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All About Modern Plated Desserts

If we had to quote one lyric to encapsulate the pains of expert dessert plating, it’d simply be this Taylor Swift chartbuster - “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem”! And we’re not even kidding.

Photo of a person pouring melted chocolate on a dessert

We know - sprucing up an entree or a main course platter is no easy deal either. But dessert plating? That’s downright petrifying. You never know where to begin from. You never know just how much is “too much”. And trusting your guts feels like dodging a bullet. Just a single mismatch of elements and whoosh - the entire build-up ends up in the trash can.

But don’t worry - every expert was once an amateur. And we’ve been there too. So today, let’s take you through the basics of modern dessert plating in this blog and help you learn some tricks and tips to enhance your dessert plating level. Not to forget, we’ve also listed 5 of the best modern plated desserts from APCA’s gallery. So, stay tuned till the end.

Now, let’s start!

What Makes For A Tempting Modern Plated Dessert?

What good is food if it only looks good, right? But don’t worry, that’s certainly not the case with modern plated desserts. Apart from the sophisticated visual aspects, a well-decorated modern plated dessert is also top-notch in terms of:

  • Flavour: Modern plated desserts are loved for their balanced palate. The taste of every element on the plate complements each other so well, it’s synonymous with witnessing a symphony of flavours inside the mouth.
  • Texture: The easiest way to tell if a chef got a modern plated dessert right? Simply by looking at it! A good modern plated dessert never lacks variety, especially when it comes to the texture of the elements in it.
  • Temperature: Modern plated desserts ooze out pleasure and one reason for that is the symmetry in temperature of the edibles in it. If the main element on the plate is warm, say pie, you’re also most likely to find a refreshingly cool element like a scoop of ice cream chumming it.

Modern Plated Desserts - What Are The Best Garnishing Elements?

Before we move to the best modern plated dessert recipes, let’s see what garnishings you can use to prop up a beautiful modern plated dessert yourself:

  • Sorbet: Sorbets and ice creams work exceptionally well in a modern plated dessert scheme. Especially if your main item is a chunky fruit tart or a warm, gooey pie - serve a quenelle of silky vanilla ice cream and that’s a banger right there!
  • Tuiles: Tuiles are another fancy garnishing element you can incorporate into your dessert plate to give it a modern twist. Use them the next time you make a soft, creamy panna cotta and see the magic unfold.
  • Fruit slices: Sliced fruits are the most basic yet brilliant garnishing item you can use to create modern plated desserts. Kiwis, strawberries, mandarins, raspberries - these beauties go well with every kind of dessert.
  • Chocolate: Another no-brainer garnishing! Chocolate goes well in all shapes and sizes - shavings, laces, drizzle - everything. So if you want to elevate the looks of your dessert without doing much, add chocolate to the plate.
  • Sponge cakes: For fondues, sponge cake cubes are one of the best garnishing elements. In fact, you can also use this garnishing to enhance a variety of other desserts exhibiting a similar, damp texture.

5 Stunning Modern Plated Desserts You Can Mimic At Home

Check out these incredible modern plated dessert recipes that you can effortlessly recreate at home with a little precision and lots of patience:

1. Vanilla Panna Cotta

Picture of a glass of panna cotta topped with chocolate, fruits, and cream
Source: APCA Chef Online

A bowl of vanilla panna cotta to wrap up a cheesy Italian dinner? Yes, please!

Rich and creamy, vanilla panna cotta is easily one of the quickest and simplest desserts ever. Literally translated to mean “cooked cream”, this 3-ingredient dessert is effortlessly tasty to eat. But hey, you can even present it in a posh, sophisticated manner to make it look appealing. Simply add a dash of whipped cream, chopped fruits, and chocolate decorations and there - you created a beautiful modern plated dessert that tastes just as delicious!

2. Deconstructed Carrot Cake

Close-up shot of deconstructed carrot cake garnished with sorbet and cream
Source: APCA Chef Online

“Simple doesn’t always have to be ordinary” - this deconstructed carrot cake is the best example of it.

Carrot cakes are a common Christmas treat across the world. But what if we tell you - you can pull off a restaurant-like modern plated dessert with carrot cake as the base? Yes, you heard that right. Take inspiration from our deconstructed carrot cake recipe. Chunks of moist carrot cake served with cream cheese frosting, caramelised walnuts, and carrot orange sorbet - this plate will make you rethink carrot cakes all over again.

For a full recipe, enrol in our All About Plated Dessert short course and learn this and 21 other mouthwatering plated desserts.

3. Apple Strudel

Photo of split apple strudel served with vanilla ice cream
Source: APCA Chef Online

If only apples looked this appetizing, none of us would need to visit the doc ever again!

Apple strudel is an Austrian pastry that’s pretty similar to the British apple pie that we munch on ever so frequently. Made of a thin pastry layer filled with cinnamon-seasoned apples and raisins, this dessert may sound like the last of the likes of a modern plated dessert. But trust us - with a little calculation, it’s possible to elevate both the looks and mouthfeel of this dessert. Just add a scoop of ice cream and nut crumbs for garnishing and see how beautifully this recipe comes together.

4. Raspberry Souffle

Picture of raspberry souffle served with flavoured sorbet and raspberries
Source: APCA Chef Online

France outdid itself when it created the heavenly souffle.

Puffy, soft, and jiggly - souffles make for a great dessert, especially when you do not want something on the heavier side. This egg-based dessert is light and mildly sweet and looks exceptionally simple. But with a few tricks, it’s possible to make it look drool-worthy. Since souffles are served slightly warm, serving a quenelle of sorbet with them elevates the feel of the meal. And not to mention what wonders this one element does to the overall presentation!

5. Chocolate Orange Mousse

Photo of a two-tier chocolate mousse served with a cup of orange granita
Source: APCA Chef Online

Last but not least, we have a modern plated dessert inspiration for all the chocoholics.

Chocolate mousse is delicious and all. But here’s one more reason to love this dessert - it’s very easy to play with its presentation. For instance, have a look at this minimally aesthetic chocolate orange mousse. A two-tier chocolate mousse served with a shot of blood orange granita. This plating checks all the boxes of a great modern plated dessert. While the two-tier mousse adds elevation and enhances sophistication, the blood orange granita brings zest to the plate and balances the sweetness of the mousse. Clever plating right there!

Wrapping Up

Plating up a dessert might sound like a cakewalk. But beware - it's easier to mess it up than amping it up. With that being said, we hope this blog on modern plated desserts helped you learn the basics of styling a dessert, the pro way.

On that note, keep following APCA Chef Online for more such informative and “oh-so-yummy” blogs on food.

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