Restaurant Dessert Boards -10 Easy Steps to A Memorable Dessert
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Charcuterie boards are all the rage – and we are not talking about your average meat and cheese selection. No, the humble charcuterie board has been elevated to include everything from extravagant breakfast pancake platters, butter boards, fondue boards, creative holiday themed boards and of course a delectable smorgasbord of sweet treats.
These grazing boards make the ideal addition to any restaurant menu, especially when it comes to desserts, as we all know that annoying friend or partner that never orders dessert, but somehow always ends up eating all of yours. Dessert platters offer a variety of small bites, making it ideal for sharing, especially with those “no-dessert-for me’ friends.
Take a look at these 10 easy steps to create memorable dessert boards for your restaurant.
What Is a Dessert Board
Dessert boards are a smorgasbord of bite size sweet treats that are ideal for sharing, and in a restaurant, it is the perfect platform to showcase the chef’s wide range of skills and creativity, as the possibilities of what you can create are endless.
Just like a traditional meat and cheese charcuterie board, a dessert charcuterie board incorporates numerous sweet elements, from bite size treats, chocolates, candies, fruits, nuts and dips on one platter, making it the ideal sharing dessert for any number of people.
Choosing the Right Board
As with all things in life, the perfect charcuterie board dessert starts with the perfect foundation. And in this case, you need to choose the right board or platter to showcase your sweet treats.
Firstly, you need to choose what material would be best suited for your needs – wood, slate, plastic, marble or custom-made boards? All of these have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Wood is a timeless classic but cleaning it and keeping it sanitary can prove a hassle in a busy restaurant. Marble and slate are durable and sturdy, but they are also heavy and cumbersome and can chip and crack easily in the frantic hustle and bustle of a restaurant kitchen. Plastic is durable, cost-effective, and easy to clean, but might come across as cheap. Custom-designed boards with your logo imprinted on them are classy and elegant, but if cost is a factor, they might not be ideal.
The shape and size of your boards are also crucial. It’s no use having extravagant large platters when your tables are small. Also keep in mind that you will most likely need various sizes of platters for your desserts if you are offering dessert platters for different sizes. For example, a dessert platter for 2 will be a lot smaller than a dessert platter for 10.
Tools of the Trade
Assembling your dessert boards should be a creative endeavor of tastes and textures to make each one of the elements on your board truly pop. In order to best present your delectable dessert board ideas, you need the right tools.
The number one must-have tool to assemble your charcuterie board desserts are various sizes of tweezers. Tweezers are ideal for picking up small dessert bites and precisely placing them where you want. Tweezers are also ideal for placing smaller elements like edible flowers, gold leaf, and other garnishes on your boards in a hygienic and precise manner.
Another must-have tool is a simple piping bag. With the use of a piping bag, you can make delicate dollops of sauces and creams on your plates between other elements in order to create different textures and shapes. Having different shapes and sizes of textures and flavors on your boards are crucial to creating a visually appealing dessert.
Other tools to consider using include brushes, which are ideal to create interesting smears of sauces. Small bowls and spoons are also great to hold various sauces on your boards, and if you are looking to create an interesting visual appeal skewers are great to create height and added dimension.
Choosing the Right Desserts
Choosing the right desserts for this type of presentation is crucial. Bear in mind that unlike a single serving of a conventional plated dessert, your dessert board might be standing out on a table for quite a while, as people nibble chat and slowly pick away at your delectable creations.
So, with this in mind, certain desserts, like ice-cream-based convections, are definitely not ideal, as they will melt within minutes. The same goes for desserts that need to be served hot. Stick to desserts that will last long and look and taste good at room temperature, like cakes, pies, cookies and candy.
Choosing the right desserts for your boards is also more complicated than just choosing desserts that taste good, you need to have a visually interesting board too. And in order to create this you need to choose elements that have different textures, like a soft and creamy chocolate mousse contrasted with some savory and crunchy elements like pretzels, nuts or popcorn next to it.
Another element to keep in mind is to have contrasting colors and heights on your board to make your desserts really pop and entice customers into ordering them. In order to achieve this, you can add fruit skewers to create height and choose a color palette to create cohesion on your plates.
Also try to create a balance of flavors and contrasting elements between indulgent and healthy. In order to achieve this, try incorporating fresh fruits and nuts next to more indulgent cakes and pastries.
