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Wendy DeBord

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I finished with one job and tommarrow I begin at my second club and my second approach to Easter. I have a few components planned out but not my whole menu and so I thought I'd ask what everyone else is doing?

This is always one of the hardest sweet tables to narrow into style because thereare so many good posiblities to choose from. Do I go with hens and chicks or rabbits and carrots, lambs, or alittle of each theme, etc............believe me I think too hard on details.

I've desided to go very, very "cute" this Easter, after all my goal is pleasing a large group of average people not a group of gourmets dining at the art institute. I bought a green carpet, I think it's like indoor outdoor stuff-well it's like fake grass. A 12' by 3 feet wide strip to lay on my buffet table was only $20.00. Then I found white picket fencing (like for rabbits) at the home depot too, it was like $4. per 3' lenght.

I'm currently planning to line the back edge of my tables with this fence. In front of the fence (about 6" wide) I plan on making it like a flower garden along the whole length and turning it in on both ends for stabilaty (like a large U). It will be styrofoam wrapped with green tissue paper (with the fence attached to the styrofoam), then I'll use lemon leaves through-out. I'm still trying to figure out how to cover the styrofoam quicker and more naturally on the cheap, any ideas?

My flowers will be an assortment of goodies. For some reason (don't laugh too loud) but these people love food on sticks..................so...........I'm giving it to them.

I plan on doing, fruit kabobs cut into flowers, loosely (since I don't have molds for this) flower shaped stuckers, cookies on sticks and marshellows (Nights sb flavor this time) flowers. As a avid gardener this posses some delemia to me because I don't intermingle my flowers-we'll see if I can break away from doing arranged groupings.......... Anyway I plan on making butterflies out of melted candy coatings (so their strong) and attaching them to wires which bong in spirals above my flowers.

The butterflies will be carried through-out the whole table into my cakes, tortes and etc.... I have a bunch of sugar molded eggs left over from last year-but naturally I don't want to use them-that would be too convient-no I don't think they fit into this...........yet.........but I'm thinking.... possibly putting them in a huge easter basket cake as a centerpiece. (But they do a double seating and I don't want to make duplicate elborately decorated cakes-so that's not resolved)

Then my brain practically freezes with all the possiblities. I know I will have to make traditional favorites like carrot cake and NY cheesecake- thats fine. I'm going to make 3 selections from P D & A's competition issue, so I'm excited to work those. A champange brulee over strawberries. I'm also thinking about doing a raspberry faniciers and meringue nests with passion fruit curd (they'll get marzipan bees for garnish).

I want to use my oval petite four molds-but as of yet haven't desided upon a look/goal. I want to do something cleaver with my joconde (color and print/drawing) and perhaps marble the tops-but.....I can't get a visual in my head on it yet. Any ideas on that...how to pull off these to look like petite eggs??

But (well you knew I'd have a "but").........I'm still looking for inspiration.

Are you doing anything different or do you like your traditional pastries on this day?

What are you planning?

P.S. Specificly, I'd love to here what your kitchen is planning Neil? I'm sure it will be amazing.

Edited by Sinclair (log)
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What am I planning? After reading this...I am planning to fly whereever you are!

Pictures, please, of the whole event! Sounds fabulous. Would love the champagne brulee recipe!

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O.k. very funny! I'll post photos when I'm done.

First problem..........they changed the room and typical setup of my tables. All the food will be served in their bar- to accomodate more seating=more profit. Thats a drag, in that the bar area is sort of dark and a much smaller room then they usually use. It's got tight entrances too.

Add to that, they do seatings-which translates into 250 people all hitting your buffet at once. I'm glad I'm not doing the hot side buffet-they'll never get into the room with out burning themselfs and others trying to replace empty hotel pans in chaffers.

So I have some rethinking to do.

I can't believe no one is make Easter pastries.................common guys, what's your Easter bringing?

P.S. The brulee recipe-I haven't made this one previously. I can pm you with it to avoid copyright issues. Give me over the weekend to send it, o.k.?

Edited by Sinclair (log)
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for tommorow I'm making a palm sunday fig cake from an old farmhouse cookbook I found in a charity shop...

for easter, simnel cake with pistachio marzipan, cherry/almond cake, and a pie for easter monday. oh, and hot cross buns! :wub:

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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I'm doing the Easter-in-the-country thing: Roast ham, roasted asparagus with garlic oil, garlic mashed potatoes, peas, stuffed tomatoes, wild leeks (if I can find them) and a lemon merringue pie for dessert.

I am humbled by people making their own marzipan *as a decoration* for their cakes!

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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For breakfast I am making a batch of hot cross buns. No citron or that kinda stuff in 'em just golden raisins.

