Ten Best Desserts of 2010

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Lee Klein
Hedy's dynamo doughnuts at Michael's Genuine
These are the desserts I enjoyed most during the past year. Looking over my list, I can't help but note that three contain bananas, and only one is chocolate-based. I love chocolate desserts, but so often the only restaurant menu choice is the ubiquitous chocolate molten cake -- which I've grown too weary of to order anymore. Or brownies, which I've also had one too many of. Can't remember the last time I saw a homemade chocolate devil's food cake on a menu.

Other than that, the selection is pretty self-explanatory.

In alphabetical order:

Milk Chocolate Semifreddo at AltaMare:
Pastry chef Crystal Cullison knocked it out of the park with her ethereal milk chocolate semifreddo that came embedded with Maldon salt and garnished with warm fudge sauce and a dark chocolate tuille ($9).

Banana Cream Pie at Emeril's:
It was one of the only things I enjoyed about my meal here. The tall wedge featured chunks of the fruit suspended in dense vanilla custard, with a moist banana/graham cracker crust, chantilly cream, caramel drizzles, and dark chocolate shavings on top. Yes, go ahead and say it: Bam!

Apricot Tart at Essensia Restaurant & Lounge:
Before becoming pastry chef at Essensia, Gail Goetsch worked under dessert doyen Hedy Goldsmith. Her apricot tart is stunning, half-moons of the baked fruit lined up atop a buttery pastry crust -- brilliantly paired with ginger-almond ice cream.

Lemon Pannacotta at The Forge:
Pastry chef Malka Espinel thrilled us with this tart of creamy lemon curd with a mild fennel infusion. It came paired with toasted almond gelato and fresh biscotti ($9). Alas, Malka is no longer at The Forge.

Homemade Doughnuts at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink:
Didn't review Michael's this year, but did finish a dinner there with Hedy Goldsmith's custard-filled beignets: Perfectly light and greaseless, not too sweet, with silky vanilla pastry cream within. We may not have a great doughnut shop, but at least we've got these great doughnuts.
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