Just when I thought nothing could make me happier than a cheese platter or charcuterie board, along came the Easter dessert board. It's Easter gluttony personified, and I am here for it.
But like any good plate of food it does require some thought to ensure the requisite visual and gustatory pleasure, with variances in texture, colour and taste.
All that chocolate is a wonderful thing but sweet-on-sweet-on-sweet can be overwhelming – make sure to include something complementary but slightly tart. It's hard to pass up on chocolate's favourite friend, a bowl of beautiful fresh berries such as strawberries and raspberries.
Give your chocolate different forms
Easter eggs, blocks of chocolate, chocolate lollipops – these all add to the visual goodness of your platter. If possible include some chocolate-based desserts such as a few slices of flourless dark chocolate torte, brownie, mud cake or chocolate tart.
Rainbow Easter egg rocky road (full recipe here). Photo: Katrina Meynink
Make a few things
Sure, that wonderland of foiled Easter eggs is a beautiful thing, but a stand-out dessert board also includes a few homemade desserts. Try dipping wafers in melted chocolate and covering in edible glitter, freeze-dried fruit and chocolate pearls.
Alternatively, make an Easter egg rocky road by combining a box of honey Tiny Teddies in a bowl with half a bag of marshmallows, some nuts and a few glorious chunks of Turkish delight. Add in about 1 cup chopped Easter eggs. Give it a good stir then drown it in melted chocolate (milk, dark or white) until everything is coated. Transfer to a high-sided baking tray lined with baking paper or clingfilm, and place in the fridge for a few hours to set. Cut into small pieces before placing on the dessert board.
Arrange different shapes
Include a mix of slabs of chocolate and different sized eggs. This ensures you have a broad offering for all kinds of chocolate tastes, and looks far more visually interesting. You can serve a few of your elements in small bowls and place them on the board, too.
Given everyone is going to be grabbing different bits and pieces from the board, make sure you offer easy-sized pieces that people can pick up and place on their plate. It also means guests can go back for seconds and not feel overloaded. Remember you can always replenish the board as things get eaten, so don't overcrowd your board with every treat at the beginning.
Choose a cake board or a large serving tray on which to assemble your dessert board. You can use a round cutting board, a marble slab or any large serving platter. I used a vintage serving platter with a lipped edge – this is great for containing all those little Easter eggs and to prevent anything from sliding off when you move it. If you use a flat board, place any less stable foods into small bowls.
A few other suggestions
If you wanted to keep to the chocolate theme but offer some salty reprieve, add chocolate-dipped salted cashews or almonds, or even some pretzels. Or you could display these items unadorned and include a bowl of melted chocolate for guests to dip their pretzels into.
Easter themed cupcakes or biscuits are other additions. For a less intensely "Easter" theme, include some chocolate-dipped dried fruits such as figs, apricots or pears.