Ever since working at a restaurant, I’ve learned the importance of how to properly plate a dessert. Think about it, food must be visually appealing before someone’s going to put it in their mouth, especially dessert which is the treat that is savored at the end of a meal. So it needs to look good. A properly plated dessert must have at least 3 components: the dessert, a sauce, a complementary textural element and a garnish.
In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to plate a dessert using a chocolate cheesecake torte that I recently made for Valentine’s Day (Yes, the Boo loved it very much). Because my torte is rich and creamy, I’ve chosen to go with some crunch for my complementary textural element. If my dessert were crunchy, then I’d go with a softer complementary textural element such as ice cream. Get it? The key is balance and a play on textures.
Here are the different components of my dessert:
-The Dessert: Chocolate Cheesecake Torte
-Sauce: Salted Pear Caramel Sauce
-Complementary textural element: Crushed Pistachios
-Garnish: Whipped Cream
The first step is to put the sauce down on the plate. Here, I’ve used the “swoosh” method. You know, how restaurant chefs seem to paint the sauce on the plate. Well, now you can do it too! Here, I’ll teach you. Simply place a spoonful of sauce down on one side of the plate. Then, using the back of the same spoon, spread it out in a single swooping motion.
To make things interesting, I’ve cut my torte into triangles and arranged them like so, with one lying flat and the other standing up. This adds height to the overall plate.
I like my desserts to have an element of tartness that can cut through the sweetness. Usually, this element comes in the form of fruit, which also gives you the opportunity to add a pop of color to your dish. I just so happened to have a mandarin orange lying around, which is a classic pairing for chocolate. I pile up a small bed of mandarin supremes at the base of the plate and finish it off with a trail of sprinkled pistachios.
So the next time you want to plate a dessert, just remember to include 3 elements: a sauce, a garnish, and a complementary textural element. Following these basic steps will turn your next dessert into a fancy plated dish that you thought only restaurant chefs were able to achieve.