Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, you’ll love these creative desserts from our top restaurants around the country…
The dessert menu is where chefs’ imaginations really get to run wild, putting together unexpected flavour combinations and playful spin on classics like chocolate mousse or carrot cake.
Someone else whose imagination ran wild when it came to pudding is Roald Dahl. From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to The Twits, his tales are filled with unusual edibles.
So, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth, we’ve taken these Dahl-licious desserts from each restaurant’s autumn 2016 menu and imagined which of Dahl’s characters would love them…
Smoky bacon toffee doughnut
If you’re dining at Stoke by Nayland this autumn, make sure you save room for dessert – specifically, executive head chef Alan Paton’s incredible smoky bacon toffee doughnut. It comes with spiced coffee sugar, whipped milk and is adorned with a crisp slice of maple-glazed pancetta. Roald Dahl also invented a savoury doughnut (though we doubt it was as appetising as this one) – the goose-liver doughnuts eaten by Farmer Bunce in Fantastic Mr Fox.
The mango cheesecake with chestnut crunch and yuzu sorbet on the autumn pudding menu at Gliffaes offers an original trio of flavours. The chestnuts come from the hotel’s own trees, while sweet mango and tart yuzu (a Japanese citrus) offer a contrast to the creamy cheesecake. It’s a combo we think the adventurous (and Fantastic) Mr Fox would enjoy after some cunning capers in the countryside.
Passion fruit mallow
Pudding fans should save room when dining at Lindeth Howe this autumn – the dessert menu is packed with seasonal delights, like the pumpkin panna cotta with gingerbread and a sticky date pudding with tonka-bean ice cream. However, we think it’s the passion fruit mallow which is served with Pina Colada sorbet and toasted coconut which would inspire George from George’s Marvellous Medicine to make more of his imaginative concoctions.
Peach & pistachio brulee
Forget traditional crème brulee. This dessert gets a contemporary makeover at Harry’s Restaurant at the Chase Hotel where it’s reinvented as a peach and pistachio nut brulee, served with lemon shortbread. The addition of peach means that this dessert is made for none other than James from James and the Giant Peach – a famous scene from the book sees the children of New York City feast on the juicy giant peach.
Chocolate beetroot roulade
The chocolate dessert on the Morritt’s autumn menu is an imaginative confection worthy of Willy Wonka himself. Head chef Lee Stainthorpe has paired 70% dark chocolate ganache with a beetroot roulade (earthy beetroot and chocolate make a surprisingly good combination), with fringed wood sorrel and chocolate sorbet.
Salted chocolate ganache
There’s another creative chocolate dessert on the menu at The White Hart, the restaurant at Devon’s Dartington Hall. A rich brown butter and salted chocolate ganache, with crunchy shards of honeycomb is balanced out by a refreshing coconut sorbet and Malibu gel. We think Charlie Bucket’s choc-loving grandad would appreciate this one (and enjoy the boozy element).
Blackberry & apple tart
Blackberry and apple tart has undergone a reinvention thanks to The Imperial’s executive chef Arwel Jones. Forget a traditional pud and think a beautifully-plated combination of tortes layered with Calvados cream and blackberry pastilles. The apples in the dessert come from a local orchard, so this one is a perfect fit for Farmer Bean from Fantastic Mr Fox, who had thousands of apple trees and was partial to a gallon or two of cider.
The chocolate nemesis has a cult following among pudding fans – this rich, flourless chocolate cake was first made famous by the River Café in London. Milford’s version is similarly gluten-free, but you’ll have to be in luck to try it – the pudding menu changes daily. We think Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would rise up to the challenge of this intensely chocolatey pud.
Dark chocolate brownie
There’s a triple chocolate hit on the current autumn menu at Hintlesham Hall in Suffolk. Head chef Alan Ford has teamed a dark chocolate brownie with white chocolate ice-cream and a bitter chocolate sauce which cocoa nuts will love. Charlie Bucket, the eponymous hero of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, would certainly pick this one for his pudding.
Head chef Rob Newman’s carrot cake is a playful take on this teatime favourite. A slice of delicious carrot cake is served with mandarin sorbet and topped with elegant dollops of cream cheese icing, carrot and vanilla gel and candied walnuts. We think clever Matilda would enjoy a slice of this cake while curling up with a good book and plotting how to defeat mean Miss Trunchbull.
Have we whet your appetite? Go on, enjoy a gourmet getaway this autumn and squeeze in one (two, or three) of these show-stopping sweets. Mmmmm.