We have a confession to make: we have a serious sweet tooth. Thankfully, caterers this year are pushing the limits when it comes to dessert, innovating to satisfy customers' needs—and giving them a sugar rush.
To get the scoop, we spoke with Bonnie Kravitz, executive pastry chef at Daniel et Daniel in Toronto. She shared her observations of dessert trends in 2018 and how she's making them her own.
Chef Bonnie Kravitz demonstrates candy making techniques on the tradeshow floor at Catersource 2018.
Q: What kind of trends do you see with desserts this year? Styles? Flavors?
People are leaning toward lighter desserts over heavy, rich chocolate ones. Fresh flavors...using fruits, vegetables, citrus. Turmeric has been a huge ingredient for me in the past year for desserts.
I’m seeing a lot of plant-based, “healthy-ish” desserts. We do a lot of vegan and plant-based desserts. We have been using a lot of alternative flours (sorghum, teff, buckwheat, and nut flours) and sweeteners (dates, bananas, coconut sugar, maple syrup) in our baking. This is something I have loved exploring myself. I keep a super healthy and clean diet (usually, we all have our weaknesses—mine is ice cream!), avoiding processed junk-y foods. I was really happy to see this trend moving in. We have introduced a lot more healthful breakfast options and desserts that are made more naturally. They’ve been hugely popular. We obviously still make the doughnuts, deep fried cheesecake, super rich desserts, and all that stuff, but I have absolutely seen a rise in people wanting (and I feel like this is an oxymoron) “healthier” dessert options.
Chocolate Clementine Mousse. Photo courtesy Daniel et Daniel
Q: What is your favorite dessert to create?
[I’m] very into vegan baking right now. I think it's so cool what you can do with chickpea juice and flax seeds.
Q: What is your favorite dessert to eat?
Ice cream. Always. My favorite flavor right now is chocolate lemon from this coconut gelato place near me.
Cookie Dough Truffle Cone. Photo courtesy Daniel et Daniel
Q: What are the most requested desserts from clients for corporate events?
Corporate events tend to go for the fun, interactive dessert stations (liquid nitrogen ice cream) and the classics. We do a lot of baked goods, different verrines, mini cakes, and bites.
Q: What are the most requested desserts from clients for weddings?
We see a lot of sweets tables over plated desserts for weddings. Fun and nostalgic desserts tend to be popular or something that is a favorite of the couple.
Hazelnut Crunch. Photo courtesy Daniel et Daniel
Q: What unique ways are you plating or displaying the desserts?
I wouldn’t say it’s unique, but I am a fan of the deconstructed plating style (I hate using that term though, I think it’s over used). I tend to take a dessert I loved as a kid or a flavor profile I want to explore and pull out all the elements. It’s a joke at work that my desserts come in 18 containers with a bunch of piping bags. I’m a big fan of cremeux, which is sort of like pudding-meets-mousse. It's super versatile (you can whip it, mold it, pipe it, spread it, etc.) and makes great use of flavors and texture.
Lime Posette. Photo courtesy Daniel et Daniel
Q: Any advice to chefs or caterers on how to create a new dessert?
I tend to start with an ingredient I want to use, or a flavor or texture I want to showcase, and build out from there. Sometimes inspiration comes from a cool plating style I saw that I wanted to explore. Often, a client will request a specific flavor or tell us about their favorite dessert, then we put a modern twist on it or pull out the elements to create something new. Also, I will often think of a dessert of flavor I love or loved as a kid, even if it's something super simple. It gives you a great jumping off point to create something new and amazing from!
Daniel et Daniel is a proud member of the ICA. For more information, visit internationalcaterers.org.
Cover photo "Strawberry Fields" courtesy of Daniel et Daniel