Revamping Your Dessert Menu

July 24 2015 – Bold Apps

We all know that dessert can be one of the best parts of a delicious meal.  But too often, diners are underwhelmed with the choices presented to them at the end of their meal.  Many dessert menus feature a cake, pie, or tart but there’s much more to building a successful dessert menu that satisfies diners and owners alike.


To really have a great dessert menu, chefs will often balance a variety of flavors, textures, colors, temperatures, and shapes.  Desserts often have five basic elements:  base (crispy or cake-like), filling (creamy or fruity), sauce (chocolate sauce or orange sauce that enhances flavors), texture (crispy or dried), and garnishes (mint leaves or powdered sugar).  To start with, chefs should ensure that the base of their desserts is flavorful but not overpowering the other elements of the dish.  Think of the base as the edible bowl that the main features of your dessert sit atop of. 


The main component of any dessert will be the filling:  from mousse, Bavarian cream, or ganache, the choices are limitless.  Chocolate sauces mixed with liqueurs or cordials or pastry creams combined with fruits can make a lovely choice for any rich dessert.  If using a fruit based filling, chefs should take care to choose a fruit that is in season for their particular locality.  Remember that some fruits, like pineapples and pears, will do well with cooking prior to presentation to enhance flavor.  When choosing a sauce, remember to consider what flavor the sauce is adding to the dessert, as well as the color and texture.  A good portion size for dessert sauce is no more than 1 ½ ounces. 


When it comes to textures, the rule is to combine them to excite the palate.  If you’re offering up soft cakes or pies, offers something crispy that compliments the flavors of the main dessert.  Sliced, dried fruits make an excellent accompaniment to any soft dessert.  Other garnishes can be used but make sure they’re functional and can be eaten instead of tossed to the side.  Garnishes that enhance flavor, color, or texture are best! 


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