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Love dessert? Palm Beach restaurant options become more diverse

Posted On: 03-21-2019

What’s for dessert in Palm Beach?

If you’re dining out, the choices may be more diverse than ever. The reasons for that vary, but perhaps Renato’s pastry chef Veselinka “Vesna” Capric explains it best.

“Some people would like fresh fruit, others want something really rich, and now other people want to know what is in a dessert and if it’s a healthier choice. You want to provide for all of that because this is what makes people happy now — having all of those options.”

Renato’s is among other restaurants in town featuring not only gooey loaves of buttercream-layered chocolate cake, say, and dainty dishes of fresh fruit. In between those poles, the ever-present variety of offerings is growing.

Palm Beach pastry chefs, influenced in part by today’s better-informed diners, increasingly are experimenting with alternatives to traditional dessert ingredients, such as processed sugar and white flour. That often doesn’t involve dramatic changes — perhaps it means using, say, nut or coconut flours, or more fruit — but either way, that is among the contributing factors to a wider sweet playing field.

At Café Boulud, 301 Australian Ave., head pastry chef Julie Franceschini, whose artful creations are carefully composed, often features indulgent desserts. On a given night this season, they might include a Grand Marnier souffle and warm upside-down Guanaja chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream.

But Francschini also is reimagining traditional desserts. Recently, she took the concept of a French moelleux au chocolat — a sort of molten-style chocolate cake — and created a chestnut moelleux with hazelnut cremeaux.

She uses more fruit, “especially because there is such a variety in Florida to inspire you.” Instead of chocolate mousse, Franceschini recently featured Key Lime mousse with limoncello curd. Her pavlova stars pomegranate and green apple.

At Chez L’Epicier, 288 S. County Road, decadent desserts have always played a key role: Just watch as servers pour warm chocolate over a dark-chocolate sphere that melts open to reveal more goodies such as a house-made brownie, fresh raspberries and raspberry sorbet.

But other desserts this season include a newfangled cheesecake starring avocado, a “healthier rich ingredient,” Chez L’Epicier co-owner Veronique Deneault said.

The avocado cheesecake is served with almond foam and pineapple sorbet.

“Dessert should always be fun,” said Deneault. “Life is short and somewhat hectic, so dessert, whatever it may be, can be a way to treat yourself.”

Guests certainly are treating themselves to all sorts of desserts at Eau Palm Beach, 100 S. Ocean Blvd. in Manalapan. This season, that includes “tri-color” carrot cake that’s made not only with carrot, but also pumpkin, fresh orange and cardamom.

Executive pastry chef Zachary Detweiller points out that a chocolate mousse dessert at Eau’s Temple Orange Mediterranean Bistro currently features olive oil, an ingredient that, in part, replaces cream while giving the dessert creaminess.

Meanwhile, pastry chef Capric, of Renato’s, 87 Via Mizner, is known for various indulgent desserts, such as opera cake with its almond sponge cake layered with ganache and coffee buttercream and covered in a chocolate glaze.

But Capric, whose desserts also grace Renato’s sister restaurants (such as Pizza al Fresco and Al Fresco) also has been focused on striking “a balance” with her nightly repertoire of specials.

“Everyone is more informed about food and they ask about ingredients. I am like that now myself, so I understand.”

Capric’s recent daily dessert specials range from decadent to light to reconfigured. They’ve included pound cake with coconut cream and Grand Marnier-soaked strawberries; fresh-fruit parfait with no-sugar-added whipped cream; and decorated raspberry-vanilla pastry cream and fresh raspberry puree with biscuits made with, among other things, almonds and almond flour.

“As people continue to want different kinds of dessert options,” Capric said, “I think desserts will keep growing in good and new ways.”

 

 

Source: M. M. Cloutier, March 21, 2019, Palm Beach Daily News

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Zimmerman Douglas Elliman

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