Q: What desserts are you thinking about for our clients in 2013?
A: Kim: I’m still loving the petite dessert trend. It has been a trend for a few years now but one that’s not going away. Clients love it because they get to try more things in two or three bites. Also, you can have so much more variety with different flavour profiles. When you do a buffet with petite desserts it looks sensational!
I often focus on the petite desserts when I am creating a menu because I know that’s what our clients want. They can be incorporated into plated desserts, unique dessert stations and buffets. We are always one step ahead, looking at ingredients and presentations that are trending, but ultimately we look at what is popular for our social, wedding and corporate clients.
Q: Give us a some inspirations of what you are loving for weddings this summer.
A: Kim: I love the idea of a small exquisite wedding cake surrounded by lots of petite desserts such as: dessert shots, cheesecake pops, fruit tarts, macaroons and dessert spoons. It’s a gorgeous visual with great impact, particularly if you can layer the table with lots of tiering.
Q: What are you developing right now for the spring summer menu?
A: Kim: I’m working on a few new dessert spoons like strawberry shortcake and a new modern Jello shot served on a spoon.
Q: What is the biggest influence on desserts this year that you are keeping in mind when creating items?
A: Kim: Alcohol, both hard liquor and liqueurs, in desserts, gelées and ice creams! Alcohol infused desserts are THE trend.
The idea is that you infuse the alcohol in all the elements of a dessert without overpowering the flavour. The Chocolate Whiskey Cake we created for our Valentine’s Day menu this year is a perfect example. The bourbon whiskey is in the cake, the cherry sauce and the mascarpone cream. It’s divine! (See recipe.)
Another new idea from our spring summer menu is a strawberry shortcake with Grand Marnier macerated berries and Grand Marnier cream.
Q: Where do you stand on the gluten-free trend?
A: Kim: Without a doubt this is the biggest food trend in the industry right now. Our clients are asking for more gluten-free desserts and baked goods. We want to ensure we can make that happen without compromising taste and flavour.
I’m excited about using Cup4Cup gluten-free flour which is a great replacement for all-purpose wheat flour. It was developed by the R&D chef at the renowned The French Laundry in the Napa Valley.
We’ve always had gluten-free desserts on our menu like our crème brûlée, coconut rice pudding, flourless chocolate cake and petite coconut Key lime tartlets. What I want to do is re-imagine some of our current popular desserts and have a gluten-free alternative option. We are doing it right now with our petite brownie bites topped with dark chocolate ganache, caramel cream or passion fruit cream. We have also created a few new gluten-free breakfast items for our Corporate Delivery Menu, including an orange cranberry scone and chocolate banana bread.
Q: Donuts are everywhere! Is there a place for these on Culinary Capers’ dessert menus?
A: Kim: They are taking over for cupcakes right now. It’s not a practical idea for all off-premise catered events as they are best when fried right on-site. If logistcally possible, I do love the idea of donut holes done fresh at the event. I’m envisioning blueberry lavender, Meyer lemon glazed, bacon and maple, and chocolate salted caramel donut holes for the right style of event. I see them being served warm in small bags for guests to enjoy!
Q: Are you a fan of the very sweet trend with candy bar or cookie stuffed desserts?
A: Kim: This is a trend that is more for the home cook. I don’t see incorporating this into our menu unless it is requested as a special order. We are a scratch kitchen and do not have any transfats in our baking. I’d prefer not to use store bought products like Oreos and Mars Bars. If I was to envision what I would create – it would take a more sophisticated approach such as a caramel cheesecake embedded with chunks of local artisan chocolate from Chocolate Arts or Thomas Haas.
Q: We have seen a lot of “desserts-in-a-jar” concepts – what are your thoughts on these delightful creations?
A: Kim: Definitely something I’m seeing being carried over from last summer. We don’t do a lot of these types of desserts but this concept could translate into a plated dessert concept for sure. It could also work well as a dessert station for a wedding with more of a rustic themed environment.
Anything can be layered like mousse and ice creams with sauces to cakes, crumbles and pies can be served in a glass mason jar. It’s a fun presentation, especially for a vintage country theme or picnic. This would be more of a specialty item we would customize for a specific theme menu. I’m wanting to try out a lime vanilla mousse with layers of coconut cake, raspberries, cream and raspberry coulis.