Welcome to dessert date, your weekly sweet fix
Sweet tooths, rejoice. Each week here at SBS Food, we’ll be scouring bakeries, patisseries, dessert bars and restaurants from Perth to Paris to bring you the hottest dessert trends from around the planet.
And we’re not just talking fairy-floss-sheathed ice cream (although there might be a bit of that too); we’ll also be delving into unique ethnic ingredients, pastry chef-approved techniques and reimagined classics, with inspired recipes to try your hand with at home.
We’ve dubbed the column Dessert Date – because dessert is best shared with friends and something we always mark in the diary.
My name is Yasmin Newman and I’ll be your guide on this delicious ride. I recently wrote a book dedicated to the subject, The Desserts Of New York (And How To Eat Them All), so you’re in sweet-loving hands.
To kick things off, I chatted to five leading Australian pastry chefs for their take on the local scene right now (it was widely agreed social media is responsible for the current trend of extreme extravagance and everything OTT), plus what you might see coming soon in a sweet shop near you…
Australian native ingredients
“Australia tends to follow global trends, but I’m happy to see that a lot of people are starting to embrace Australian native products – that’s our edge. Where Europe has bergamot and Asia yuzu and kaffir lime, we have ingredients like lemon aspen (imagine lemon and eucalyptus had a baby), finger lime and native mints. One I’ll be using at Glacé is river mint; it tastes like peppermint, but is stronger, like Hungarian mint.” Christy Tania, Glacé, Melbourne
Pared-back plated desserts
“This year I have noticed many classic, home-style desserts being made in a professional setting. As an example, over the last six months versions of rice pudding have been appearing on restaurant menus across Sydney and Melbourne. It demonstrates the move towards simple dishes done well and I think it reflects the current palates of diners. They desire accessible, nostalgic flavours and as such many restaurants have moved away from the showmanship of multiple elements on desserts.” Lauren Eldridge, Group Pastry Chef, Van Haandel Group, Melbourne
“There is a whole generation of people who have grown up not eating around a table and you should see their eyes light up when you put an old-fashioned sponge in front of them. It’s like a hug. So I think we are going to see more desserts like our grandmothers made. There are a few home bakers around at the moment sparking my interest, such as Emiko Davies and Julia Busuttil Nishimura, who are baking from a traditional repertoire and returning to using heritage flours.” Nadine Ingram, Flour & Stone, Sydney
“The whole idea of being sustainable and using bi-products is probably the biggest thing I see, as well as more savoury desserts. For example, people are using ingredients that would usually be chucked in the bin, such as peels and cores to infuse ice cream or caramel made from leftover whey. Jo Barrett from Oakridge in the Yarra Valley is one to check out; she uses produce from the winery’s seasonal kitchen garden and flour milled on site. I’m also seeing places like Berkelo in Sydney using stone-milled grain.” Andy Bowdy, Saga, Sydney
“Nitro ice cream is already available in Australia, but the ‘fire breath dragon’ – colourful nitrogen cereal that you breath out of your mouth like a dragon – takes it to another level and hasn’t reached Aussie shores yet.
I’m also predicting jar desserts (deconstructed cakes or cupcakes in a jar that you eat with a spoon), sweet tacos (ice cream or another sweet element in a taco), Korean-style toasties (with flavours like matcha and red bean paste), and s’mores served in new forms (from doughnuts and sandwiches to zen gardens).” Anna Polyviou, Shangri-la Hotel, Sydney
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