A Fresh Look at Autumn Desserts

Customers crave familiar, yet unique sweet flavors. They want something that reminds them of Mom or Grandma’s apple pie, but also caters to their adventuresome palates. These days, the trend is to not only execute classic desserts really well, but to do it with a distinctive spin. Alternatives like Momofuku’s Milk Bar’s Cereal Milk or familiar forms such as doughnuts and s’mores enhance different flavor profiles and presentations. The key is to find the balance between showcasing dynamic flavor combinations and adhering to people’s comfort zones.

Fall flavors such as apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, pear, and cranberry are perfect to use in innovative dessert recipes. As cravings for comfort foods set in, implement spins on traditional sweets like apple pie. For example, Salted Caramel Hand Pies offer a unique twist on this fall favorite and they can easily be taken to go or offered as a sharable dessert. Use the popularity of seasonal flavors for new dessert creations.

Pumped Up About Pumpkin

When the thermometer drops, customers clamor for anything pumpkin, from spiced lattes to pies. With its creamy texture when puréed, pumpkin is extremely versatile as a base for other complementary flavors. Pastry chefs are using the squash as a base for innovative applications that go beyond pie. Try pumpkin in a sophisticated pot de crème with cranberry compote.

Chocolate is a perennial flavor favorite and is also a natural match with pumpkin. Pair sweet and savory by combining pumpkin with goat cheese in a tart or prepare a classic crème brûlée. Spices also share an affinity with pumpkin; try using ground ginger in buttercream as a filling for a pumpkin roulade or incorporate into a creamy flan.

Get Into The Spirit

Nothing elevates a dessert more than a little spirit — alcohol that is. Bourbon is everywhere, including dessert. Try combining maple and bourbon in desserts that feature apple. Further enhance the apple flavors by making cider syrups and glazes to go over cakes, tarts, or beignets. Poach pears in red wine or white such as Riesling to add an elegant touch to after-dinner treats. Or try poaching pears in rum and combine with raisins for a fall twist on the classic rum raisin duo. Another trend is combining dessert and drinks. A drinkable treat will entice guests as they can have their dessert and drink it too!

Top It Off

Interesting garnishes will set your seasonal desserts apart. Add texture to desserts with candied nuts or cookies made with fall flavors such as cinnamon. Cranberries are the perfect component for making a crunchy and sweet streusel.

Elevate your desserts using science. Take some maltodextrin and a staple like peanut butter to make powder that will intensify a traditional dessert such as a cobbler or crisp. Caramel, especially salted, is another topping that customers love. Infuse whipped creams with seasonal flavors like cranberry, maple and bourbon, and cinnamon. Don’t just look at the product like a fruit or a vegetable: get creative with applications and transform it to something unexpected. Can it be turned into a jelly or jam? Seared in dry caramel? Sous vide? Don’t stop at roasting.

Spice It Up

Autumn is prime season for warm spices like cinnamon, which can accentuate pumpkin, sweet potato, pears, and apples. Pair cinnamon with vanilla in a panna cotta or cocoa in a mousse. Brown butter perfectly complements spice and can take an apple or pear tart to the next level. With international flavors trending, desserts are the perfect vehicles to show playful, unexpected flavor combinations that will pique guests’ interest and cut sweetness. A Japanese-style cheesecake made with a squash like sweet potato or pumpkin can showcase global flavors. On-trend matcha crumbles provide a nice counterpoint to the sweetness.