Inception inspired dessert ideas - go deeper
February 25, 2011 11:55 AM   Subscribe

This weekend we're hosting an Oscar party where everyone is invited to bring a dish inspired by one of the Best Picture nominees. I've decided to base a dessert (it's kind of like a parfait I guess) on the movie Inception and I'd like some suggestions for the 7 separate layers. Especially for the final "kick" layer.

Originally, I was planning on making individual servings in champagne flutes, but with the number of people coming I don't think that's going to be practical. So, the current scheme is to pick up a glass bowl with steep walls or a trifiling dish of some kind.

So far I'm thinking of:
1. Whipped cream
2. Chocolate pudding or mousse
3. Strawberries
4. Chocolate cake
5. Whipped cream
6. Ice cream maybe?
7. A dark chocolate fudge or a ganache

I'd like the bottom layer to be the "kick" and be in some way more intense than the rest of the layers. Normally I'd use something like a rum cake or other boozy kind of dessert, but we're going to be having kids and other non-drinkers at the party so we can't rely on anything alcoholic.

If you can come up with some better suggestions I'd love to hear it.
posted by ssmith to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Mix/insert crushed-up skor bars for a crunchy caramel bite? I use them with a chocolate drizzle to cement them in place.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:57 AM on February 25, 2011

I like what you've got, but you could add cayenne and cinnamon, Aztec-style, to that bottom layer to give it the requiriste "kick."
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:59 AM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]

"Requisite," even. Damn.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:59 AM on February 25, 2011

Yeah, I'm thinking you want a Mexican hot chocolate/ spice thing in that last layer.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:02 PM on February 25, 2011

Yep. Cyanne and cinnamon actually go surprisingly well with chocolate.
posted by schmod at 12:02 PM on February 25, 2011

If you don't want to go spicy, crushed espresso beans would also provide a "kick" and go with the other ingredients. It's even the right kind of kick, in that it will jolt you awake!
posted by contraption at 12:05 PM on February 25, 2011

You could also go for a milder coffee flavoring (such as instant crystals dissolved in the ganache) if you're concerned about kid-palatability.
posted by contraption at 12:06 PM on February 25, 2011

posted by The World Famous at 12:06 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

I like the idea of cayenne/cinnamon, but I'd also want something crunchy in there somewhere. Nuts or graham cracker bits - or Skor bars as previously mentioned (or any sort of toffee... Almond Roca?)
posted by alaijmw at 12:13 PM on February 25, 2011

Keep in mind also that if you're serving it from a bowl, your guests have the option of not descending to those lowest levels of dream (in fact, I think it would irresponsible to allow a child to delve so deep) so maybe something booze-based would be ok and the more sensitive should just stay up at the strawberry (maybe raspberry?) level with Yusuf.
posted by contraption at 12:15 PM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]

posted by AugieAugustus at 12:31 PM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]

You know you have whipped cream in there twice, right?
posted by Rock Steady at 12:33 PM on February 25, 2011

Sweet ricotta (like the filling of a good cannolo) with Pop Rocks and Bacon mixed in instead of chocolate chips.
posted by The World Famous at 12:35 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Visually, if it were flipped over onto itself; that would say "Inception" to me.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:20 PM on February 25, 2011

You know you have whipped cream in there twice, right?

You could substitute bananas for one of the whipped creams, if that's a problem.

I kinda feel that maybe this is backwards, and the top layer should be the final kick, so you can add booze to the adults' versions and something different to the kids, once everyone is there. Some folks might not want a dessert, so that might give you an option. So you could add, say, chocolate sprinkles to the kids' desserts, and a liqueur to the adults'.
posted by misha at 1:27 PM on February 25, 2011

But, if you want to go deeper (and I like the analogy) for the final layer, then I agree something a bit more exotic makes sense.

Cayenne fits the exotic label, it's just that I personally would be worried about cayenne with the kids, if they are very young. And I think the cayenne might be too strong and make the other layers, especially the one on top of it, taste like cayenne, too. So you need something complementary in the second-to-last layer if you do cayenne. Same with coffee beans. Some adults will probably eat it right up (I don't like coffee myself), but again the kids will probably not go for coffee beans.

Crunchy works for pretty much everyone. Biscotti would taste great with all the other ingredients. Nuts. Toasted coconut. Toffee bits, maybe. Even M&Ms. But none of those are especially exotic.
posted by misha at 1:39 PM on February 25, 2011

Oh! Sorry I'm commenting so much, but you could also make the top layer the most bland, then go down to richer ingredients as you go. Like, whipped cream, vanilla pudding, vanilla wafers or cake, strawberries, chocolate cake, chocolate icing or ganache, richest chocolate you can find cut up into bits.
posted by misha at 1:48 PM on February 25, 2011

How about a super strong, spicy gingerbread base?

(As an aside, I pity whoever drew "127 Hours.")
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:30 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the ideas everybody. I thought about having the kick on the top, but since the kick is the last thing you experience in the dream it makes the most sense to have it be the last layer of the dessert. That's my logic and I'm sticking to it.

I'm personally a huge fan of coffee flavored anything so I think that's the way I'm gonna go. Love the crunchy ideas too.
posted by ssmith at 3:36 PM on February 25, 2011

On a side note, I almost did take 127 hours. My two ideas were chicken wings or a meatloaf shaped into a forearm. I thought this would be more appetizing. One of my friends, who notoriously never cooks, claimed that he was going to bring a ridiculously overcooked Swanson frozen dinner for Black Swan. We kind of insisted that it needed to actually be edible. We'll just have to see what shows up.
posted by ssmith at 3:39 PM on February 25, 2011

I just want to say that this is a delightfully clever idea.
I'm sure those who attend will get the same in-joke warm-fuzzies that I did just reading about it & then some.
posted by herbplarfegan at 3:41 PM on February 25, 2011

I'd avoid ice cream, it sounds like a major pain in the ass as it will melt almost immediately in a layer between non-frozen other things. Use another fruit/cake instead? I think you need more solid, non-gloppy textures in there anyway.

This is such a great idea and I'd love to see photos after!
posted by jessicapierce at 3:50 PM on February 25, 2011

If you are going the crushed espresso bean route, don't use too many if the servings are going to be big. My friend and I once ate too many chocolate covered espresso beans. They had quite the effect on our stomachs in the middle of the night.
posted by artychoke at 3:54 PM on February 25, 2011

Seconding the espresso idea.

Could also use alcohol in some form.

-Do- please give us an update on what people brought in. This is the cleverest idea I've seen in a long time for a food themed party.
posted by DisreputableDog at 4:55 PM on February 25, 2011

When I was brainstorming Oscar-themed potluck items with my partner we agreed that the only possible 127 Hours dish was a Bag of Warm Piss. Whether the piss would be real or some kind of cider concoction depends on your circle of friends.
posted by contraption at 5:35 PM on February 25, 2011

You could do a simple second dessert for the kids/no dairy/no chocolate crowd... I suggest rainbow jello. (This practically makes itself as long as you have space in the refrigerator for it to set.)
posted by anaelith at 10:00 PM on February 25, 2011

I think this is such a cool idea for a dessert! What about mixing space dust in with the kick layer, you know the sweetie stuff that pops and fizzes in your mouth?
posted by Mnky197 at 12:31 AM on February 26, 2011

« Older What's a good/cheap external microphone for my...   |   Help my career as a stripper (of PDF background... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.