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Friday, January 14, 2011

7 Dessert Trends for 2011

Allyson N. Jason ©
What will fall out of dessert heaven for 2011?

The is the hot topic right now.

I have my own predictions about what dessert trends will develop this year, and although some of these predictions might turn out to be wrong, it's still very fun to play Prediction Faery.

Let's take out my large, candy-colored, crystal, jawbreaker globe and talk about the sweetness of the near future.

Doughnuts from Doughnut Plant
1. Doughnuts - Doughnuts will come back into the fold. They never really left, but cupcakes took over and slapped doughnuts out of the spotlight. The low-carb diet craze that peaked during the early 2000s is also to blame, but that diet trend has long since died down, and sugar and dough addiction have come back in the game, full throttle.

I am specifically thinking of gourmet, artisanal, and wedding doughnuts. We'll probably see doughnuts in many novel shapes such as squares. Doughnut Plant, a stylish and popular doughnut shop in New York is creating a lot of buzz with their delish and large square-shaped doughnuts.

In doughnuts, we'll also see new and innovative glazes and fillings (think of doughnuts that resemble macarons!) and doughnuts that feature original and toothsome flavor profiles.

The doughnut will be redressed and embellished. People will become more creative with these classic treats and rediscover their greatness. Wedding and event planners will have a lot of leverage here in helping to bring back the fame of doughnuts across the nation. For weddings, cake doughnuts will bring more versatility for decoration and flavors.
Dessert Display by Amy Atlas
2. Dessert Tables - I know what you're thinking. Dessert tables are already commanding the scene, you say, but I feel that dessert tables will continue to soar in popularity, and we'll see even more edgy and imaginative concepts blossom.

Dessert table pioneers like Amy Atlas have shown how brilliant these displays can be. Dessert tables are dream vessels for many artists to showcase their professional skills and talents in the culinary and event planning society. They are a gateway for connecting numerous people from different industries with one another.

Desserts tables command the help of event planners, bakers and cake-makers, graphic designers of many stripes (including arts-and-crafters), illustrators, confectioners, food photographers, specialty food ware shop owners, even food writers, and more. So much goes into planning and setting up a dessert table for any event and the level of creativity that can go into constructing them presents endless imagineering possibilities.

photo by Cake Monkey Bakery
3. Bite-size Treats - We'll see more culinary artistry in the realm of bite-size or individual desserts. New bakeries such as Cake Monkey, which is known to specialize in small desserts with packaging that evokes childhood memories, are becoming more pervasive and trendy.

People love having something special made just for them in cute, little, custom, sugary packages.

Not everyone is always ready to buy an entire cake or a pie, so (big inhale) tartlets, macarons, cookies, cake balls, the ongoing fame of cupcakes, little muffins and teacakes, truffles, petits fours, puff pastry miniatures, chocolates, gourmet candies, parfait cups, and many more tiny delights will continue to present colossal appeal for the masses as they explore both old and new bakeshops while looking for their dessert fixes. (exhale).

Photo from Cook Your Dream
4. Artisan Desserts - There will be an increase of popularity in artisan desserts such as ice creams (big time!), gelatos, frozen yogurts and custards, pies, dessert breads (sweet rolls and sticky buns), chocolates, and other candies.

People everywhere are starting to appreciate more quality ingredients in the foods they consume. More artisan dessert shops and bakeries, such as Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, are opening up across the nation and they're becoming both more affordable and accessible to many large metropolitan locations, which promise bigger target audiences and opportunities for businesses to catch on and grow. The strong growing support of fresh local ingredients chiefly contributes to this growing trend.

I, for one, hope that it's a trend to stay. High quality should never be a fad.

Photo by Cannelle et Vanille
5. Seasonal Sweets - Many assume artisanal is interchangeable with seasonal. Although sometimes both terms go hand in hand, they are different. Therefore, I feel that seasonal desserts deserve mention in their own category.

Artisanal, to me, means handcrafted and made with natural rather than processed ingredients. However, seasonal desserts are made when ncessary ingredients are in season.. This means the ingredients will be at their best in texture and flavor, thus giving desserts a higher quality in taste when they are served. This also means that specific desserts and flavors won't always be available year round and their prices will be cheaper and fresher when they are season.

These days, more bakeries are offering seasonal desserts and customers are more than happy to wait around for their favorites. Customers also enjoy the diversity and intrigue of seasonally-based menus. Menus in such shops are switched up often and seasonal desserts are appreciated even more when they are finally featured again.

I must mention that fruit jams, jellies, spreads, and dessert relishes are becoming popular as seasonal items that are preserved for year-round purchase from small food shops and housemade dessert sellers. Blogs such as Punk Domestics are showcasing just how starchy this trend in preserved seasonal foods is becoming. I could even give canning and preserves a category of its own as a dessert trend prediction, but I'll keep my list of predictions to lucky number 7!

Chocolate fondue at The Melting Pot
6. Fondue Bars and Parlors - Fondue-centric restaurants and dessert bars will pick up in popularity.

I feel that in 2011, more people will have a desire to explore and seek out new dining experiences. Fondue bars and parlors offer patrons the ability to be super tasteers and entertain their palettes with mix-and-match flavor options..

This year is the best time to open up a fondue dessert bar or visit one in your local area, because the distinctive and fun dining style provided in most fondue places is catching on.

Fondue joints are not only known for providing places for people to uniquely socialize, they also provide a do-it-yourself eating experience for customers.

Usually diners in fondue restaurants are expected to cook their own foods at the table, but since we are discussing dessert, diners can expect to serve themselves from an array of fresh slices of fruits, pieces of chocolates, cubes of brioche breads, and various other sweet items such as marshmallows, with an assortment of stimulating dipping sauces. Menus are usually open and they vary from one fondue place to the next.

Popular sauces are caramel, chocolate, butterscotch, marshmallow cream, hot fruit glazes, and warm puddings, custards and creams. In fondue eateries, diners can be as creative and experimental as they wish to be with many possibilities of creating custom flavor combinations. Again, this is a tasteer's fantasy.

It might be hard to find a place in your neck of the woods that specializes in just fondue, but fondue restaurants such as The Melting Pot are giving people a chance to see what the fondue dining experience is all about.

Pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Shop
7. Pies and Tarts - We've seen a lot of cupcake, doughnut, and ice cream, frozen yogurt, and gelato shops, but pie shops are becoming the new kids in dessert town.

These are bakeries completely or mostly dedicated to serving pies and tarts -- bakeries such as Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie shop, located in Brooklyn, New York.

I like to call them "pieries" [PIE-uh-ries] or [PIE - rees]. Don't you just LOVE the way that word sounds? I do!

Some pieries serve pies based on seasonal ingredients, but most up-and-coming pie shops tend to be artisanal. This means that pies are handmade, served with fresh, quality ingredients and customers can either dine in and share a pie or large tart around a table in a gathering or order for take out or special events such as weddings and parties. Event planners are hearing more about weddings that request themed tarts and pies, rather than cake or cupcakes, as the dessert focus.


Well, my fellow sugar adventurers, this spells the end of my predictions for 2011 dessert trends. I based on my predictions on intuition, paying attention to what seems popular in the food and dining industry, lately, and on what I feel would be cool to see more of in this promising new year.

So, what do YOU think?

Do you have any dessert trend predictions for the New Year?

If so, do tell!

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