Ina Garten’s ‘incredibly easy’ dessert platter requires no baking

Ina Garten’s country dessert platter is the epitome of ‘store bought is good’. The Barefoot Contessa dessert created by the celebrity chef and longtime Food Network star involves serving a mix of treats from the bakery.

Prepare Ina Garten’s Country Dessert Platter when you don’t have time to cook.

Ina Garden | 2021 Daytime Emmy Awards via Getty Images

There is nothing to Craft regarding Garten’s country dessert platter. It involves arranging various baked goods on a tray. As the cooking show host often says, is it easy?

The recipe for Garten’s Country Dessert Platter originally appeared in her very first cookbook, in 1999. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. For those who don’t have a copy at home, Food Network has all the details.

It’s an incredibly easy platter to set up, even if you don’t have time to cook! Buy a delicious and beautiful assortment of cookies, bars and pastries from your local bakery and you’re almost done,” Garten began.

She went on to say that there is a method to select delicious treats at the bakery. “At Barefoot Contessa, I choose things that are colorful and easy to eat with your fingers,” she said, referring to the specialty food store she sold in the late ’90s.

There should be a mix of perfectly sized colorful baked goods on the dessert platter at Garten’s Country

Ina Garten laughs as she watches Stephen Colbert pour the contents of a bowl

Stephen Colbert and Ina Garten | Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

Before you rush to the bakery for dessert, keep Garten’s tips for creating a rustic dessert platter in mind.

“Remember that many baked goods look delicious on their own, but grouped together they can look very brown,” she says. “I mix up colorful things like lemon bars, pecan bars, brownies, cookies, strawberries, figs, and slices of lemon cake.”

So don’t just go for the brown-hued cookies, brownies, and pastries. Choose a few treats with colors to complete the tray.

As for the tray itself, Garten suggests using a round or oval and “very flat” one. It doesn’t have to be fancy. “I like to use something simple, like silver or china,” she said, adding that she puts doilies on the bottom of the tray.

When it comes time to put the food on the platter, she warns against cutting everything into too small pieces. “Cut each cake or bar into large chunks,” she said, noting that “pastries cut too small tend to look like a dog’s breakfast.”

What about the opposite? “Too big and the set seems inaccessible,” she said. His suggestion is to cut “large brownies into two finger-sized pieces and cut the cake slices in half.”

The Food Network star follows Japanese design principles when assembling a country dessert platter

Ina Garten smiles while wearing a blue scarf

Ina Garden | Manny Carabel/Getty Images

The baked goods have been purchased, the tray is on the counter and lined with doilies. But how to organize it? As Garten explained in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook“the design of the tray is very simple.”

It follows the Japanese principles where “the Earth” is a solid element, which bases the design; “sky” is something larger, which curves upwards; and “water” is something that pours forward.

Because, as Garten noted, “the eye wants to be drawn to a focal point,” she arranges the slices of cake in the center of the platter to “anchor herself.” Then it works outward from there.

“I place the pastries in paper muffin cups and arrange them in a flowing pattern around the cake. Then I stack strawberries and figs or grapes to give height to the design,” she said. Finally, she adds cookies and lemon or hydrangea leaves to fill in any spaces.

No surprise here, Garten loves “sets that feel more casual than formal.” However, as she noted, “there is a good balance, however, between laid back and just plain messy”. The key, according to the cookbook author, is to follow the aforementioned steps.

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