Herbs and spices, longtime culinary staples, are proving their worth in the dessert category, from the simplest sorbets and chocolate cakes to classic French tarts and macarons. And what a difference these additions make. Good, even great desserts are propelled to a new level of sophistication.
Fruit tarts and cakes benefit from the addition of herbs through heightened visual and taste appeal, whether in custards, glazes or fillings or as simple garnishes, such as in a pear tart with sage-infused custard and candied sage leaves. The only consideration, especially with an assertive herb like rosemary, is moderation.
Ice creams and sorbets easily take to savory partners as well, such as in pomegranate and coconut sorbet, where fresh basil adds a singular appeal.
Chocolate, too, benefits from the savory and spicy. The combination of flavors in a Mexican chocolate cake recalls mole, Mexico’s gift to the culinary world. Nuts, cinnamon, coffee and ground black pepper mingle in this cake, while smoky chile peppers infused in the heavy cream make a memorable ganache.
Take inspiration from the following recipes to begin experimenting with herbs and spices for dessert.