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French desserts take on East Asian flavors such as ube, guava and champorado

Pastry chefs across the country bring their own heritage to the classics 

We’ve come a long way since Asian desserts meant a fortune cookie or a scoop of green tea ice cream. East Asian flavors have been making inroads into familiar desserts for ages, as we’ve seen with treats like green tea crème brûlée or matcha cheesecake, but now thanks to passionate pastry chefs eager to expand boundaries and marry the flavors they love to the traditional pastries they have perfected, there has been an explosion of desserts and pastries that offer cross-cultural appeal. While sometimes they might be limited-time flavors for a special holiday like the black sesame kouign amann at B. Patisserie in San Francisco, which is only available during the lunar new year when the shop sells up to 10,000 of the flaky pastries, others develop incredible followings for their menu of pastries that showcase nostalgic cultural flavors reinterpreted.

Ingredients such as purple yam, or ube, the Philippine citrus calamansi, black sesame, guava and mochi bring new flavors, colors and textures to Western desserts.

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