Three's A Trend: Vegetable Desserts
Mom said you had to eat your vegetables before you could have dessert. She never mentioned you could eat them as dessert. But these days, you can. Here are three spots to dig into the delicious (and maybe even nutritious!) trend in sweets.
1) Central Bistro and Bar. Making good on the promise he made when he released his spring menu, executive chef Matt Selby is working with pastry chef Heather Krussow on a whole series of desserts that feature produce, simultaneously “accentuating its natural sweetness” and highlighting its “aromatic or savory components,” as he puts it. For starters, there's a terrific fennel cake with citrus-cream cheese frosting and root beer-poached fennel in beet-Luxardo cherry reduction (pictured). Coming soon are avocado-cream-filled "Oreos" on masa-dough cookies fortified with cocoa powder and powdered sugar, then smeared with milk-chocolate cremeaux. And clafouti starring Kalamata olives simmered in simple syrup "to give them that preserved mouthfeel - but not so far that you lose that briny bite.” And morel mushroom-and-white chocolate cake served with porcini ice cream: "Morels are so earthy, dark and rich; when you smell dried morels, there’s almost a dark chocolatiness to them. So I don’t want to mess with that, but rather balance it with lighter white chocolate." And after that? “I would love nothing more than to receive challenges from guests and servers, like, ‘OK, garlic - go.’ Or, ‘Let’s see you use eggplant,’” Selby says. 1691 Central St.; 303-477-4582
2) Aiko Pops. This happening little cafe on Old South Pearl turns out an array of handmade popsicles in ever-changing flavors that may, at any given time, incorporate corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, avocado or green chile as well as garden herbs like cilantro and basil. The owners also accept custom orders, should you have a craving for, say, zucchini-cardamom pops. 1284 S. Pearl St.; 303-996-6400
3) Linger and Root Down. As pastry chef at both of Justin Cucci’s lifestyle-conscious LoHi destinations, Samm Sherman makes a concerted effort to integrate seasonal produce into her creations. Just a couple of weeks ago, we featured her carrot-garnished vegan truffle in our roundup of Decadent Chocolate Desserts; she’s also worked with parsnips and sunflowers, and Root Down’s currently pouring a celery agua fresca with strawberries. On August 19, Sherman will even be teaching a course at The Seasoned Chef Cooking School on this very subject; get the details and enroll here. Linger: 2030 West 30th Ave., 303-993-3120; Root Down: 1600 West 33rd Ave., 303-993-4200