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Restaurant desserts: your innermost wishes


Gifted Gourmet
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What do you prefer in your restaurant desserts?

Smaller, but more creative items?

Larger and extremely decadent items?

Style over substance? :hmmm:

A single theme: such as chocolate in any way, shape, or form?

Love to hear your responses to this issue ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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fruits, fruits and more fruits.

There are not enough fruits in those desserts, they can be prepare in so many different ways, more savory, more sweet, or even tart.

paired with herbs, chocolat, peppers ( hot or mild ) or simple caramels.

I know it must be hard for restaurants to have access to good fresh fruits all year long, but they need to work hard for it.

I don't really like cakes or tarts or other floury-ish things that fill me up after a nice meal at a restaurant.

( BTW, I'm not talking about dessert only restaurants, those are a whole different topic )

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I'd love it if more restaurants offered smaller desserts. We almost never go out just for dessert and by half way through my entree I'm already too full for dessert but if it was small I'd make room. Absolutely most important is that it taste good. Presentation is nice but it's so disappointing to bite into something that looks great and be thinking, I could have made it better myself.

Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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One more definite vote for smaller portions and more variety

so we can taste more and not get all clogged up trying

to finish something huge.

Other than that - any and all offerings are great -

fruit, chocolate, whatever!

I don't like the idea of style *over* substance;

why choose between these two - do both!

Milagai

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Two things:

*Made in-house by either a pastry chef if the labor budget allows or by a cook who has a good hand with desserts rather than shipped in and defrosted/sliced/served, which seems to be so prevalent. . .*

*Some "different" things offered. Chocolate lava cake, creme brulee, apple tart or key lime pie, cheesecakes that all resemble each other are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the variety of sweet things that *could* be offered at the end of the meal, but so often dessert is left as afterthought to the main menu, it seems, and then the choices offered are the mundane. Perhaps they are more easily sold, but they are mundane nonetheless.

:smile:

*Need to add here and *not* put together from the contents of a box, an opened can upended and a scoop from a plastic bucket please.

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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One more definite vote for smaller portions and more variety

so we can taste more and not get all clogged up trying

to finish something huge. 

Which is precisely what I enjoyed so much when I ate at Seasons 52 last week:

the desserts served in small cups .. tastes ...

it's definitely those little trays of desserts the wait staff shuttles around the dining room.   Presented on silver trays are eight desserts, nestled into glasses about twice the size of a shot glass. The color scheme resembles an artist's palette: deep red and cream in the red velvet cake; pale shades of yellow and lime in the Key Lime pie; layers of deep browns in the nutty Rocky Road; the bright pink of the strawberry shortcake.
This was a motivation for my thread here ...

discussion here on Seasons 52 ...

Edited by Gifted Gourmet (log)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Why don't more restaurants serve a cheese plate for dessert? High-end places usually have one, but I'd love to see cheeses at more moderately priced restaurants.

I can't stand those huge, overly sweet chocolate concoctions built to impress children and large enough for 6 people. I get full on my main course, like CanadianBakin' but could make room for a couple pieces of cheese or a small fruit something, even a small chocolate something. Keep it small, and let the larger appetites order two.!!!

Stop Family Violence

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Yet another vote from me for smaller portions.

Dessert sampling trays, with just a bite or two of a few things would be fun.

More creative fruit tarts and things made with lemon curd. I :wub: lemon curd.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Why don't more restaurants serve a cheese plate for dessert? High-end places usually have one, but I'd love to see cheeses at more moderately priced restaurants.

In Europe, cheese is a natural follow-up to meals. The cheese is usually served at with some good bread, and, if there is no dessert is planned after the cheese course, ripe or dried fruits, nuts, or other accompaniments might be offered with the cheese. You've probably noticed that many American restaurants have picked up on this European custom, largely because American chefs are anxious to show off the excellent variety of artisanal cheeses now being made here...

