Few things are as satisfying as following up a delicious meal at your favorite restaurant with a decadent dessert and cup of coffee. Wheeling out the dessert selections in front of the table will often turn the minds of diners from “I’m stuffed” to “well, maybe I could eat a little bit more.” But instead of ordering the standard chocolate cake or warm brownie, try something a little different, something that can’t necessarily be found just anywhere or made from a box at home.
Here is a quick and dirty guide to some delicious desserts to order next time you’re out that will perfectly conclude an otherwise brilliant dining experience.
This dish combines a variety of flavors, textures and temperatures to compliment one another on a level that few other dishes can claim. Baked Alaska is, simply put, ice cream, surrounded by sponge cake, topped with freshly baked and browned meringue (hence the name). Like a warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, the contrasting warm meringue and frozen ice cream are an absolute delight. Bombe Alaska takes it one step further, splashing an alcohol (typically rum) over the top of the dish, then lighting it ablaze as it’s served.
Though it’s not necessarily an “upscale” dish, a surprisingly large number of people not only haven’t tried baklava, they’ve never even heard of it. The makeup of baklava is simple, yet when properly executed by an expert, the taste is incredibly hard to beat. Filo dough is mixed with nuts and layered and topped with honey or a syrup variant to sweeten and solidify the pastry. Some variations on the classic dessert include cinnamon, different varieties of nuts and modifications to the glaze used to top the dish.
A classic Italian dessert whose roots lay in 20th century Italian kitchens, tiramisu gives the diner a well-executed mixture of bitter and sweet to end a meal. If you’re ordering tiramisu next time you’re out to eat, consider skipping the post-meal coffee, as this dish features lady fingers dipped in coffee, then topped with a combination of sweet whipped cheese and cocoa. The result is an incredibly light and airy, yet surprisingly decadent and rich end to your evening. To put a spin on the classic, some choose to add wine or Kahlua to the dessert.
While any truffle will undoubtedly make up a scrumptious dessert dish, black (or Perigord) truffles are, in my opinion, the most delicious (and one of the most expensive). Often noted for the bitter and/or peppery flavor, black truffles are often used in cooking main dishes and entrees, but can be candied and used in pana cotta or flan.
Sometimes when looking over a menu, there is a part of you that wants to order something tried and true, something you’ve had and enjoyed before. But part of you could–and should–want to try something new. After your next big meal out, try something off of my dessert list and open your mind (and mouth) to a new world of desserts.