Desserts that Sin Not, by Carla Van Kampen

“Temptation is not a word in the vocabulary of the pure. To submit to pleasure implies a certain weakness of spirit, of flesh, of willpower. To avoid such submission when the dessert course rolls around is asking almost too much, even from the most devout calorie-watcher.

That is why the tug-of-war conversation between a tempted diner and his conscience – ‘I’ll regret it… but what are your desserts today?’ usually followed by, ‘No, I really shouldn’t’ – has become the final dialogue of the modern passion plays staged night after night at restaurants.

But there are post-entree offerings that needn’t banish one from the garden of eating. The salvation is in fruit.

Though fruit was the ruin of Adam and Eve, it can be a pleasant after-dinner reward. The concept of the fruit-based dessert, however, has been slow to catch on among a generation that loves its mud pies, flourless mousse cakes, cheesecakes and gooey, candy-studded ice creams.

‘The French eat a lot more fresh fruit than we do,’ says Chris Hawyer, executive chef at the Old Lyme Inn. ‘As much as we try to use fruit and be creative, the Americans go for chocolate or cheesecake.’ Where dessert is concerned, he adds, ‘all roads lead to chocolate.’

Jean-Michel Gammierello, 33, head chef at Robert Henry’s restaurant in New Haven, says that whether it is made with fruit or chocolate, ‘every dessert is popular in France.’

Gammierello, who is from Grenoble, in the southeast corner of France, says, ‘We always try to have desserts with fruit because [they are] lighter,’ he says. For his frequently changing menus, Gammierello likes to use seasonal fruit.”
-excerpt courtesy of the Hartford Courant, “Desserts that Sin Not,” by Carla Van Kampen, Wednesday, June 15, 1988. Both (top) and (above) photos that accompanied, “Desserts that Sin Not,” by Brad Clift, for the Hartford Courant, 1988

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