Bittersweet's garden-themed desserts feature ingredients grown in-house (recipe included!)

All photos by Kate Gibbons.
Pastry chef Kris Padalino dug around the garden when she joined the crew at Bittersweet this spring, and came up with some sweet and evil desserts for her first menu. Utilizing the crops planted by co-owner/chef Olav Peterson, Padalino revised the roster, adding a traditional strawberry shortcake, a rhubarb pavlova, microwaved chocolate cake and a Tim Burton-inspired terrarium full of sweets called the "garden of good and evil."

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"Who doesn't like shortcakes?" Padalino asks. For this one, she poaches fresh strawberries in brown sugar and adds a basil anglaise, then serves the crumbly butter biscuit with crème fraiche ice cream. The shortcake is a perfect summery treat, and easy enough to make at home (recipe below).

Light enough to seem calorie-free, the rhubarb pavlova is a mix of sweet-tart goodness that melts in your mouth. Meringue kisses dot the oversized bowl of poached rhubarb and a strawberry puree; Padalino finishes the pavlova with a simple syrup and Greek yogurt sorbet.

Stepping away from berries, Padalino combines caramelized bananas, marshmallow fluff, bits of microwaved chocolate cake and hazelnut-flavored gianduja ganache tubes for the simple "chocolate" listed at the top of the menu. Plated with micro-greens, the dessert mixes two of Padalino's favorite flavors: marshmallow and hazelnut.

"I have a thing for marshmallow and hazelnut. I eat Nutella all the time," she admits.

The most interesting dessert on the menu is the "midnight in the garden of good and evil." Served in a terrarium, the "garden" is a fully edible, life-like garden of sweets. Using chocolate cream as "soil," Padalino builds each dessert with matcha crumbs to simulate moss, shredded philo as twigs and branches, and a mushroom made of meringue. She adds a dollop of sour cherry sorbet for color and a bit of tang, and serves with the top on. Smoke magically rises out after the dish is opened, a la Tim Burton movie.

Single, double or triple scoops of ice creams and sorbets are also available, as are coffee and tea from Bean and Leaf.

Continue reading for Bittersweet's shortcake recipe.

Location Info


500 E. Alameda Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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