Keep Allergies in Mind
Now more than ever everybody seems to have an allergy, dietary preference or food intolerance. Keep this in mind when deciding what elements should be on your dessert charcuterie boards.
Nuts and peanuts are the most common food allergy, so if you want to increase the appeal of your boards, try to create desserts and dessert elements that are nut free. Other common allergies include milk, eggs and gluten. But if you can’t fathom creating desserts without these ingredients, consider creating a special allergy safe board that is free of all the common food allergens and safe for most customers to indulge in.
Arranging Your Desserts
Now that you have decided on what type of desserts you would like to have on your dessert smorgasbord, it is time to plan how you will be arranging them in order to create the most visually appealing product.
Focus on creating a visually interesting display by creating height. This can be achieved by placing taller elements in the middle of your board and filling in the empty spaces with smaller treats.
It is also important to decide on a cohesive theme that will align with your restaurant’s brand or aesthetic. For example, if you are a Mexican restaurant, focus on creating a colorful vibrant Mexican-inspired board, and if you are a fine dining minimalist restaurant your dessert board ideas should reflect this and be clean and sleek to match your aesthetic.
Another important factor to bear in mind is that you will need to be able to tell customers exactly what it is that is on their dessert charcuterie board. And with so many elements on one plate this can become a little confusing. In order to avoid confusion, it is important to either have your servers properly explain to your customers what all the different elements on your boards are once they are served, or you need to label all of the elements with cards or by writing on a slate board. This will help guests identify what they are eating and will also help them avoid specific allergens or dislikes on their plates.
Add Some Flair
Dessert boards are all about visual intrigue and flair and that perfect Instagramable photo opportunity. Creating charcuterie board desserts are truly a great opportunity for chefs to showcase their creativity and flair. If you want to up your smorgasbord game, consider adding elements like gold leaf, edible flowers, or custom logo chocolate decorations.
Another great way to add dramatic flair to your dessert board ideas is to choose a theme. Think of colorful and interesting themes like, carnival or tropical paradise, or you can even do specific holiday themed boards, like special valentine’s day or Halloween boards. The only limit to what you can create with charcuterie board desserts is your imagination.
Serving Your Dessert Board
Now for the main moment when all your hard work is about to pay off- serving your dessert board. Unlike conventional individual plated desserts, there are numerous ways in which you can present and serve your dessert platters.
Consider enticing guests to try your sweet treat boards by putting a sample platter on display in your dining room or have a dessert cart move through the restaurant to show guests what sweet treats are on offer. Both of these are excellent ways to boost sales of desserts, as it is definitely true that people eat with their eyes first.
Once guests have ordered a dessert platter it is also wise to have a server describe the desserts and their ingredients that are on the board, so that diners are clued up on what exactly there are about to enjoy. Servers can also recommend a personal selection of desserts based on guests’ preferences in order to provide a more bespoke personalized service.
You might also consider refreshing your boards throughout the service by adding fresh fruit or swapping out empty dishes.
Storing Your Desserts
Minimizing waste and maximizing the shelf life of your dessert components are a vital part of any restaurant and will positively impact your bottom line in the end.
In order to keep your restaurant turning a profit and to keep your sweet treats and its components as fresh as possible for as long as possible it is vital to store your finished products properly.
Most baked goods will keep best at room temperature in an airtight container. Cookies and brownies will stay fresh for about five days, and muffins breads and pastries will start to go stale between two and three days. A great tip from Martha Steward is to put a slice of bread in the container with your baked goods in order to help absorb moisture that will turn your sweet treats stale.
Cakes and pies are also best left at room temperature in an airtight container, just make sure to wrap pieces of your cakes and pies that have been cut in plastic wrap to maintain their freshness.
If you know you are not going to use your desserts before they go stale, it is best to freeze them immediately. Make sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to lock out as much air and moisture as possible and they should last for about four months.
Where to Get All of Your Dessert Board Needs
If you want to elevate your dessert charcuterie boards and get the best fresh produce, edible flowers, and fresh precut fruits and veggies to wow your guests, look no further than Riviera Produce for all your wholesale food supply needs.
Riviera Produce is your number one trusted restaurant food distributor sourcing wholesale produce from trusted family farms and delivering to NYC’s five boroughs, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
Our fast and easy online ordering system lets you order up until midnight for next day delivery, making them the ideal convenient partner in assuring all your restaurant supply needs are always fresh and always on time.
Visit Riviera Produce today to start placing your orders and get creative with those dessert charcuterie boards!