How Sweet It Is
Catering in today’s world can be demanding, with countless food allergies and dietary restrictions throwing a wrench into the mix. However, with a little imagination and ingenuity, making pastries for the masses can be a successful business venture.
The most important thing to be sure of before starting is that you know your client and have a good idea of what they want. You should also have an open line of communication with them, so if either one of you has any questions or concerns, you can relay it to one another ahead of time rather than scrambling to correct something the day of the big event.
When I was little, my grandmother ran a bakery out of her home catering weddings, and something she loved to make were petite fours. While a bit old-fashioned, these delicate pastries can still have their place alongside today’s embellished cupcakes and macarons.
The beauty of these is that they are easy to make large amounts of in a relatively short period of time so that you can focus on adorning them with intricate designs and making more than enough for everyone to enjoy. At their most basic level, they are small, bite-sized cakes coated in a royal icing glaze, giving them a smooth, creamy finish. Their simplicity comes from the fact that all it takes to make them is baking a few thin sheet cakes, filling and stacking them, using a cutter such as a cookie cutter to cut them into your desired shape, then coating them with the glaze and allowing them to cool. In addition, because of what goes into them, these are relatively simple to adapt to meet dietary restrictions, such as gluten free and dairy free.
Going hand in hand with petite fours, something that will help to simplify your endeavors is to make miniature items. All too often, a caterer will pour their heart and soul into making full-sized pastries, only to see half-eaten bites left over on plates when all is said and done. With making smaller items, people who only want to taste your delicious creation can do so, while others who may want a little more can take multiples if they so desire. Some items that tend to do well when made miniature or bite-sized are muffins, cupcakes, donuts, and cinnamon rolls, just to name a few.
If you’re in search of something that can be made quickly, creampuffs are another good option. Once the pastry dough is made, all that they need is to be filled, typically with a piping bag, and you’re set for your next big event!
Although it’s a little bit of a cheat, another sweet treat that does well mingling among other pastries are chocolate-dipped fruits, particularly strawberries. Once you’ve melted your chocolate, all that is needed is to dip the fruits, place them on parchment paper, decorate them as desired, chill, and within minutes, you can have a significant amount finished and ready to serve. This is another way to provide gluten free options to guests who may have special dietary needs.
If you want to give your clients something decadent but also want to limit the amount of time that goes into preparation, mini cheesecakes are almost always a hit with any crowd. With graham cracker or cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter, you can simply place a few spoonfuls into the bottom of a cupcake wrapper for the crust, add in cheesecake filling, and top as desired for something that’s quick to whip up. These can be made gluten free as well by either using gluten free graham crackers or cookies, or simply by omitting the crust altogether.
One pastry that’s become increasingly popular in recent years is the cake pop, and there’s a reason for that: they’re incredibly simple to make. You simply make a cake, break it up into a bowl, combine it with frosting or another filling of your choice, form it into whatever shape you prefer, place it on a stick, and chill it until it has firmed a bit. Once this is complete, you can dip it into either a candy coating or a frosting glaze to coat the outside, decorate as desired, allow the coating to harden, and then you’re finished! In addition to being easy, this is an item that tends to be well-liked by customers due to being bite-sized. In addition, this is yet another recipe that is incredibly easy to customize to meet dietary restrictions and allergy needs.
Tartlets are another good direction to go if you’re looking for something to make in bulk relatively quickly. Once you’ve made the shells, you can get as creative as you would like with the fillings and create a variety of options without breaking a sweat. This can even be done simply by using the same filling throughout, but adding different fruit toppings to each item. You’ll look like you spent hours making these when in reality, it was a fraction of the time.
The catering industry can be challenging, and finding items that are quick and easy to make that will please everyone is no small feat, but with a little planning and creativity, pastry making can be a fun and rewarding experience.
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