Dessert menus today have been taking on more personality. Consider The Brazilian at Perennial in Chicago, which combines a brown butter cake with cachaca pineapples, ginger popsicles and coconut sorbet, drizzled with pina colada sauce. Among this month's recipes you'll find other personality-plus recipes, such as the Goat Cheese Mascarpone Cheesecake with Crispy Maple Flakes and Strawberry Salad, from Cynthia Wong of Cakes and Ale in Decatur, GA, and Wine-Poached Pears from Chef Ashe Miller at 20.21 Wolfgang Puck, Minneapolis.
Presentation is part of image-making desserts, and recipe photos on the following pages give suggestions for offering eye-catching specialties. Robert Wemischner's new book, The Dessert Architect (Delmar, Cengage Learning; $55.95) provides additional inspiration with its modern plating techniques. But whatever you do, don't forget the chocolate. Check out our recipes for Idaho Potato Pound Cake, chocolate-crusted Annie's Peanut Butter Pie and Chocolate Jalapeño Tower Cake.