Best of Chicago 2010: Desserts

This year’s favorite sweets, found at Paprika, Terzo Piano, The Purple Pig, and Ceres’ Table

Terzo Piano's cheesecake
Terzo Piano’s cheesecake



Best of Chicago 2010 »
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Here, dining critic Jeff Ruby’s favorite desserts of 2010. PLUS: Tell us in the comments below, what’s your favorite dessert in Chicago?

PUDDING PAPRIKA’S KHEER Some versions of kheer, the Indian adaptation of rice pudding, use coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. Shah Kabir’s delicate cinnamon-dusted version, which he perfected during his years at Indian Gourmet on Devon, is so perfectly creamy with whole milk that he doesn’t bother to mess with any fancy stuff. Instead he packs it with fresh, plump raisins, almonds, and pistachios—and that’s all you need. 2547 W. LAWRENCE AVE.; 773-338-4906

CHEESECAKE TERZO PIANO’S GOAT’S MILK CHEESECAKE Terzo’s Capriole Farms fresh goat’s milk cheesecake has a three-to-two proportion of cream cheese to goat cheese, a ratio that produces a silky slice of sunshine. It gets the crust it deserves, a delicate hazelnut shortbread shot through with toasted hazelnut brittle. The whole thing is so good you might forget the terrific kiwi, mango, pineapple, and persimmon salad on the side. Don’t—it’s the perfect exclamation point for this emphatic declaration. MODERN WING, ART INSTITUTE, 159 E. MONROE ST.; 312-443-8650

PASTRY THE PURPLE PIG’S SICILIAN IRIS An Italian dessert done right is a rare beauty which makes this obscurity even more of a treasure. The Purple Pig fills a puffy brioche with ricotta and chocolate chips and fries it until the interior is a melty, debauched nirvana. A dusting of powdered sugar pushes the whole thing to the brink of ecstasy. 500 N. MICHIGAN AVE.; 312-464-1744

CHOCOLATE CERES’ TABLE’S CHOCOLATE SOUFFLÉ TART Instead of sending out the same boring lava cake we’ve seen a zillion times, Leticia Zenteno fills a flaky tart shell with the smoothest, ooziest chocolate soufflé ever and surrounds it with a terrific tangerine compote and candied pecans. The whole thing pulls off a great trick: unmitigated heaven for chocoholics without over-the-top ridiculousness. 4882 N. CLARK ST.; 773-878-4882


Photograph: Anna Knott



4 years ago
Posted by kramerkj

Although the author clearly doesn't appreciate lava cakes as much as he should, the one at Grand Lux is still amazing five years after I first tried it. Friends I have taken there have loved it as well.
And speaking of cliches, I still enjoy the warm cookie skillet from Brownstone.

For the cold stuff, Gina's Italian Ice in Oak Park is the best italian ice I've ever had. And that's after trying every other italian ice joint in this city. Taylor Street might turn out great pasta week after week but they can't beat Ginas.

I also appreciate anything and everything that Pastry Chef, Hillary Blanchard, of One Sixty Blue creates. She's one talented chef.

4 years ago
Posted by BRock

Erwin's sour cherry pie is AMAZING! ! !

4 years ago
Posted by Reno

I want to try the Purple Pig's. I agree Grand Lux's lava cake is amazing. Another amazing dessert is the chocolage bag at Red Light it's filled with cream and fresh fruit in a chocolate shell bag. Now where can I get a good flan?

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