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Best Desserts contest shows restaurateurs’ love for nostalgia

Many of the sweets submitted showed a trend toward throwback items

Applicants for this year’s Best Desserts contest showed a penchant for the preparations of yesteryear, underscoring a prevailing trend across the restaurant landscape for updated versions of classics.

Desserts are a natural fit for this trend, since they’re often intended as a stress-free and satisfying end to a meal, or as the Piña Upside Down at Cube Libre in Atlantic City, N.J., is described, “a hug from abuela,” or grandmother.

Featured in this gallery are submissions that showcase how satisfying traditional desserts can be, and how some small adjustments can make them seem fresh, even if they’re 40 years old, like the Baked Alaska at Harris’ Restaurant in San Francisco, where pastry chefs change up the cake and ice cream flavors to keep their guests interested.

Tiramisu is given a creamy center at Villa Azur in Dallas, plus added crunch from cacao nibs, while at Jack Rose in New Orleans the Tiramisu is purple and gets its crunch from shredded phyllo dough.

A layer cake becomes a celebration at Crave Kitchen and Bar in Eagle, Idaho: It’s literally called Celebration Cake, and each layer is a different flavor.

A Mimosa Chocolate Cake gets Haitian flavors thanks to chef Tomica Antoine’s mother, and bread pudding gets a boost from local apples and doughnuts at Guard and Grace in Denver.

And cotton candy gets treated like Chinese pulled noodles at East Wind Snack Shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., where its flavored with sesame and peanuts.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

TAGS: Food & Drink
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