But this is all really new and I think people expect for the place to offer something sweet .. consider the popularity of Cheesecake Factory with their sumptuous sweets ...

gallery_10011_1589_65266.jpg .. the Mile-and-a-half Ice Cream Pie from Copeland's ... this was shared by a friend of mine and me .. and we left much of it on the plate ... :huh:

Edited by Gifted Gourmet (log)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Dessert sampling trays, with just a bite or two of a few things would be fun.

It was! And one can order one or more of those "tasting cups" offered... they are only $1.95 each ...

That is so cool! I wish restaurants here would start doing that...

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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One more definite vote for smaller portions and more variety

so we can taste more and not get all clogged up trying

to finish something huge. 

Which is precisely what I enjoyed so much when I ate at Seasons 52 last week:

the desserts served in small cups .. tastes ...

it's definitely those little trays of desserts the wait staff shuttles around the dining room.   Presented on silver trays are eight desserts, nestled into glasses about twice the size of a shot glass. The color scheme resembles an artist's palette: deep red and cream in the red velvet cake; pale shades of yellow and lime in the Key Lime pie; layers of deep browns in the nutty Rocky Road; the bright pink of the strawberry shortcake.
This was a motivation for my thread here ...

discussion here on Seasons 52 ...

Hey Giftedgourmet: I had precisely that thread in mind

and recall when reading it "why don't more places do this!".

I just didn't get around to referencing it in my post.....

Milagai

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fruits, fruits and more fruits.

There are not enough fruits in those desserts, they can be prepare in so many different ways, more savory, more sweet, or even tart.

I second that notion.

Very rarely do I have the room or the desire for the huge slabs of Mississippi Mud Pie & the like that seem to abound at otherwise decent places. Often I've wished for a nice little fruit tart & you just can't find them.

One of the most memorable desserts I've had was a simple slice of cantaloupe at an Italian place near Union Square in NYC - memorable not only because it was the perfect finish to a rather large lunch, but because it was perfectly ripe, clearly from a melon chosen by soneone who really knew their fruits. That's the kind of attention to detail thar I appreciate.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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fruits, fruits and more fruits.

There are not enough fruits in those desserts, they can be prepare in so many different ways, more savory, more sweet, or even tart.

I second that notion.

Very rarely do I have the room or the desire for the huge slabs of Mississippi Mud Pie & the like that seem to abound at otherwise decent places. Often I've wished for a nice little fruit tart & you just can't find them.

One of the most memorable desserts I've had was a simple slice of cantaloupe at an Italian place near Union Square in NYC - memorable not only because it was the perfect finish to a rather large lunch, but because it was perfectly ripe, clearly from a melon chosen by soneone who really knew their fruits. That's the kind of attention to detail thar I appreciate.

I'll third the notion! A selection of perfectly ripe fruits is the perfect way to end a meal. Plus, I don't suffer from a sugar crash three hours later.

"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

--Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

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Another vote for smaller portions. I would also like to see something on the dessert menu that I can't also get from the restaurant next door. On the other hand, if traditional desserts are on the menu (tarte tartin, pavlova, apple strudel etc) then I would appreciate knowing if the chef plans on doing his personal interpretation of the dish. I'm not keen on messing with the classics (or surprises).

Edited for clarity

Edited by Cadbury (log)
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Like everyone else, smaller portions. PLEASE. I just want something small and sweet at the end of the meal, I don't want another meal made completely of sweets. Offer half portions if you have a lot of clients with more room left after dinner than I do.

Better chocolate used in the chocolate desserts. I hate it when I order something that looks intensely chocolatey and find out the hard way it's made with cheap, low cocoa content chocolate. If you're going to make flourless chocolate cake, for heaven's sake, use the good stuff.

Let's generalize that to better quality of ingredients across the board. If something is supposed to be vanilla, I want to taste vanilla. If it's bourbon pecan pie, I darned well want to taste bourbon. So many of these gargantuan piles just taste sweet. Why bother? I can eat sugar by the spoonful at home for a lot less.

