Longer trading hours and a more diverse range of customers mean pubs are having to keep their offer flexible - and desserts are no exception.With a little thought, it is possible to meet a wide range of expectations without having to invest in vast amounts of extra storage or employ a full-time pastry chef.
David Harrington, product marketing manager for Brakes, point out: "It's important that pubs offer a varied menu of classic desserts such as the ever-popular hot puddings, crumbles and cheesecakes, as well as new varieties, either a twist on a traditional dessert or completely modern puddings."
Even where skill levels allow for desserts to be made from scratch, in busy pub kitchens with limited space, ready-to-serve desserts may well be a more realistic option.
Range of options
Demonstrating the range of options available, Brakes has recently added date and orange pudding, an individual sponge pudding topped with a spicy syrup, and pink raspberry syllabub, made with champagne mousse, whipped cream and raspberries topping all-butter shortbread.
With families important to many pubs, a great children's menu option is vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice-cream log, which is free from any artificial colours or inclusions.
For a versatile dessert option, Moy Park Foodservice offers an extensive and varied selection of doughnuts.
Matt Godbold, marketing manager for Moy Park, says: "We have seen consistent value and volume growth in the total doughnut market over the past year and we have a perfect range for outlets to benefit from the profit potential.
"Much of the growth in bakery and sweet snacking products is coming from bite-size treats, ideal for sharing, and the same is true for doughnuts, where our mini ring and ball doughnuts are helping to drive the category forward.
"The sharing offer on a menu is perfect for an indulgent dessert such as doughnuts - people don't feel so guilty!"
While doughnuts make a great accompaniment to a cup of coffee, both mini ring and ball doughnuts, whether choc topped or sugared, are perfect for serving as a dessert drizzled with fruit coulis and a scoop of ice cream.
To meet the demands of the more traditional consumer, the fruit pie range from Moy Park Foodservice provides a warm offering in a matter of minutes.
The fruit is encased in a crisp pastry case, with choices including apple pie with golden delicious apple sauce, and strawberry pie with custard. Customers can tailor the dish as they prefer by adding a choice of ice-cream, cream or custard.Flexibility with ingredients
Flexibility with toppings and sauces can also help to make a relatively small dessert range appear more varied.
Simon Muschamp, head of marketing for Pritchitts, says: "If consumers regard themselves as having been good during the week, then when it comes to eating out they will tend to reward themselves with a dessert, so make sure you offer a selection they can't resist.
"A great way to do this without offering a long list of desserts and tying the kitchen up is to have a staple menu, for example sticky toffee pudding, ice- creams and cheesecakes.
"These are all winners when it comes to desserts and can be varied simply by using different ingredients and sauces."