Menu Inspiration

Sweet Surrender: Delectable Desserts

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Delectable Desserts

For many customers, dessert is the crowning touch to the meal. For others, it’s an opportunity for a tiny treat—perhaps even a healthy one. For operators? The dessert category should never be an afterthought, and it doesn’t have to be all your own creation. Simple, elaborate, or a little of both—make it irresistible and leave a lasting impression.

A Bit Savory
These days, dessert isn’t all about the sugar. You’ll see spices, herbs, a splash of vinegar or a visible—and tasteable—dash of salt or black pepper. There are plenty of examples! Toasted coriander flavored pound cake. Raisins steeped in diluted red wine vinegar. Key-lime tart with passion fruit gel and pickled kumquats. Tiramisu with an extra bitter coffee taste. Chocolate in the darker range. And chocolate pudding with a touch of coarse salt; for the higher end, replace salt with Middle Eastern sumac and call that pudding cremeux.

Fresher Fruit
New ways to use and enjoy this dessert staple are on the horizon. And many are incredibly easy. Just received raspberries? Fill their little pockets with raspberry jam and proceed with garnishing your cakes, ice creams, and parfaits. Lighten lemon curd with whipped cream and fold in tapioca pearls; then top with a citrus medley (e.g., 5 varieties of oranges) or other fruits. Markon® makes fresh easy, delicious and food-safe.

Fruit sauces are a super-simple way to switch up almost anything you regularly present. For example, one award-winning chef infuses cooked fruit with a touch of exotic hibiscus flower. In the fall, consider using cranberry on pumpkin cheesecake and for summertime, blueberry on vanilla cheesecake. But, simple spices in the sauce are just as appealing: e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel.

Color & Shape
Meringue made bright green (and extra tasty) with pistachio flour. Pears poached in pomegranate juice for a vivid pink. A rainbow of candies or cereal pieces sprinkled onto house-made soft-serve ice cream, pies and more. Chefs are definitely having a good time with color! Regular food coloring is, of course, an option. Then comes creativity with shapes. Ovals instead of round scoops for ice cream. Custom cookie wafers to garnish sundaes, flourless cakes and parfaits. Small slices of cheesecake arranged in artful grids on sharing platters. Go to for a pattern to help cut bar cookies and brownies into diamond shapes. Any scraps from your shaping efforts can be used to top ice cream or fill pudding parfaits, or even garnish other desserts.

Now that carbs are (mostly) OK again, creativity abounds. With sesame seed scones as the base, peach shortcake is even more exciting. Classic brownies are bittersweet and better than ever with a swirl of balsamic vinegar and strawberries. Blondies? “Stuff” them with chunky peanut butter. And how about a cake made with olive oil, soaked in coffee—the foundation for coffee ice cream with chocolate coffee

Inspiration Abroad
Look to other countries, as these on-trend ideas demonstrate. Orange-blossom granita (Turkish), Cremeux—basically, a dense sumac-spiced pudding (French), Tres leches cake, flavored with green tea (Mexican-Japanese).

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