How to Serve Dessert Properly

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Many cooks think of dessert as delighting only the taste buds. But, with a little forethought, you can delight the eyes and mind as well. Several factors go into the presentation of a winning dessert but you can master the art with a few simple strategies.

Consider Theme, Portion Size and Garnishes

A formal dessert requires your fanciest small plate, ramekin or bowl; a fresh spoon or fork; and a dessert napkin. A fun occasion might call for something nontraditional, such as dessert served in a teacup or shot glass, or on a stick or skewer. A dessert such as cobbler calls for a hearty portion, while a delicate treat like small cookies can be served three at a time, aside a filled platter for those who desire more. Add a dollop of freshly whipped cream, mint sprig, candied walnut or pert raspberry to the side of the plate to enhance your presentation.

Timing and Temperature

Proper timing of your dessert is imperative. If a small meal has been served, offer dessert while still at the table, when the last guest has finished his meal. If you are hearing, "I'm stuffed," wait 45 minutes and tempt everyone with your dessert and a drink away from the table. To really impress your guests, chill your plates or bowls beforehand when serving cold treats.