastries should be kept refrigerated. :smile:

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Ice down certain containers on the dessert table...great idea! With warning labels...

I'm meeting with the bride in a few days and will be able to tell her that "Yes - I CAN provide you with cannoli, eclairs, cheesecakes, etc., under the following conditions".

Saying "yes, but" is better than "no". (famous kid trickery!!)

Thanks for helping me find a different way to say this.

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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I totally agree with ChefPeon's comments. I think there's a time and a place for different desserts...you wouldn't want to give your guests ice cream as a party favor...it's just not the time or the place.

I simply would not offer those types of desserts for that type of use. I wouldn't put them under ice, nor would I put a warning label on it which would just freak everybody out. I WOULD, however, give her a long list of things that WOULD work in as favors, that would not need to be refridgerated. Focus on what is possible, rather than what's not possible, and she'll be a happy camper. Remember, she is hiring you because you are a professional in the field, and you are advising her on the best desserts for her event.

Why not offer her a dessert buffet so she can serve the all that refrigeratable stuff then? I get tons of brides who want mini desserts instead of cake, or maybe just a small cutting cake as well.

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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I met with the bride and was very honest with her about the perishability of the desserts she "really" wanted on this dessert table. I also brought her quite an assortment of delicious, NON-perishable desserts (creme puffs filled with espresso buttercream, topped with bittersweet chocolate, for example).

In the end, she understood my concern and was pleased with the creative options that she never even thought of. So - if anyone else faces this situation, I had good results with this method.

Mary

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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