4. Soft Serve
As chefs took up the call to run their own bakeshops (rather than hiring a sweet talent) soft serve became a permanent fixture on 2011 dessert menus. And the boom of fast-casual cuisine—from hot dog meccas to gluten-free hamburger spots—goes hand in hand with this childhood-favorite. At HD 1, Richard Blais’ new hot dog locale in Atlanta, Chef Jared Lee Pyles plays with candy for inspiration, using malt balls and Red Hots to create downright addictive swirls. And Portland’s Sunshine Tavern adds olive oil and a hard chocolate shell to honey ice cream for a dessert that fits right into their upscale gastropub feel. Chicago fast-casual spots Gramwhich and Belly Shack both offer the cold stuff: Soft Serve Vanilla with Vietnamese Cinnamon Caramel Topping and Greek Yogurt Soft Serve, Pomegranate, Glazed Chestnuts, and Dark Chocolate, respectively. But this dessert isn’t reserved for sandwich shops and pubs alone. During our 2011 ICC, Pastry Chef Ralph Perrazzo showed off his skills with the soft stuff, elevating it into a refined dessert option for any restaurant menu. And the House-made Madagascar Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream with Hoji and Green Tea Syrup at New York’s Takashi fits that bill just right.
Greek Yogurt Soft Serve, Pomegranate, Glazed Chestnuts, and Dark Chocolate by Chef Graham Elliot of Grahamwich - Chicago, IL