Brave New Desserts

April 2015

By: Restaurant Hospitality Staff

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Desserts with a savory note aren't unprecedented: Think mincemeat pie. While beef suet and chopped rump steak certainly qualify as savory ingredients, today's creative pastry chefs are incorporating other intriguing combinations into their desserts.

Faith & Flower in L.A. offers executive pastry chef Ben Spungin's flavor-and-texture rich Apple and Miso Crumble ($8) with kabocha squash, crispy phyllo and Armagnac creme anglaise. Also in L.A., chef Nick Erven's desserts at Saint Martha include the Roasted Carrot Kamut Cake ($10) served with carrot sorbet, coconut jerk leather, pumpkin seed brittle and creme fraiche cremeux.

Customers at Glazed and Infused in Chicago can sample pastry chef Nick Stewart's Ham and Cheddar Doughnut ($3), a philosophical melding of breakfast, sandwich and dessert. The doughnut features locally sourced cheddar and Beller's Ham, roasted garlic and honey mustard glaze.

Executive chef Danny Trace of Brennan's of Houston offers sweet endings such as the Caramelized Apple and Foie Gras Galatte ($14). Its layers of flavors include Cognac-glazed local apples, Texas Gold cheddar cheese, Tabasco chestnut brittle and foie gras ice cream.(pictured above)

At Menotomy Grill & Tavern in Arlington, MA, pastry chef Jessica Palletier's winter dessert menu introduced Smoked S'Mores in a Jar ($7). The layered dessert incorporates a brown butter brownie, housemade marshmallow, graham cracker mousse and Heath Bar shards, served in a mini-Mason jar. But it doesn't stop there: Hot wood-chip smoke is sealed into the jar. When the dessert arrives at the table -- enough to serve two -- the smoke drifts out, bringing with it a whiff of campfire aroma.