Great Food Products for Entertaining
Over the holidays, I rely on outside sources for many products – especially hors d’oeuvres and desserts – because these items can be stored in the freezer, are quick to thaw or bake, easy to serve (especially when time is limited) and delicious.
Cheese and crackers are certainly good but spinach and feta in puff pastry, mini quiche, or Brie en Croute are even better, especially on a cold wintry evening when friends drop by for a drink. In the same light, homemade desserts are always wonderful but not always feasible so when a spectacular dessert is needed last-minute, I turn to my freezer where stacks of products from two companies – Dufour Pastry Kitchens and Galaxy Desserts – line the shelves. Both companies make magnificent frozen hors d’oeuvres and desserts.
Galaxy Desserts was founded in 1998 in California by Jean-Yves Charon, a French pastry chef and Paul Levitan who both share a love of desserts. They set out to create exceptional individual desserts and they excel. The cakes are sold frozen in boxes of six and can be ordered from Galaxy Desserts (www.galaxydesserts.com) or from www.gourmetfoodstore.com.
The Ultimate Chocolate Blackout Cake, Lemon Tart, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Cheesecake, Lava Cake and the Raspberry Lemon or Double Chocolate Mousse Duo (sold in shot glasses) are excellent. The desserts arrive frozen and should be kept in the freezer until ready to use.
The lemon tart, chocolate cake, cheesecake, and mousse can be removed from the freezer two hours before serving and placed in the refrigerator to soften. Chocolate shavings can be placed on the top of the desserts or consider sautéing fresh sliced strawberries with a little water and sugar to make a thick strawberry sauce to pour over the cheesecake for a special presentation.
The Pineapple Upside Down Cake (frozen) should be placed in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes before serving. The mousse also comes in a variety pack with a double chocolate duo or cappuccino flavor. Each can be garnished with whipped cream, a raspberry, or a mint leaf, depending on your preference. The double chocolate mousse duo comes with white chocolate shavings on top thus requiring no additional garnish.
The cakes are sold by the box (six per box) and sell for about $36 per box while the mousse selections come 12 to a box for about $36 plus shipping.