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Since I'm pretty obsessed with finding great desserts, I spend a lot of time examining pastry menus from all over the country. Here are some of the biggest trends turning up on early fall menus.
© Tina Rupp
1. Black pepper. Salt continues to be popular, but now pastry chefs are experimenting with pepper, which adds a mild heat to desserts like tuiles, sablés and even cheesecake.
2. Brown sugar. Obviously brown sugar is nothing new, but now it's being called out as the title ingredient in pavlovas, tea cakes, pound cakes and cookies. This recipe for simple Iced Brown Sugar Cookies from Baked in Brooklyn is a great way to embrace the trend at home.
3. Chocolate crémeux. The French word just translates to "creamy." The silky, pudding-like dessert seems to be the new darling on pastry menus. For an Italian take on this classic, try this Milk Chocolate Cremoso recipe.
4. Duck fat, lard and foie gras. These fatty faves are adding a savory element to cookies, profiteroles and even s'mores.
5. Upside-down cakes. Pluot, peach, blueberry, black plum, and of course pineapple are some of the fruits starring in this easy cake. The most interesting fruit in rotation has to be tomato, seen at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon. Here's our recipe for the perfect upside-down cake.Related: 30 Beautiful Desserts
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