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As fabulous as this dessert is, it needed just a little color—some fronds of lemongrass—to add excitement to the plate. Photograph courtesy of Richart.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

KAREN HOCHMAN, Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE, prefers plating and garnishing to the actual cooking.

 

 

November 2005
Updated June 2009

Home / Product Reviews / Main Nibbles

Garnish Glamour

Page 3: Garnishes For Sweet Dishes

 

This is Page 3 of a three-page article. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.

It’s even more fun to pick garnishes for dessert. Often, they’re as delicious as the dessert itself. Feel free to add two or even three garnishes, but make sure they don’t overwhelm the flavor or the appearance of the main event. Here’s how you can easily turn a piece of plain cake, tart scoop of ice cream or pudding into a glamour girl:

Raspberry Cheesecake Raspberry Cheesecake 2 Raspberry Cheesecake 3
Classic garnish: raspberry and mint leaves. Below, sliced strawberries provide more coverage. Chocolate curls: another classic garnish. Below, another way to garnish with fruit, plus chocolate sauce. Edible flowers: a very pretty presentation, even if you don’t eat them. You can use candied flowers or marzipan instead.
Vanilla Cheesecake 2 Vanilla Cheesecake 3 Vanilla Cheesecake 1

Cheesecake photos courtesy of PRPastry.com, which produces many delectable flavors of cheesecake.

Now, think of what you can do with all the options below.

Garnishes For Sweet Dishes

Category Options  
Candies & Nuts
  • Chocolate morsels,
    scattered (use quality
    morsels from top
    chocolatiers)
  • Chocolate novelties:
    straws, coins, decorative
    pieces
  • Crushed peppermint or
    toffee
  • Marrons glacées
  • Nuts—chopped, sliced,
    whole, roasted or candied
  • Shaved chocolate (white,
    milk, (dark)
Cookies & Wafers
  • Bite-size gourmet cookies
  • Fans
  • Flutes
  • Petit fours
  • Tuiles
Creams
  • Chestnut purée,
    sweetened
  • Crème anglais
  • Crème chantilly
  • Crème fraîche
  • Flavored or unflavored
    yogurt
  • Sour cream, sweetened or
    plain
  • Whipped cream, regular or
    flavored (almond, cardamom,
    ginger—the opportunities are
    extensive)
Flowers
  • Edible flowers like
    hollyhocks, nasturtiums,
    pansies and violets
  • Herb blossoms (if you
    grow herbs and your
    plants are in flower)
  • Shot glasses or soy sauce bowls with sprigs of flower blossoms as plate centerpieces (arrange
    food around them)
Fruits
  • Blood orange sections
  • Candied citrus peel
  • Champagne grape
    clusters (or dot with individual grapes)
  • Citrus peel curls
  • Citrus zest
  • Dried fruit and fruit chips
  • Fans or shapes* of apple,
    pear
  • Pomegranate arils (seeds)
  • Skewered berries and/or melon balls
  • Skewered mixed color grapes
  • Sliced star fruit
  • Stuffed dates or prunes

*Cut with hors d’oeuvre “cookie cutters”; use lemon juice to prevent discoloration

Herbs & Spices
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Lavender sprigs†
  • Lemongrass
  • Mint (all varieties)

.

  • Pink peppercorns
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Star anise

†(Use culinary lavender, grown without pesticides)

Sauces
  • Butterscotch
  • Chocolate or fudge
  • Coffee or mocha
  • Fruit (lemon, berry, etc.)
 

 

 

 

We hope you’ve picked up some ideas to put to work today. If you have favorite garnishes to add, click here to tell us about them. We’re off to continue garnishing!

 

This white chocolate banana tart, scrumptious in of itself, still needs a bit of accessorizing to look its best. It’s wearing 5 garnishes: a dollop of whipped cream, a chocolate straw, a miniature cookie, fresh raspberries, and a mint sprig. Photograph courtesy of El Rey Chocolate. Click here for the recipe.

Banana Tart

 

Go To Page 1: Garnishing Overview

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