When I think of summer desserts, I think of fresh summer berries, juicy sorbets, and sweet, creamy custards and puddings in their frozen and non-frozen states. I think of chasing down the ice cream truck and devouring soft serve ice cream cones like they’re about to go out of style. And then there are the childhood memories of turning your tongue purple from licking popsicles and getting brain freeze from chugging freezies down at the speed of light. As fabulous as those things are, summer just got a lot more interesting: savour the sweet taste of summer with dessert – in a jar!
What used to be exclusively reserved for canning and preserving and holding spaghetti sauce and pickles in many of our kitchen pantries has now transformed into chic DIY food projects and a creative and adorable way of presenting desserts. People are using little (and sometimes not so little) glass jars to create one-of-a-kind gifts and some very cute and portable sweet treats, and I think part of the appeal lies not only in the aesthetic but also in the singularity and portion control factor along with the “Ooo, this is special and was made just for me!” type of mentality. The humble little glass and metal food storage container has taken the foodie world by storm: granola and yogurt parfaits in a jar, layered cookie and cake mix in a jar, cookbooks devoted to these decadent little morsels (the brand spankin’ new Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine by Shaina Olmanson!) and in the case of Mount Pleasant’s Simple Bistro, summer strawberry trifle in a jar!
Simple Bistro’s dessert menu is comprised of four different desserts ($9 a la carte or $4 when you order one along with you meal) including a vanilla blancmange (a dessert similar to that of a panna cotta) with blueberry compote and candied mint leaves, a lemon curd tart with Limoncello chantilly and candied lemon zest, a chocolate Black Forest cake with milk chocolate mousse, dark chocolate ganache, and kirsch soaked cherries, and my belove dessert, the strawberrry trifle!
Like any food decision I make, this choice entailed a ton of hemming and hawwing. My thought process: “How could I give up an opportunity to have something lemon? Vanilla and blueberry are a perfect combination! I really don’t eat vanilla desserts often enough” and so on and so forth. The strawberry trifle sounded so lovely though so I made up my mind and stuck with it. I had no idea this dessert was going to be THIS fabulously adorable! And of course, wonderfully delicious!
When my little strawberry trifle in a jar arrived at my table, I gaped at it for the longest time trying to wrap my head around the fact that my dessert was brought me to in a sweet little country farmhouse jar filled and layered with little strawberries, light-as-air crème patissière (sweet pastry cream custard), little lady fingers, and Fragoli strawberry liqueur. Even though I’m not 100% sure about this, my gut was telling me the strawberries were Ontario ones, just from the size and sweet taste of them. I had Ontario strawberries at their peak last month and as soon as I bit into one, I knew right off the bat that’s what they were without even being told or without the strawberries even being labelled as such.
The dessert was amazing. I couldn’t believe how fluffy and airy it was and oh my goodness, the lady fingers were to die for! These were not your run-of-the-mill bone-dry lady fingers that are way too cakey for their own good. These were sweet little lady finger biscuits sprinkled with sugar (my guess would have to be demerara sugar) and they tasted SO unbelivably good with their bright and sweet syrupy, caramel taste. The dessert in a jar just made it all the more summer-like, like it was made to be eaten out in the countryside on a porch on a summer day. It was delightful and the perfect ending to my summer morning brunch meal.
Simple Bistro is located at 618 Mount Pleasant Rd between Eglinton Ave. East and Davisville Ave. in Mount Pleasant Village. They serve weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-2:30pm. Visit their website HERE to view their menus and for more info.