Like everything, food comes in and out of fashion. At one point, having pie “à la mode” was actually à la mode. (Around 1885) Go Go boots, bell-bottoms, fingerless gloves, plaid shirts, have all seemed like a good idea in multiple decades. Luckily, with pastry trends, it’s much harder to make mistakes that are immortalized in high school photographs, and frankly, the tastes are much better.
Here’s my list of the 5 top dessert trends happening right now, from Parisian masterpieces to twists on nostalgic ice creams that might bring back memories of the “Summer of ‘69.”
1. Ethnic Flavours
With the world being such a “global village” the best kinds of cross-pollination have happened in food. Ethnic chefs with French pastry training, Asian cultures backing up against one another in metropolitan cities, the intense amount of traveling and sharing of food photography over social media, it’s just natural that chefs are asking “why not?” They are creating new combinations of flavours influenced by cultures that have inspired them and Sadaharu Aoki and Café Pouchekine are great examples of this culinary mélange being Japanese and Russian inspired flavours based in classic French technique. I myself just recently created a Cumin & Caramelized Almond Crème Brûlée inspired by Indian and French cultures…why not?
- Sadaharu Aoki: Matcha Salted Caramel Tart
- Café Pouchekine: Medovick
- Beaucoup Bakery: Black Sesame Réligieuse (I just had to include my own baby bakery of course!)
- Basho Café: Miso Madeleine
- Fuji Bakery
Photo of Black Sesame Réligieuse from Beaucoup Bakery
2. Frozen Craft
Look around at a local farmers market or the outskirts of a foodie city, craft ice creameries & popsicle-makers are popping up with food trucks, old ice cream bikes and precious storefronts. They’ve taken our favourite childhood flavours and made gourmet versions, not to mention, ice cream sandwiches in some cases.
A few places to try:
- Earnest Ice Cream: cardamom
- Rain or Shine: London Fog
- Salt & Straw: Freckled Woodblock Chocolate
- Ed’s Real Scoop
- Bella Gelateria: Black Sesame
Photo of Kaffir Lime and Coconut from Earnest Ice Cream
3. Gourmet Doughnuts
Gourmet doughnuts seem to be a trend that has been around for the last few years but nonetheless strong. It could owe this longevity to the fact that most people love fried dough…or fried anything for that matter. However, I think a great doughnut is really hard to find, an inspired doughnut happens once a “Blue Star”. Out of all the doughnuts I have tried in my limited doughnut travels, Blue Star Donuts in Portland, Oregon is the only one that has truly changed my mind on what fried dough could be. Their apple cider doughnut is akin to a sweet and salty cross between an apple fritter and fried chicken with a sweet glaze. I went back the next morning and bought 2-dozen to take back on a plane with me.
- Cartems Donuterie: Earl Grey
- Blue Star Donuts: Apple Cider Fritter
- Lucky’s Doughnuts: Passionfruit
Photo of Assorted doughnuts from Cartems Donuterie
This is a fairly new pastry trend in Paris that has turned out to be a little divisive in the food community. The French generally love tradition and tend to stick to it. This new wave of éclair-only shops strays far from the usual chocolate, coffee and caramel flavours into exotic mango passionfruit, salted caramel popcorn and even savoury éclairs like smoked salmon crème fraîche which have obvious influences from other cultures and the adventurousness of a younger generation.
A few places to try:
- L’éclair de Genie by Christophe Adam: Mango Passionfruit & Salted Caramel
- L’Atelier de l’éclair
- Popelini: While not an éclair shop, this choux-only shop is very similar in concept and product; choux essentially being a ball shaped éclair.
Photo of Assorted éclairs from L’éclair de Genie
5. Come Back of the Kouign
Kouign Amann is a very old pastry originating from the Breton-region of France. The name has Celtic roots, which translates into “Butter Cake”. It is a yeast-based dough, layered with butter and sugar and has a very special place in pastry chef’s hearts, much like a chocolate chip cookie for the North American. In the past few years, some great chefs have created their own versions, each just as delicious. Its increasing popularity has even given rise to a frozen one you can pick up from Trader Joe’s. I haven’t tried it but kudos for being so on top of pastry trends!
- Thomas Haas: classic version
- Pâtisserie des Rêves: a long baton-like variation
- Pierre Hermé: The King of pastries does everything well
- Beaucoup Bakery: We have our own in a spiral shape with Vanilla Salt
- Arnaud Larher: Another well executed classic
- Dominique Ansel: A lighter, more ethereal version
Photo of Kouign Amann from Beaucoup Bakery
*Please note: names mentioned in the “A few places to try” list are just suggestions and are not meant to be a “best of” list. They are only places I have had the privilege to visit myself. If you have other suggestions, please let us know via Facebook and Twitter.
Jackie Kai Ellis is the owner and baker of Beaucoup Bakery, CEO/co-founder of The Paris Tours, JKE, Bespoken, Recette and The Invisible Thread. To Learn more about her, follow her on Twitter @JackieKaiEllis.