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  • David Alan Caterers

Dessert Plating Techniques: Tips for Restaurant-Worthy Results

Your picky in-laws are coming over to eat. You want to throw a dinner party that will wow them. While you're pretty confident that you can cook a meal they'll love, you've always struggled with the presentation.

How do you make a clump of chocolate pie look like anything more than a chunk of chocolate pie? Do you throw a few strawberries on top and call it a day?

That's a good start, but you might want to try out a few additional dessert plating techniques. Add in a little color and play around with different textures.

These are only a few things you can do to dress up your plates. Check out this guide to learn even more.

Brighten Things up With Color

Chocolate cake is chocolate cake. When prepared correctly, it's a delicious masterpiece. The problem is that a single lump of chocolate cake on a plate doesn't look that appetizing.

It's missing a specific wow factor. The easiest way to dress it up is to add color. Top the cake with a few delicious berries.

Make sure when you're adding these garnishes that you keep the taste in mind. While a mint leaf might compliment a lemon square quite well in terms of color, the flavor will be a little off.

We'll dive into garnishes more a little bit later. For now, let's move on to texture.

Play Around With Texture

Every dessert plating guide will tell you to add some varying textures to each of your plates. Not only does it add visual interest, but it also makes eating the dish more enjoyable as well.

Think about when you eat cookies and cream ice cream. The sweetness of the ice cream is what draws you in, but what gets you to stay is the crunchy cookie. It excites the senses.

Consider Functionality

When you're choosing your dessert presentation ideas, always keep functionality in mind. If your setup involves using a bunch of garnishes, don't put it on a small plate.

Everything will fall off and create a horrible mess that you'll have to clean up. It would be best if you also considered the composition of the dessert.

You can put ice cream on a plate, but as it melts, it gets hard to eat. Creamy desserts work much better when placed in a bowl.

Allow Contrasting Temperatures

There's nothing like biting into a warm pie when it's topped with cool ice cream. Any how-to plate desserts guide dictates that warm and cold is a match made in heaven. That is unless you put a cold dessert on a hot plate.

Between the warmth of the plate and the heat of whatever it's paired with, chilly treats will melt too fast. Stick to putting them on a colder dish.

If you're serving a warm pie, feel free to put that on a lukewarm plate. That will help the dessert retain its heat a bit.

Add in a Focal Point

When you're working with a simple dessert like a regular old pastry, it can be hard to dress it up. You can try a syrup drizzle and powder sugar, but that's only going to do so much. You need a focal point.

You need something to draw the eye to the plate. You could add a large piece of fruit on top and couple it with the drizzle. This might be enough to make your plate look more attractive.

Be Careful With the Garnish

Going back to garnish, there's a limit. Again, you don't want to pair a lemon square with a sprig of mint. The taste will be too off.

That's not the only rule of garnish. Whole cashews will bring an exciting look to any plate. The problem is that they're impossible to stick with a fork.

Whomever you're serving it to will have a hard time eating them. The garnish needs to have some reason to be on the plate. If it has no function, you could probably do without it.

Keep Structure in Mind

When people see a large tower of cake, their eyes light up. They can't wait to sink their teeth into it.

Never forget about structure when you're creating a dessert. If the cake is too tall, consider using a 5 tiered cupcake stand instead.

Not only is a stand more stable, but you can serve different flavored cupcakes. It's a win-win.

Practice Makes Perfect

Learning how to plate desserts can be frustrating when you're starting. It takes much practice to incorporate all the flavors and emotions you want to use.

You will mess up plenty of times before you deliver your first show-stopping dessert to the table. All you can do is not give up until you get it right.

Continue baking and keep trying to deliver beautiful dessert plates to all your guests. Before you know it, you'll produce results that you see in all the top-rated restaurants.

Dessert Plating Techniques That Will Make You Look Like a Pro

Dessert is only a dessert until it's been dressed up and delivered to a table. The problem is figuring out how to make a simple dish like a tart or cake look interesting.

Add in splashes of color, experiment a bit with texture and temperature, and don't forget to use the right garnish. If you do this along with following the rest of the tips provided, we promise that you'll deliver dessert plating techniques that are restaurant-worthy.

You can't practice your technique if you have nothing to plate. Check out the recipes section of our blog daily to discover new dishes to prepare.


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