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Incredibly Delicious: Fresh fruit tart
By Erica Cusumano | STAFF
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Closers
By Kathleen Ostrander

Looking for a perfect way to end a meal? Try these local desserts:

Incredibly Delicious

The Fresh Fruit Tart at Incredibly Delicious, 925 S. Seventh St., features lighter-than-air vanilla pastry cream in an all-butter shortbread crust topped with, of course, seasonal fruit.

Chef Patrick Groth tops the tart with whatever is freshest and best. That may mean blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sweet California grapes and mandarin oranges in the summer and kiwi, mandarin oranges and more strawberries in the winter.

The fruit is drained to avoid soupy puddles of juice, and the tart is finished off with just a whisper of granulated sugar sifted on the top.

Indigo

Chef Alexander Acs has created a New York-style cheesecake for Indigo, 3013 Lindbergh Blvd. that tempers the rich, dense dessert with blueberries. Set on a light graham-cracker crust, the blueberries float in the cheesecake.

The dessert is plated on a rich blueberry reduction accented with a crème on glaze that helps marry the freshness of the berries with the sweet softness of the cheesecake. The muted lighting of the restaurant makes the berry reduction seem to glow, and the dessert provides an excellent 'close' to a fine meal.

Bella Milano

Literally translated, tiramisu means "make me less sad," and how could such a lovely dessert make a diner anything but happy? Lennie Ferrigano's tiramisu at Bella Milano, 4525 Wabash Ave. is the traditional whipped egg yolks and mascarpone cheese with coffee-soaked ladyfingers. Calories be damned!

If diners must go lighter - try the cannoli. Fried pastry tubes are piped full of mascarpone and ricotta with whipped egg whites to make the mixture even lighter. Cannoli is finished off with chocolate chips, a dusting of powdered sugar and a cherry on each end.

Lindsay's

The dark chocolate marquise offered by Chef Steve Wahle at Lindsay's, 701 E. Adams St., comes in an edible white chocolate cup. The dense, chilled dark chocolate concoction in the cup is surrounded by a blackberry reduction and the sweet richness of the berries adds a dimension to this traditional frozen dessert.

Wahle's take on the dessert is the white chocolate cup. Instead of serving the marquise in a traditional molded state or the not-so-elegant slice, the cup holds the dessert and, as an added bonus, is edible. The sweeter white chocolate of the cup partners nicely with the more bitter dark chocolate in this dessert. Fresh blackberries at the end of drizzles of berry reduction complete the dessert.

Café Moxo

"Honey, I'm home and I brought a cupcake" - it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? But it can't be just any puny cupcake - it needs to be a Café Moxo cupcake to really convey the whole "I'm so sorry for screwing up and look, I brought home a great dessert" concept. That's the idea behind the cupcakes, according to Café Moxo owner Mark Forinash.

He wanted a unique dessert and the cupcakes go like, well, cupcakes, at the café, 411 E. Adams St. There are regular-sized cupcakes, in white, yellow or chocolate with flights of fancy frosting, sprinkles, sugar bits - anything that catches the fancy eye of Amber and Lisa Kasa - Café Moxo's cupcake chefs.

And then there are the giant cupcakes that serve six or more. Admittedly they are hard to cut, Forinash says, but half the fun of a cupcake is getting the frosting on your fingers, he adds. The giant cupcakes come in different flavors with an infinite amount of frosting options. Buy a card, says Forinash; writing is a little tough on the sloped surface.

Cutting tips? It takes two - slice down the middle and then slice the halves.

Maldaner's

Because Maldaner's menu changes with the seasons, diners will have to wait for the summer menu to sample the sweet corn pannacotta. Chef and owner Michael Higgins offers the pannacotta at his restaurant, 222 S. Sixth St., with what he calls a Midwest twist.

Pannacotta, or panna cotta, literally translates as cooked cream. It is boiled cream, milk, sugar, vanilla bean and in this case, sweet corn. Gelatin is added to the mixture and it is set in a mold. With a light texture similar to flan, the pannacotta is plated on peach soup and garnished with kernels of sweet corn.

The delicate pannacotta is accented by the richness of the peach soup. To give the soup more depth, Higgins cooks it with Prosecco, a sparkling Italian wine. With a basil garnish, the pannacotta is also served with biscotti.

 

Story published Thursday, November 20, 2008 ( Volume 3, Number 5 )

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