What's a good, portable dessert that I can make for a dinner party a day in advance?

Kenzi Wilbur


Sabine May 3, 2015
Seconding the tiramisu. You have to make it a day in advance anyways and put it in the fridge. And it is flexible enough to deal with a bumpy car ride without falling apart.
keg72 May 2, 2015
I'd suggest a tiramisu or a bread pudding -- the latter particularly if you'll be able to bake it at the party. Both transport very well because of the pans they're in. Oh, and a slab pie is another good idea for the same reason.
Diana May 1, 2015
My go-to dessert is frosted brownies with a layer of chocolate on top. I usually rotate between a creme de menthe frosting or a bailey's frosting to make it interesting. Just make your favorite brownie recipe, let cool and frost. Then I add a layer of melted chocolate on top. I get great reviews (and my a great first impression with my boyfriend's grandmother this way).
Pegeen May 1, 2015
Tartlets with fresh fruit on top. For a dinner party a variety would be nice, say Nutella, lemon curd or jam.
PieceOfLayerCake May 1, 2015
Individual fruit galettes are my go-to for parties that are either at the end of long trip or may be outside. They are stable at room temperature and in fact, should be eaten at such, they are relatively durable and...who doesn't like pie crust and season fruit? They also tend to go with most any meal that's not too specific in scope or reference.
nashama May 1, 2015
I second a pound cake with macerated berries. This one (https://food52.com/recipes/9322-clementine-pound-cake) is delicious the next day- and I've used every citrus under the sun to make it over the past few years. I make a simple glaze with additional juice mixed with powdered sugar and it's always a hit.
My other go-to is Palmiers (store bought puff pastry saves you here), whipped cream, and macerated berries. Never fails to delight people, and all of the components can be made in advance, kept separate, and then served out of bowls and passed around the table. I've successfully made the whipped cream the day before, and had it hold fine overnight in the refrigerator. But it doesn't take too long to make day of if that's possible. A healthy dose of vanilla in the whipped cream always goes far!
nlog2n May 1, 2015
I would recommend the Boozy Berry-Topped Tres Leches Cake (chilled one day in advance in the fridge) ~ http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/boozy-berry-topped-tres-leches-cake.aspx

A Trifle of some sort would be good to make ahead as well. Anything that requires a bit of time for the flavors to fully set in overnight. Tiramisu, chess pie, or lemon cheesecake are also some options that come to mind.
Bevi May 1, 2015
I very successfully cart large apple tarts (puff pastry, fruits, sugar, butter bits, and glazed with a great marmalade or apricot jam diluted with booze) in half sheet pans covered with plastic wrap and then a covering of foil. They lay flay in a car, and are easy to transport.
Bevi May 1, 2015
^^^ "Flat" in a car
Emily L. May 1, 2015
these brown butter blondies are delicious, I made them for my boyfriend who doesn't normally like blondies but loved these. I added pecans (because why not?)
AntoniaJames May 1, 2015
What else is on the menu? There are so many options. ;o)
Kenzi W. May 1, 2015
Great question! The answer is I don't exactly know. (Yet.) Would like something safe to keep in my back pocket. (Figuratively, of course...)
AntoniaJames May 1, 2015
Medrich's Genius Brownies are amazing. I served them at a dinner party for my son and his friends, topped with vanilla ice cream and this amazing Whiskey Caramel Sauce https://food52.com/recipes/32360-whiskey-caramel-sauce Although I made both on the afternoon of (I had traveled to LA and the timing just worked out that way), the brownies could have been made the night before and the caramel sauce up to a week beforehand. Everyone raved.

Other options: Cheesecake is usually better the next day. Cakes with fruit in them often are, too, though you'd want to test drive a particular recipe because some get dense, heavy and less attractive (e.g., Sarah's pear cake).

Panna cotta, of course.

Firm but mousse-y chocolate puddings, of course.

Fruit sorbets and gelatos plus madeleines, tuiles, etc. - the later layered with parchment in a hard plastic box and carried with care, i.e., place it, don't throw it.

Any pound cake, of course. Most macerated fruit toppings are even better prepped the night before, of course. Sauces like this one, which is marvelous on pound cake (add a bit of orange zest and nutmeg to the cake batter), can be made up to several days in advance: https://food52.com/recipes/32024-amontillado-dessert-sauce Make sure there's a whisk at your destination.

Certain tarts do very well the next day and, with a proper carrier, can be taken to another venue, e.g., this one: https://food52.com/recipes/10017-ricotta-filled-chocolate-and-pecan-tart

If "portable" means you have to be able to strap it on a rack behind your bike seat and ride over bumpy city streets, that that one and any tart with a somewhat delicate crust might not be the best choice.

Hope this helps. ;o)
Nancy May 1, 2015
We've all had our disasters in taking food to dinner parties - my latest, a roasted vegetable salad whose container opened en route. Ugh!! So for portable, I would avoid anything that depended on no bumps (e.g. an iced cake), or refrigeration. My favorite solutions for dessert are wine-plus-something (aged Parmesan, to be served whole and with a knife, with port on the side; or biscotti and a chilled vin santo or ice wine). I know, I know, Lord Peter Wimsey and the estimable Bunter would shudder at conveying port, but less-than-vintage ones do very well. My other go-to solution is a basic chocolate cake, with some luscious sauce (lemon curd, raspberry coulis) to be served as a garnish.
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