Add flavor and whimsy to desserts with simple fresh herbs.
By Kathryn Kjarsgaard
Pastry chefs are increasingly using herbs to
add sophistication to desserts and reduce
their sweetness. From chocolates to cookies
and from cakes to brittles, herbs are turning
up as ingredient, infusion or decoration.
Santosh Tiptur, executive chef/pastry
chef at Co Co. Sala, a chocolate lounge/
boutique in Washington, D.C., was inspired
to use herbs in desserts when the trend
of using them in savory foods was big.
This lavender cookie from The Bakery at
Sullivan University, cut in a simple scallop
pattern, is made from a short dough that
includes lavender blossoms.
He worked with chefs on the sweet
components of their savory dishes, such
as salads served with lemon thyme sorbet
and tomato tarts with rosemary sorbet.
“Most importantly, I use herbs in desserts to
offer exciting flavor,” he says. “When chosen
correctly, herbs enhance other ingredients
in desserts and impart freshness to the
overall flavor profile. The fact that many
herbs have medicinal qualities is a benefit.”
These days, Tiptur says, with the average
customer more knowledgeable about food
and international cuisine, “Many of our
guests are looking for a unique twist on
the everyday dessert, which is where our
savory desserts have a place.”
Elena Clement, CEPC, pastry/culinary
specialist for Caldwell Food Group,
Washington, D.C., agrees. “As customers
are becoming more educated, they realize