As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2014, coming April 16, the Hot Dish is serving up 100 of our favorite local dishes.
This summer, when French Meadow opened Bluestem Bar & Table, a restaurant with a focus on wines and locally-sourced gluten-free fare, we fully expected to be romanced by veggie-friendly plates and perhaps be won over by sustainably farmed fish dishes. What we didn't expect was that we'd also be treated to some of the most indulgent and well-executed desserts we'd had all year. Though a buttercream-frosted gluten-free chocolate cake and a take on vegan Red Velvet brilliantly colored with beet juice were both worthy competitors, it was Bluestem's rich, candy bar-inspired Milky Way tart that took home the gold.
A short, subtly sweet chocolate pastry case holds together mounds of malted chocolate pastry cream, which has a texture somewhere between whipped frosting and mousse. It makes for a very good mimic of nougat, yet it's much more sophisticated. Drizzled with a slightly salty caramel for balance, the tart is so rich that a few bites would satisfy, but somehow airy enough that you feel like you can go back for more.
Believe it or not, the first Milky Way bars ever produced were manufactured in Minneapolis, so this could be described as a heritage dessert. Either way, its name is certainly fitting. It's positively celestial.