I take my dessert as seriously as I take my main meal. Having spent a year in culinary school and completing stages in various kitchens (most notably Le Gavroche where one of my wildest dreams was fulfilled when I was handed a spoon and allowed to roam free amongst the ice cream), I have the utmost respect for pastry chefs and the skill that goes into their craft. The level of attention given to dessert is no less than the attention given to a starter or main dish. They are a labour of love – a myriad of flavours, textures and colours that all blend seamlessly into one delicious dish.
The etymology of the word ‘dessert’ is a romp through culinary history. It originated from the French word desservir meaning ‘to clear the table’, and first appearing in a health education manual written in 1600. Food historian Michael Krondl explains that our modern use refers to the fact that dessert is served after the table has been cleared of other dishes. With it being the last course guests are served, surely it should be truly spectacular?
If you’re lacking sweet inspiration, here are five different types of dessert fit for every occasion (I can personally vouch for their deliciousness – I’ve tried every one of them).
1. Storecupboard Essentials
These desserts can be made from things that you’ve already got in your kitchen and fridge. Shop bought pastry or biscuits make an ideal base for quick desserts if you don’t have time to make anything.
2. Crowd Pleasers
Dessert is probably the last thing on your mind when faced with feeding the five thousand. Choose a dessert that can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge or in the pantry.
3. The Tart
I haven’t met a tart I didn’t like. A crisp base and a silky smooth filling make them one of the ultimate desserts. You can make your own pastry (and we can teach you how to do that) or use shop bought if you haven’t got time. The best part is that you can fill them with anything that you want, from frangipane to fruit. In my opinion, they are the ultimate dinner party showstopper.
4. To Impress
It is important to have at least one show-stopping dessert up your sleeve as you never know when you might have to woo the love of your life through the medium of food. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated or have an ingredients list that sends you any further than the local shops, but it does have to be beautiful and taste the same way I imagine a young Harrison Ford would.
Steve Groves' posset with pistachio cake & blood orange, Steve Groves' vanilla cheesecake with raspberry jelly, raspberry sorbet & candied pistachios, Michel Roux Jr's Rhubarb Soufflé
5. Weekend Projects
Weekends provide the perfect opportunity to embark on a baking adventure. It’s a brilliant time to try something you’ve never done before – whether that be making your own pastry (read our top 5 tips for perfect puff pastry) or experiment with making your own bread (read our top five tips for perfect sourdough)
LOOKING FOR SOME DESSERT INSPIRATION?
Join us for Puff Pastry – The Roux Way or Patisserie – The Roux Way and take away a serving of skills and knowledge to transform your baking.