If you're hosting a shindig in honor of Independence Day, you're likely well into planning the menu, and maybe even a fireworks display. But have you begun to brainstorm décor (besides sticking a few mini American flags into the ground)? Before you work yourself into a tizzy, consider turning your desserts into a patriotic tableau. We tapped Amy Atlas, founder of Amy Atlas Events and master of mouth-watering dessert tables, for a few tips on creating the most stunning red, white, and blue spread.
"My family always has a picnic on July 4th and this spread was inspired by my love of informal picnic gatherings," says Atlas. "For July 4th, there’s nothing like gingham to set the tone. The sweet little check was my starting point for this table, and it led to other traditional red and white patterns—ticking and awning stripes. For the tablecloth, I opted for a classic French ticking in which red predominates, a good way to ground that entire pattern, then added the gingham and striped accents with abandon." Atlas continues, "Red fruit seems to ooze summer so cherries figure largely here—they’re in the cupcakes, mini pies, and fresh, still-on-the-stem in small, scalloped bags. The red-and-white strawberry trifle is a dessert that gives you a lot of visual bang for your buck. It’s an indulgent combination of dense butter cake, sweetened and spiked strawberries, and tons of whipped cream. Add some blueberries to it if you want to mimic the American flag. And since PB and J sandwiches are a classic American pick, I made a sweet version with those two 'slices' of sugar cookies spread with peanut butter and jelly."
Check out the recipes below, which originally appeared in Atlas's book Sweet Designs ($18; amazon.com), to help you complete your festive tableau.