If you patronize fine restaurants and order dessert, you’ve probably noticed the “plate painting” that turns a piece of cake, tartlet or other pastry into a piece of art.
But it’s not just for baked goods: Custard, pudding, even fresh fruit can also benefit from an artistic touch.
In most cases, the plate is painted before the dessert is placed on top. With a sauce, for example panna cotta with creme anglaise, the dessert is placed atop the sauce and then the sauce is decorated.
The idea is not only to create art, but to add more flavors to the dessert. Everything you use should be a flavor match to the dessert, and should be consumable with a fork or spoon.
This article from Wilton shows all the easy ways to start.
The simplest thing is to use a sieve to cover the dessert plate with cocoa powder (shown in the Wilton article). But you should also try:
Fill a squeeze bottle with caramel sauce, chocolate sauce or other flavor, and squeeze out squiggles, loops, curls or zigzags. You can use two different sauces for contrast. This video shows you how.
Fruit coulis (coo-LEE, French for strained purée) in a squeeze bottle; parchment paper to make the piping cone. You won’t believe how easy it is to make flame and heart patterns on your plate.
This video shows how easy it is to make dots with fruit purées.
You can also use both of these techniques to decorate the frosting on top of cakes.
PLATE DECORATING TIPS
This video shows how to make a complex design, but also gives you all the technique for simple squiggles.
Remember: Practice makes perfect. You don’t need a steady hand to start; but the more you try, the more you’ll be able to do. Practice on desserts for family dinners, or with snacks like brownies.
And above all, have fun with it!
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