Root Down dishes up new desserts for summer -- and a cake recipe, too!
Don't panic. Yes, Root Down has added carrot cake, a chocolate coconut truffle and a white chocolate cheesecake to the menu -- but it didn't ditch the beloved banana "crème brulee" pie. "I didn't want a revolt on my hands if I got rid of it," says Samm Sherman, pastry director for Root Down and Linger. "I don't even want to know what would happen."
All photos by Kate Gibbons.
But that banana pie has been on the menu for the last four years, and she feared it was getting stale. Sherman's solution? Replating it. The dessert is now partially deconstructed, and arrives on a plate with a fancy dollop of sour whipped cream and banana slices to go along with the layers of chocolate, peanut butter and gluten-free Rice Krispie crust, vanilla custard and banana brulee. Topped with beer nuts for a little texture and saltiness, the pie is sweet, sour and salty all in one bite.
With a goal of pushing the envelope with this dessert menu rewrite, Sherman set out to make "uncomfortable comfort food." In another twist on tradition, she created a parsnip carrot cake with pineapple mascarpone frosting. The cake is lighter than a traditional carrot cake (although the calorie count is unknown), with layers of cake and frosting and a micro-celery garnish.
Sherman kept vegans in mind with the chocolate coconut truffle, which wraps dark chocolate with coconut milk around a Rice Krispie and roasted coconut center. The result is a rich dessert with a bit of crunch -- and a surprise, since it's served with fresh strawberries and an avocado lime sorbet. "Throw in the avocado and what?" asks Sherman. "So delicious." The dessert is also gluten- and nut-free.
The caramelized white chocolate cheesecake is a byproduct of Sherman's pregnancy -- she's due any day. She was having cheesecake cravings, and wanted to make sure there was cheesecake on the menu while she's on maternity leave. This cheesecake has an animal-cracker crust and a cookie dough-tasting center. Topped with raspberry coulis, candied rhubarb and a pistachio crumble, it's satisfying whether or not you are pregnant.
Another staple of the new dessert menu is the croissant bread pudding, which combines fresh-baked Blue Point croissants with citrus whiskey butter sauce, and tops the pudding with sour cream ice cream.
Keep reading for the carrot cake recipe, broken down layer by layer, which Sherman was kind enough to supply as a going-away present before she takes maternity leave.