We always go to New Jersey to visit family for Easter dinner so I bring a dessert. In the past I've brought a butterfly cake (i.e. 2 round layer cakes cut and aseembled to look like a butterfly), cream puffs/eclairs, or a trifle. This year I am bringing Nigella Lawson's chocolate cloud cake with malted milk eggs in the cloud center.

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I figured this thread was mainly aimed at pros, so I hadn't chimed in. For our family dinners, I'm going with a few lemon cheesecakes on hazelnut crusts. I'll top them with Herme's lemon cream and then finish with candied lemon peel atop whip cream rosettes.

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I hope to include everyone Kevin, maybe I should have been clearer.... I just wrote what I was doing-professional or not.

It wierd because I struggle between traditional items and wanting to make more interesting items (for me personally). Looks like Ling has the same struggle. I don't really know what MOST people see as a traditional Easter dessert (I can think of many items but not one definitive dessert).

I didn't come from a family that was religious, nor one with a leaning toward Christianity or one that kept any traditions. I'm not exactly sure what most people serve for dessert on Easter at home? We had Easter dinners just because it was something everyone else was doing, seriously. My Mother was a chef so we always ate well and had a variety at each course. Honestly, I sort of gather my ideas from others/books/media and making assumptions more then from experiences in my own background.

I try to make fantasy sweet tables to some extent...........Willy Wonka's world was a auesome fantasy for me (a kid with a huge sweet tooth) and it would be so cool to be able to put out something in that realm so kids and my adults would be wowed and given something worthy to make a memory. (if only money and time were more generous-I'd really go nuts on sweet tables)

Then I wonder what other professionals are doing too. Maybe to judge/compare myself, but to also gain ideas I could borrow. I still have a week infront of me to change and or refine my ideas. Every night I look thru books and my files trying to spark more creativity in my work.

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Here's the champange brulee recipe. It's from "Cre'me Brule'e" by Sara Lewis, published by Hamlyn 2003.

6 yolks

2/3 c. fine sugar

1/2c. dry champagne

1/2c. heavy cream

plus sugar to brulee with

Make like a zabaglione over a double boiler, cooking the cream with the rest of the custard ingredients until very thick. You cool this, then serve over fresh berries, she uses raspberries, I'll be using strawberries (they're cheaper). You brulee the tops like usual (sprinkle sugar over the custard and torch).

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I work at a private golf club, our members are all multi-millionaires and when they are at the club they like it to be like their home, so we don't do anything out of the ordinary unless they request something for a private party. I have one part time assistant, she is a culinary student in her last quarter of school. She is a great help. We will be serving 300 to 350 people maybe 50 will be children. We have tried to make the dessert buffet include things from warm to cold and from regulaar sized tortes to mini pastries. Here is our menu for this Easter.

In chaffing dishes: warm strawberry-rhubarb cobbler

warm lemon-blueberry pudding

full size tortes: strawberry shortcake Maryann 10"

chocolate-orange bombe 10"

white chocolate bundt cake 10"

mini pastries: tarts=lemon, fruit and fresh berry, chocolate cream, coconut cream

cream puffs=light and chocolate puffs filled with pastry cream and

whipped cream wiith pastel fondant topping

cheesecake mousse in chocolate mini cups with berries

Victorian orange cakes

chocolate-hazelnut cakes

cookies: coconut macaroons

lemon pecan

French butter

raspberry and chocolate financiers

fudge brownies

white chocolate brownies

almond toffee bars

candy: bittersweet and white chocolate coated rochers

chocolate fudge

white fudge


sesame brittle

Childrens table will have mini Easter egg cakes, decorated cookies and jello

For the breakfast selections we will make cinnamon rolls, danish, scones, mini

muffins and yeast coffee cake.

check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

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I'd like to see your cloud cake if you take a photo, please?.........I don't follow Lawson but that sounds interesting. What does the cake consists of?

Hi Sinclair, here's a link to the recipe and the pic on the link is exactly how the cake looks. The top and sides get crackly, and it sinks a little in the middle making it perfect for the whipped cream.

Chocolate Cloud Cake

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P.S. Specificly, I'd love to here what your kitchen is planning Neil? I'm sure it will be amazing.

That sounds like quite an elaborate spread you're doing, Wendy. I'm in the restaurant team at the Bellagio pastry kitchen, and as far as I know we aren't doing anything special for Easter. I haven't seen any holiday stuff coming out of the other groups either, except for some big showpieces being put together in the chocolate room (yeah, they have a whole separate kitchen just for chocolate stuff). Mostly various types and sizes of molded eggs and baskets, but also a giant bunny made out of huge molded chocolate eggs. I'm told those will be on display in the Buffet area.