More clarity of flavor. I almost never order a dessert when it lists a raspberry-pistachio puree over a vanilla chocolate base with orange bourbon basil sauce and a wine sausage cabbage reduction garnish. (Just seeing if you're still reading.) At that point you might as well just puree everything in the freezer and serve it. I know, sometimes in skilled hands it works. Most of the time it's just another mess.

Fruit based desserts, or even fruit garnishes, need to be properly ripe. Or at least appropriately sweetened. If I end up with one more hard, mostly white strawberry or intensely sour raspberry, I just might scream.

Oh, yeah, and keep your basil/tarragon/thyme/fennel out of my chocolate. I don't care that it's trendy or "interesting", all I ever taste is "yuck".

Marcia.

who obviously spends way too much time thinking about dessert

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Smaller is good. Tart is even better - sweet is always better with a little kick to it after a meal.

Even though I love chocolate, it's not what usually calls my name (that would be lemon). Although isles flottantes always trump anything else if I see them on a menu.

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Why don't more restaurants serve a cheese plate for dessert? High-end places usually have one, but I'd love to see cheeses at more moderately priced restaurants.

I can't stand those huge, overly sweet chocolate concoctions built to impress children and large enough for 6 people. I get full on my main course, like CanadianBakin'  but could make room for a couple pieces of cheese or a small fruit something, even a small chocolate something. Keep it small, and let the larger appetites order two.!!!

Good cheeses are very expensive in North America. That's why you don't see them in moderately priced restaurants. Not to mention most people around here don't appreciate good cheese.

But yes, I love cheese plates. I love making them too. I would always add several accompaniments to my cheese courses, usually one thing to pair with each type of cheese.

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fruits, fruits and more fruits.

There are not enough fruits in those desserts, they can be prepare in so many different ways, more savory, more sweet, or even tart.

paired with herbs, chocolat, peppers ( hot or mild ) or simple caramels.

I know it must be hard for restaurants to have access to good fresh fruits all year long, but they need to work hard for it.

I don't really like cakes or tarts or other floury-ish things that fill me up after a nice meal at a restaurant.

( BTW, I'm not talking about dessert only restaurants, those are a whole different topic )

You have no idea how hard it is to find good fruits (especially berries). Year round - it's impossible - imported fruits, well, suck. That's why we'll stock up on fruits, purée them and freeze them to make sorbets, glaces and other stuff during the winter.

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What do you prefer in your restaurant desserts?

Smaller, but more creative items?

Larger and  extremely decadent items?

Style over substance? :hmmm:

A single theme: such as chocolate in any way, shape, or form?

Love to hear your responses to this issue ...

In a restaurant dessert I like to see, first of all, taste. All the flavours on the plate need to go together. I hate it when chefs think with their head instead of their palate (ie. overthink a dessert, get too creative and forget about what really matters - taste). Second, texture (often the toughest thing to get right). It affects how we percieve those flavours, and mouthfeel is a very important part of enjoying food. Style? If you prepare something properly, it WILL look good. Alot of people misuse chocolate - they think if they throw chocolate at something it will taste good, instead of coming up with great pairings.

Cooks for the most part need to learn how to do pastries. I was lucky during my apprenticeship - I did pastries every single day, in addition to working on the line (both hot and cold). I've been a restaurant pastry cook as well as a Chef de Partie on the line.

Sooo many kitchens I've walked into had competent appetizers and main courses, but terrible desserts. For the most part it's due to a lack of a competent pastry cook, and a chef who has not had enough training in pastries.

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.. the Mile-and-a-half Ice Cream Pie from Copeland's ... this was shared by a friend of mine and me .. and we left much of it on the plate ...

That pile of goo from Copeland's is precisely what I do NOT want for dessert.

Most of the time, I'd be perfectly happy with a 1" square of very good chocolate. Or a small selection of small pastries. Something that I can linger over, carry on the conversation, nibble on between sips of coffee. One of the best desserts I ever had was a sampling of different flavors of pots de creme. Only a couple of bites of each, the perfect amount.

