Certain spices evoke certain seasons. The warming zing of ginger is always welcome in wintertime. Rather than simply bake up crowds of gingerbread men and women, pastry chefs are utilizing the zesty root in creative desserts that dazzle the palate and please the eye. Here are seven delicious ginger desserts perfect for the holidays.
Ginger Apple Mousse Dome at Lincoln, Washington, D.C.
The sweet sphere contains the spicy kick of ginger intertwined with the crisp flavor of apples. Accompanied by sour apple sorbet and a ribbon of apple tuile, it sits on a field of crumbled sablé Breton crust, which adds a soupçon of salt for balance. A forkful of all the components enjoyed together recalls a cup of mulled cider. Make a reservation at Lincoln.
Warm Ginger Toffee Cake at The Hamilton, Washington, D.C.
Move over sticky toffee pudding. Instead of a traditional date cake, the pastry team features a generous disc of warm gingerbread. The comforting creation is topped with rum soaked raisins enlivened with a little lemon juice, toffee sauce, and a sphere of vanilla ice cream. Make a reservation at The Hamilton.
Gingerbread Caramel Custard Torte at Vermilion, Alexandria, Virginia
This is the kind of dessert we crave when we break out our Uniqlo ultra light down jacket. A velvety smooth gingerbread caramel custard torte rests in a tarn of butterscotch sauce, its peaks jutting into clouds of orange rum whipped cream. For a sweet and salty finish, candied walnuts complete the treat. Make a reservation at Vermillion.
Chocolate-Chestnut Turinois with Ginger Accents at Kinship, Washington, D.C.
Ginger ice cream and matchsticks of ginger confit provide a firm counterpoint in this decadent dessert. They bring balance to the ridiculous richness of the chocolate chestnut cake – which eats like a stick of fudge – and the velveteen puffs of chestnut mousse. For flashes of fresh flavors, pastry chef Anne Specker includes disk of compressed pear and sweetly tart pomegranate seeds. Make a reservation at Kinship.
Emoji Gingerbreads at THE Blvd, Los Angeles, California
😍👌🏼😍😋😋👏😍😋😋👌🏼😍😋😋👏😍 😋😋👌🏼😍😋😋👏😍😋😋👌🏼😍😋😋👏😍😋 😍😍😍👏👏👏😋😋😋👍🏻😍😍😍👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽😋😋😋👍🏾😍😍😍👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼😋😋😋👍🏼😍😍😍 😍😍😍😍😍😍🙌🏻😋😋😋😋😋👏🏽😍😍😍😍😍😍👍🏼😋😋😋😋😋👌🏼😍😍😍😍😍😍. Make a reservation at THE Blvd.
Gingerbread Cake at Trummer’s on Main, Clifton, Virginia
Ginger to the fourth degree. Executive pastry chef Meagan Tighe’s dessert features gingerbread cake, gingersnaps, ginger ice cream, and candied ginger. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also sweet potato custard, candied cranberries, cranberry puree, and pumpkin seed brittle. Make a reservation at Trummer’s on Main.
Ginger Beer Sorbet at Oak + Rowan, Boston, Massachusetts
Executive pastry chef Brian Mercury combines water, simple syrup, fresh grated ginger, lemon juice, and instant yeast. It ferments for three days to create carbonation and amplify its flavor. The home brewed ginger beer is spun in an ice cream machine to make a sorbet with a zesty zing. Sticks of candied ginger and a swirly, buttery arlette (think of it as a croissant cookie) top it off. Make a reservation at Oak + Rowan.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Nancy Batista-Caswell (Oak + Rowan).