Dessert at Cafe Boulud Captures the First Taste of Spring

Sugar Rush

Your daily dose of something sweet.


[Photographs: Niko Triantafillou]

When I visit a fine dining restaurant, especially one with an experienced and well travelled pastry chef, I expect the dessert to amaze. It should be as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat, with extra points for technical ingenuity and seasonal ingredients.

And good news: the colorful and striking Raspberry Vacherin ($12) from Cafe Boulud's executive pastry chef Ashley Brauze exceeds all these expectations.


The centerpiece is a hollow cylinder of dark red raspberry sorbet with walls just thick enough to stay put for the few minutes it takes to eat the dessert. Inside, rose sorbet and creamy lemon curd take you back and forth between sweet and tart. On top, in lieu of whipped cream, there's a whimsical raspberry soda foam. Crunchy segments of rose flavored meringue surround the vacherin along with fresh raspberries.


It's a fragile dessert held together just by cold—no chocolate shells or pastry rings, just soft, sweet sorbet and curd with brief moments of meringue crunch. It's a high tech dessert for ice cream lovers.


Raspberries are just getting into season in the Northeast, but rhubarb is at its [first] peak, so you may also want to consider Brauze's Rhubarb Tart ($14). It's made with sweet ricotta and vanilla pastry cream and served with thyme ice cream.