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Old 02-15-2011, 10:22 PM   #1
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Dessert Ideas - gala for 350 - Under the sea theme

Desserts are my least favorite thing to make. I have a some pretty good tricks, but they don't get my imagination going the way savory does. So I am asking the aid of the imaginations here!

I am working on the menu for the annual "big" fundraiser at my church. It is a dinner and auction gala. Passed apps, plated salads, buffet main course, family style desserts at each table is the general menu format. Passed apps keeps folks moving around the silent auction tables; family style desserts gets them back to the table for the live auction part.

The theme this year is "Under the Sea", so the bulk of the menu will lean toward seafood, with other choices modeled on famous ocean liner menus to satisfy those who hate fishy stuff. There is no geographic element to the theme (we aren't doing a luau or a clam bake or an islands thing, just under the sea). The names and descriptions of the menu dishes carry out the theme as much as the items themselves do. The food at our gala always aims to be top notch - no compromises type stuff - if we don't succeed, it won't be because we didn't try.

The cooking is done in a "more than adequate to feed 200" institutional, school kitchen. 350 meals, done well, stretches it and we always end up renting some equipment and working some magic outside. The tables are set for 10, so the space for placing the desserts is tight. At least 2 desserts of about 6 servings per table needed, with some "extras" for providing on request. Service done by "slightly trained" but well supervised teens, who clamor for the chance to be chosen each year. The budget is not unlimited, but because the labor is donated, it has always been more than adequate. We gross about $100,000.

I have a few ideas, none of which excite me. What would you do?

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Old 02-15-2011, 10:53 PM   #2
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Are you going elegant or fun? There are lots of ideas for ocean/beach themed cupcakes after a quick Google search. Also the blue jello/gummy fish types of desserts. Something served on those plastic oyster shells would be pretty. Godiva makes seashell shaped chocolates, but that may be out of your budget range....hmmmm.....

Since it is for a church, maybe the Christian fish symbol cookie cut-outs?
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:00 PM   #3
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Thanks! Really going more for elegant. I did have a passing thought about cupcakes, because they are so trendy, but 350 are a PITA, given the low WOW factor. Actually the Godiva chocolates as an element are in my mental inventory, so feel free to expand on what you would do with them
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:05 PM   #4
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Well, this may be out of my league, but I'll give it some thought over night. I love a challenge!!
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:09 AM   #5
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Also the blue jello/gummy fish types of desserts.

Great minds think alike. That was the first thing that came to mind when I read the theme.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:11 AM   #6
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As for the Godiva chocolates, I would just scatter them across the tables, either the dining tables themselves or on the serving tables, but not in bowls, just around the tablecloths, almost like someone just dropped them there.

Oh, a quick easy and almost universally enjoyed dish would be a shrimp cocktail. Served in a very large bowl (maybe a fishbowl) on ice with cocktail sauce would fit the theme and be easy to serve.
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:15 AM   #7
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I'm reminded of a fairly awful thing we made in home ec: under the sea salad. It had green Jello and cottage cheese plus some other stuff. I think the cottage cheese was supposed to look like the sand at the bottom of the sea.
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:03 AM   #8
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You can use the Godiva or Guylian chocolate seashells to garnish the top and sides of a frosted cake.
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Old 02-16-2011, 03:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieDrews View Post
Are you going elegant or fun? There are lots of ideas for ocean/beach themed cupcakes after a quick Google search. Also the blue jello/gummy fish types of desserts. Something served on those plastic oyster shells would be pretty. Godiva makes seashell shaped chocolates, but that may be out of your budget range....hmmmm.....

Since it is for a church, maybe the Christian fish symbol cookie cut-outs?
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Originally Posted by joesfolk View Post
Great minds think alike. That was the first thing that came to mind when I read the theme.
I saw a really cool looking Jello creation one time. It was done in a clear bowl (could use a new goldfish bowl), with blue Jello, with gummy fish and sea creatures "swimming" in it.

Barbara
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:08 AM   #10
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NoraC, I think I would do mini desserts,,,

Mini cheesecakes
Mini creampuffs
Mini biscotti
Mini fruit tarts
Mini eclairs
Mini cupcakes (yes I said cupcakes, tho they may be trendy, everyone loves them)
Mini brownies

Mini, mini, mini, well you get my point... You could place these on small cupcakes towers in the middle of each table...
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