Best Desserts - 2009
Considering the wonders that pastry chef Carrie Summer works in her mobile trailer, Chef Shack, it's no surprise that the sweets she creates in a full-size kitchen are our favorite in the Twin Cities. Summer, formerly of Cue, Spoonriver, and several lauded coastal restaurants, designs all the desserts for Bruce Taher's restaurants: the Wayzata, Alaska, and Nordeast Eateries, plus the flagship, Forepaugh's. In the restaurant's venerable St. Paul mansion, Summer presents several familiar favorites, re-imagined. Cheesecake is served like an ice-cream sundae, hidden under a sugar-disk lid: The creamy, salty-sweet filling is scooped into a bowl and topped with a rustic fruit sauce and almond streusel. The deconstructed banana cream pie is a more delicate, complex version of the original. Slices of the caramelized fruit are paired with a luscious vanilla custard and hazelnut praline, then drizzled with maple syrup and coffee liqueur. For chocoholics, Summer has created a moist chocolate cupcake enhanced with dates and a chocolate marquise (think ganache-frosted brownie) paired with sea salt, cardamom, and caramel espresso gelato. Even her riskiest plates succeed. The coconut fruit soup—a little nest of shredded phyllo dough filled with fresh fruit and doused with rose-scented coconut milk—for example, tastes like the stuff of dreams.