Warmer weather is the perfect time for fruit desserts, when so much delicious fresh produce is in season and customers are craving lighter, fresher options. In fact, according to Technomic’s 2015 Flavor Consumer Trend Report, fruity flavors such as mango, lemon, strawberry and watermelon are perfect for spring and summer desserts, especially among younger consumers.
Here are four ways operators can innovate with fruit-forward desserts for summer.
Comforting, old-fashioned desserts of all kind seem fresh and new when they feature seasonal fruit. Height-of-season fruit pies, bursting with fruit such as blueberries or peaches, are always popular, especially under a beautiful lattice crust that shows off their color. And don’t forget elegant tarts, rustic fruit crostatas and trendy single-serving hand pies.
The whole category of comforting fruit-based crumbles, crisps, cobblers and Bettys offers an easy alternative for kitchens without a pastry chef and can be topped with whipped cream or ice cream to add value.
Never underestimate the healthy appeal of beautiful fresh fruit, carefully sourced and artfully presented: sugar-dusted watermelon balls garnished with mint, a bowl of perfect local strawberries or fresh-picked blackberries or even a juicy heirloom peach, fanned out attractively across a nostalgic pressed-glass plate.
Fresh fruit can also be grilled or roasted, which amps up the flavor and allows the fruit to be served warm. Cinnamon sticks or other whole spices, citrus zest, and artisanal honeys or flavored syrups can be used for still more flavor and to add eye appeal.
Housemade fruit ice creams, sorbets and granitas are always popular, and they represent an excellent waste-saving vehicle for seasonal fruit—such as a bumper crop of berries or peaches that are ripening quickly and need to be used quickly.
Fruit-based popsicles, including Mexican-style paletas, can be made with a wide variety of fruit; these frozen treats work especially well for snacks and carryout. Make them sophisticated with the addition of rum or fruit liqueur, or freeze small fruits such as halved cherries or whole blueberries into a pureed base.
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Fresh summertime fruit can be the inspiration for truly special dessert offerings, such as chocolate-dipped strawberries or a chocolate fondue with fruit and pound cake for dipping.
Dessert samplers are very popular for groups of guests. One example is a lemon plate—featuring a lemon meringue cupcake, glazed lemon cookies, candied lemon slices and lemon ice cream in a hollowed-out lemon-peel “cup,” but the concept works with almost any fruit.
Apart from chocolate cake, formal cakes are often underappreciated as a dessert category, and they can be used to showcase fruits in such applications as layer cakes with fruit fillings and fresh fruit garnishes.
This post is sponsored by The Original Cakerie