Although the recent spike in daytime temperatures might change the situation, Edmund’s Oast guests have been stubbornly gravitating toward “warm buttered pears” for dessert.
“Maybe they’re craving something heartier to warm themselves,” theorizes pastry chef Heather Hutton. “But really, it’s light and refreshing.”
Profiteroles -- the legitimate centerpiece of the popular pear dish finished with caramel and apple cider ice cream -- are emblematic of Hutton’s style, which has emerged as a highlight of Edmund’s Oast in the Bob Cook era. Hutton favors lightness and acidity, qualities that are woven through her brand new dessert menu.
Cook typically takes a very different approach, giving preference to spice and fat when figuring out what to do with, say, sweet potatoes or beans. Yet Hutton rejects any suggestion that diners are seeking some kind of flavor sanctuary when they order a dessert that sounds passably like apple pie, or one of a changing lineup of ice creams: Recent choices have included key lime and cannoli chocolate chip.
“We try to work together, but we do our own thing,” she says about the complementary aspects of their menu items.
Neither are Hutton’s desserts devised to pair with beer, although servers are coached to know which on-tap brew to recommend should a customer express interest.
“I did a beer and ice cream, pairing, so the beer was part of dessert, and I really loved doing that, but it’s a hard sell to get people to order another beer,” she says.
Customers apparently don’t need any coaxing to order a dark chocolate coconut tart. Hutton, who worked at Tristan, 492 and their associated catering company before joining Edmund’s Oast, also found ample room for chocolate in a honey and tahini mousse that she calls a personal favorite.
“It looks pretty crazy,” she says. “It’s a half sphere of mousse, with chunks of halvah in it, glazed in chocolate, on top of chocolate cake. Then I do a circle of chocolate anglaise around it, and there’s more halvah around the thing.”
Despite not featuring any locally-grown ingredients, the dessert still reminds Hutton that the season is finally changing.
“I wanted to get out of winter, where there’s a lot of citrus,” she says. “We’re moving on.”