From San Francisco and Chicago to New Orleans and Sarasota, top pastry chefs have some pretty sweet visions of the future. If what they say is true, you’re in for a supremely sumptuous and decadent year. Read on to learn about emerging dessert trends for 2017 from a few of our fave pastry chefs. (Spoiler alert: Butter is back, baby!)
Casey Stone, John Ash & Co., Santa Rosa, California
“I have a diverse background — Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Portuguese, and German — so I’m always excited to see different cultural influences that I grew up with. I’m always hoping that Filipino-inspired desserts make it into the mainstream — flavors like ube or jackfruit and desserts that offer interesting textural elements like halo halo or bibingka (pictured).
I also see savory desserts possibly being a trend as well. Seeing a ton of bacon desserts gets your mind thinking about different things that could be incorporated like duck fat or salty ingredients like olives.”
Melissa Cozzi, Boleo, Chicago, Illinois
“Chefs are incorporating ethnic traditional desserts in a more modern way as well as desserts that are nostalgic—taking desserts from the past and re-creating them in fun new ways. I’ve seen a lot of places starting to incorporate ancient grains into their pastry products to accommodate those guests who are looking for healthier options while still satisfying their sweet tooth!”
Lyndsy McDonald, Jack Dusty, Sarasota, Florida
“Quinoa flour, ground chia as a thickening agent, agave and honey as primary sweeteners, coconut oil — all of these items have evolved into being their own platforms for recipe creation.
Also, soul food – last year everyone wanted to be healthy. Now I’m seeing fewer requests for “lighter” options and more requests for decadent ones. Bring on the butter!”
Adrian Mendoza, Herb & Wood, San Diego, California
”I foresee lots of nostalgic takes on the classics. Right now, it’s shaved ice cream, fresh spun ice cream off the machine, ice cream sandwiches, and nostalgic milkshakes with the overly decorated sprinkles. I’m working on playful flavors of ice creams with cookies for sandwiches, such as a peanut butter-fennel cookie with banana stracciatella gelato in between or a lime sugar cookie with blueberry cream cheese gelato.”
Blake Abene, Restaurant R’evolution, New Orleans, Louisiana
“I think Indian cuisine will be one of the next big trends in general. I’ve used curries in my desserts before, but I can see kulfi (pictured) and halwa getting more play. The flavor arsenal available in the Indian pantheon is wide, varied, and delicious.
I also see a return to comfort foods. In times like these, people tend to gravitate back to nostalgia. Think of the beginning of the recession in 2008 when burgers and cereal milk took hold. I see that returning full force.”
Patti Dellamonica-Bauler, One Market, San Francisco California
“I think we’re seeing a return to indulgent desserts, with butter and cream coming back.
Ice cream has really enjoyed a renaissance in the last few years. I see more “over the top” sundaes on menus and I’m personally having fun reinterpreting the ice cream bar. On One Market’s menu now is my Coffee Ice Cream Bar made with cold brew coffee syrup, chocolate cake, hot fudge, and candied macadamia nuts.”
Amy Sherman is a San Francisco-based writer, editor, blogger, and cookbook author. She is the publisher of the food blog Cooking with Amy. She currently contributes to numerous online publications including Food Network, Fodor’s and Refinery 29 and never says no to a warm donut. Follow her @cookingwithamy.
Photo credits: Cheryl Tiu (Dulce de Leche Bibingka at Manam Restaurant, Makati Philippines); @ConyMe (kulfi); Japengo at Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa Hotel (honeycomb). Additional photos courtesy of featured restaurants.