*Some "different" things offered. Chocolate lava cake, creme brulee, apple tart or key lime pie, cheesecakes that all resemble each other are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the variety of sweet things that *could* be offered at the end of the meal, but so often dessert is left as afterthought to the main menu, it seems, and then the choices offered are the mundane. Perhaps they are more easily sold, but they are mundane nonetheless.

Of course, cheesecakes, frozen key lime pies, etc., are easy to offer because they are so easy to get ready-made. And, because so many people are awed by quantity, they work well.

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Of course, cheesecakes, frozen key lime pies, etc., are easy to offer because they are so easy to get ready-made.  And, because so many people are awed by quantity, they work well.

Eh. They work well enough in a mundane sort of way. Mundane. I am fascinated by the word, and the concept disgusts me. :laugh:

It's easy. Just easy. And not terribly good. But it is what people are used to, often.

Considering the attraction to the concept being discussed above about smaller portions and variety, it seems a better idea that if *anyone* were going to offer these mundane things, the least they could do is cut them into smaller pieces and place a sweet little fresh strawberry fan somewhere on the plate, pronouncing "fresh! good! light!".

Trouble is with the small portion/ greater variety idea. . . .one needs more product in-house - more control over product - which equals not only a higher level of management and/or staff than is required to slop a piece of frozen cake onto a plate. . .which translates to labor and inventory costs. . .which translates to higher prices.

Otherwise, if this variety of finer desserts were to be then (hopefully) made fresh "from scratch" in-house, unless there is enough of a consistent customer base to know pretty much what *will* sell, then to be able to project production enough to just about sell out. . .it is possible that by neccesity the product will need be brought in frozen or at the very least quickly ready-made from boxes and cans and tubs in-house.

A larger restaurant with a corporate base and high customer turnover such as Seasons 52 can provide this. I do wonder if the desserts are made in-house though. Does it matter? Perhaps not.

But I am cranky about this, and would just rather see a touch of individual personality shown in desserts rather than concept.

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Why don't more restaurants serve a cheese plate for dessert? High-end places usually have one, but I'd love to see cheeses at more moderately priced restaurants.

I can't stand those huge, overly sweet chocolate concoctions built to impress children and large enough for 6 people. I get full on my main course, like CanadianBakin'  but could make room for a couple pieces of cheese or a small fruit something, even a small chocolate something. Keep it small, and let the larger appetites order two.!!!

I've had the cheese plate at a "moderately priced" restaurant, and it was icky. Cheese that was just barely better than the shrink-wrapped grocery store stuff in boring varieties - cheddar, asiago, brie - accompanied by dessicated dried fruits, nuts that were almost stale, and about 2 grapes. :angry:

Definitely a "coulda-shoulda" thing - it would not take a lot more effort to at least use GOOD cheese... after the incident I talked to my favorite cheesemonger in town and told her to give the restaurant a call and browbeat them into buying higher on the quality scale.

Andrea

in Albuquerque

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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As to what I prefer ? Simple, simple, simple.

Call me boring but if I must have dessert, I'll take a flourless cake (chocolate, hazelnut; whatever). Or, something that highlights/makes use of the freshest fruit/berries in season. Please don't offer strawberries from Chile in December or peaches either.

I'm sick to death of molten chocolate cakes and architectural creations that are as much about "engineering" as taste. Spectacular is not necessarily better imo.

Those dessert "sample" trays are an abomination unless we're in Tokyo.

A really well thought out and executed cheese plate is a treat. Usually overpriced but worth it done well. That does not happen often enough away from big cities or Europe.

Sorry if just thinking about this has brought on a curmudgeonly moment.

Edited by fyfas (log)

Bob Sherwood

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“When the wolf is at the door, one should invite him in and have him for dinner.”

- M.F.K. Fisher

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