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December 28, 2011

Great Food Products for Entertaining

by Anne Paddock

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.

Dufour Pastry Kitchens
Dufour Pastry Kitchens, based out of Brooklyn, New York creates more than 40 hors d’oeuvres with all butter puff pastry.  Although the plain puff pastry is available in the frozen section at Whole Foods or Fresh Market, the pre-made hors d’oeuvres are difficult to find at grocery stores.pastr
However, the hors d’oeuvres can be purchased on-line through the company: www.dufourpastrykitchens.com or through www.gourmetfoodstore.com who promptly ships orders out within 24 hours. After an order is placed on-line through the Gourmet Food Store, a representative typically calls to verify the shipping address to avoid errors that would jeopardize the quality of the products if delivery is delayed.FS_Mushroom Truffle Risotto Phyllo Flower_8x10
The products can be purchased in boxes of 12, 36, 70, or 100 hors d’oeuvres and arrive overnight on dry ice. The Mushroom Truffle Risotto in Phyllo, Spanakopita, Brie en Croute with Fruits and Nuts, and the Swiss and Bacon Mini Quiches are excellent and I keep a box in the freezer for those times I need quick hors d’oeuvres and don’t want to serve nuts or cheese. Just bake in a preheated oven for a few minutes and serve. The prices vary depending on the type of hors d’oeuvres and amount ordered.

Galaxy 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.523226_10151021171687816_1483321825_n

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.578954_10151085666927816_1489215536_n

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.248627_10151188918587816_86917385_n

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.

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