What is it about dessert that inspires such awe and devotion? Dessert posts without fail garner more attention than savory meals – no matter how decadent those meals may be. Full TV shows dedicated to amazing creations of sugar and magic have taken over the airwaves in recent years. Even the most decadent degustation meals are punctuated and talked about and defined [more often than not] by the dessert choices at the end.
Good desserts are the popular girl at the party, the new mysterious kid in the back of class, the cutest baby in the nursery. And while a dry piece of cake or an oily cookie or a gritty ice cream is enough to leave a terrible taste in ones mouth [pun entirely intended] a perfect dessert is enough to change the world, for a brief moment at least!
So I ask again, what is it about dessert? Is it the slightly naughty nature? Is it memories of childhood? is it simply the sweet addiction of sugar? And my answer… who cares. Simple, decadent, obscure, traditional, it doesn’t matter – and nor should it – as long as it fills a need at that very moment.
The other day I came across this fabulous list of 101 of America’s Most Crazy-Awesome New Desserts. As they say in the article ‘These aren’t the 101 best desserts in the country; and they aren’t the 101 newest, either … But taken as a whole, the creations on this list represent what’s happening in America’s pastry world right now.‘ There is everything from childhood throwbacks to post-modern monochromatic masterpieces – in other words, yum. It is worth checking out the slide-show for yourself but here are some of my favourite flavour combos, structural creativity and unique genius.
#3 Grapefruit Givré (the first of at least 5 grapefruit desserts, hum) | #12 Grilled-Pumpkin Chocolate Tart | #25 Black and White (black sesame, jasmine and lemon, oh my) | #34 The Purple Goat (goats cheese, berries and lavender in a doughnut – in.a.doughnut) | #39 PBJ Wonder Bread Pudding (I think I see another stuffed french toast in my future) | #42 Sweet Potato Doughnut Holes | #45 Lemon Polenta Cake | #46 “Ants on a Log” (peanut butter and celery – if you’ve never had this combo go do it now) | #47 Chocolate Peanut-Butter Banana Steam Bun | #51 Saffron-Cardamom Panna Cotta (how amazing do those spices sound together) | #52 Gourmet Popsicles (definite trend here, seeing them everywhere right now, dreamy) | #54 Chai Pie | #78 Red Velvet Cake (vegan and beetroot) | #86 Deconstructed Lemon Chiffon Cake | #87 Candy-Bar Cake | #89 Chocolate, Raspberry, Almond (of all the landscape ones this is my fav)
But as fabulous as those all are, it will be at least a few more months before I can go to NY or Chicago or Denver or Atlanta to try any of them… so while my mom’s Chocolate Cake or a gooey dish of Sticky Date Pudding will always be my favs [oh and Lemon Meringue and Pumpkin Pie too of course!], here are the top of mind desserts that I can get my hands on right now.
- We were very naughty recently and treated ourselves to the infamous Salted Caramel Milkshake at Reuben Hills. Oh.My.God. It is as unbelievable as people are saying. We are not allowing ourselves to go back for another unless we have an actual meal as well, it is that dangerous.
- I know that macarons are sooo 2011 but I really don’t care. RJ brought a couple home from the master at Cafe Cre Asion the other day, they were perfection.
- And to toot my own horn just a bit it seems I am not the only one obsessed with my Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream, it has appeared over at Not Quite Nigella as chocolate on The Hungry Australian as strawberry and most recently with raspberries on Souvlaki for the Soul. I made up a batch last night mixing cocoa into half and blitzing mixed berries into the other half. Pardon me while I go get a bowl now, after all, we all deserve a little bit of dessert now and then!
Tell me, what is your all-time favourite dessert – or just favourite of the moment?