What will be the biggest dessert trends of 2018?
While industry trend watchers have already published their predications, no one knows better than pastry chefs themselves, who are currently concocting the next big thing — or at least the new dishes they’re planning — for the coming year. Here, some of those chefs share their intentions.
Pastry chef Marisa High of recently opened Citizen Rail in Denver is excited about exploring ruby chocolate, a new type of chocolate that’s been getting a lot of hype lately. That is, if she’s able to get her hands on it.
A recent development from Swiss chocolate-maker Barry Callebaut, the rose-colored product is reportedly the first new natural chocolate flavor since white chocolate was introduced more than 80 years ago.
“It is a pink-colored chocolate that does not use any coloring or flavoring. It has been described as having a berry, fruity flavor, all without having anything added to the chocolate,” High said. “I would like to use this possibly in some mousses or truffles. I would also like to test how it pairs or complements other flavors that are more common to a pastry palate.”
High also plans to explore unexpected textures with traditional flavor profiles in her desserts.
“Some examples of textures that I plan on using would be powders, gels, fizzy mouth feel,” High said. “My thoughts are to take common ingredients and make the familiar texture, unfamiliar. For example, making peanut butter powder.”
More desserts for special diets
While many pastry chefs think it’s a hassle to exclude dairy or gluten from desserts, Kelsey Burack, executive pastry chef at DBGB DC, Daniel Boulud’s upscale bistro in Washington, D.C., is actually looking forward to adding more celiac-friendly and dairy-free desserts to her menu by using coconut and soy milk substitutes.
“My soon-to-be sister-in-law is lactose intolerant and it's made me more aware of people's dietary restrictions. Being able to accommodate, while also growing my own repertoire of recipes has been my main focus my first year as pastry chef for DBGB,” Burack said. “I'm not 100-percent sure about the upcoming dessert menu just yet, but I do see a tropical passion fruit sorbet and coconut ice cream sundae with a fluffy whipped coconut cream on top.”
Passion fruit sorbet (Photo: SherSor/iStock/Thinkstock)
The 13-item dessert menu at Gramercy Tavern in New York City already features four entirely gluten-free options, including a popular Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake and Seasonal Gluten-free Loaf (currently a Pumpkin and Sage mini loaf). But in the coming year, executive pastry chef Miro Uskokovic plans to put a major focus on using alternative sugars to create other desserts that are celiac-friendly, as well as creative and delicious.
“Whether it be the bread served at the start of every meal or dessert options, we put lots of care and thought into offering our guests creative, interesting and delicious celiac-friendly items that feel complete, rather than a dish that has been altered,” Uskokovic said.
Similarly, at Goldenrod Pastries in Lincoln, Neb., which caters to people with alternative diets, owner and head pastry chef Angela Garbacz is exploring using more whole ingredients when creating gluten-free and dairy-free desserts.
"I see a shift from using a lot of gums, stabilizers, and substitutes, to using more whole ingredients,” Garbacz said. “For example, instead of using egg replacers in vegan recipes, we are trying to make recipes that just work well without eggs. Also, our gluten-free flour blends are shifting away from being packed full of gums and other ingredients, and are more focused on one or two ingredients."
Honey vinegar and cherry blossom
Experimenting with novel ingredients is on the menu at Le Bernardin in New York City, where executive pastry chef Thomas Raquel is looking forward to incorporating honey vinegar and cherry blossom into his desserts.
"Cherry Blossom is a great representation of spring and I love the subtle, fragrant flavor,” Raquel said. “Separately, I’m working on a honey dessert and think honey vinegar will add an interesting acidity to the dish while reinforcing the honey profile."