Who knows, maybe the chefs will spring something on us at the last minute? Jeez, I hope not. :shock:

Speaking of showpieces, I've been noticing that some competitors in the upcoming World Team Pastry Competition have been developing and practicing their showpieces in our chocolate room. They seem to come in after I leave for the day, so I'm not sure who they are, but the pieces are spectacular. Maybe not as tricky as gold medal team from two years ago, but still... This is the first time I've ever seen really elaborate, world-class work like this up-close and personal, and it's even more impressive than photos or TV. Very inspiring stuff.

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I'm making a lemon tart (Once Upon a Tart cookbook) and will serve with Blueberry sauce. My sister-in-law will be making some cream puffs and also a cheese cake. When I was little my Grandmother would always make a yellow layer cake w/coconut icing.

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Like your decoration ideas. Reminds me of an Easter tradition I had forgotten about. I had a "secret" spot behind our rhododendron bushes outside our front door where I would go to read books and have tea parties when I was little. On Easter morning, my dad would say, "Hey, I planted some seeds out front--let's check if anything came up!" Sprouting up from between the lilies-of-the-valley would be a rainbow of lollipops.

On a more practical note:

I would stick with things normally found in a garden--i.e., no lambs or chickens. Bunnies and carrots are fine! I would love to see it done in a naturalistic style with brown bunnies and robins' eggs, like an English country garden thing. I would personally find that more appetizing than bright candy colors or pastels--more soothing after a big meal.

And a suggestion for the styrofoam--you can usually get green styrofoam at craft stores, or you could get florist's foam.

Probably too late, I know. Would love to see pictures.

Queen of Grilled Cheese


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Tonight I'm going to make a trial run of an Austrian bread my Mom usually makes for Easter called "Milchbrot" or 'Milkbread'. If it goes ok, I'll make a second loaf on Saturday. We usually eat it for breakfast or a snack.

I"m ignorant on what distinguishes certain breads (I don't bake bread a lot--yet anyway) so I don't know what its American or French counterpart is if it exists.

The ingredients are:

yeast, milk, bread flour, salt, lemon zest, melted butter, sugar, and raisins. Top is glazed with an egg wash. It's formed into a round loaf and gets a nice brown crust and firm medium crumb.

Tastes great with sweet butter on it!

I think there is a more elaborate German/Austrian Easter Bread that may also have almonds in it (Osterstollen) and is fashioned into a big braid, but I love this simple loaf.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Well, Chef did spring an Easter surpise on us after all. For the next few days we are making a special Easter dessert for the Palio shops at the Bellagio. It consists of a molded chocolate egg, vertical on a small base, with the top broken off and a gold ribben around the middle. This is filled with white chocolate mousse layered hazelnut/royaltine crunch, and topped with a small dome of exotic creme (yellow, to look like the egg yolk).

On top of that, tomorrow we are starting a completely new dessert menu for Jasmine, the hotel's Chinese restaurant. It's going to be a long weekend...

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I've decided to tweak my lemon cheesecake. I'm going with the lemon cheesecake in a hazelnut-graham crust. But I'm altering my garnish to the following: approx. 1/2" layer of lemon mousse atop the cheesecake; thin layer of lemon gelee on top of that. Piping on base and top with Italian Meringue and into each slice, a half-moon hazelnut tuile.

I've never really taken my cheesecakes beyond what the recipe offers, so I'm eager to see how this turns out, especially with the three differing mouthfeels/intensities of lemon and the added crunch of the tuile tying into the flavor of the crust.

I guess I've been reading the gullet too long to just do the norm. :wink:

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I made a Simnel Cake yesterday - difficult to judge when cooked as you put marizpan in a middle layer of the cake - tastes delicious!

Also, hot cross buns with LOTS of spice - I have to put mixed peel and currants in mine. Tried making them with a sour dough starter, it makes for a much crisper outside ..

Here in the UK is the day when we pig out on chocolate - can't wait

Danielle Ellis

Edinburgh Scotland


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it's probably too late for your buffet tomorrow but I am a caterer and I use wheatgrass quite a lot for a natural display look. Especially for things on sticks or skewers and another fun thing you can do that people like is a chocolate fondue or chocolate fountain. Also for the kids I always do the simple approach of chocolate dipped marshmellows decorated with sprinkles and on long skewers coming out of something fun. Cookie jars and retro stuff would work with the bunnies and grass and even picket fence. Also doll houses make good dessert display items, as do old fashioned toys such as Tonka trucks, fire engines made from metal, and wooden pull along toys in bright colors. Nostalgic but still "elegant"

shabby chic even.

Happy holidays, your menus all sound wonderful. I am so glad I am not a pastry chef any longer, too much work in too short a period of time.

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...




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The Chocolate Cloud Cake came out excellently....every bit gone. I folded a few ounces of chocolate into the whipped cream and placed pastel colored speckled chocolate malted milk eggs in the center. This is definitely one of Nigella's best recipes.

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