Le Pigeon's Whoopie Pie by pastry chef Nora Antene.

Le Pigeon's Whoopie Pie

Pastry chef Nora Antene throws a few thunderbolts at a cult Amish sweet, making us wonder: why aren’t roasted red peppers in all chocolate desserts?

Building Blocks: Instead of the usual whipped cream, Antene’s soft, super-dark chocolate cookies bracket a cloud of mascarpone cheese—Italy’s sweet thickened cream.

Crushed Hazelnut Praline

Candied Red Pepper "Twizzler": This nabs our Most Inspired Garnish award: a mock licorice stick fashioned from red peppers, charred, dehydrated, candied, then brilliantly twisted. Fooled us!

Chocolate Sauce

Romesco (Spanish red pepper and nut sauce): The improbable moment that vaults this dessert into our hall of fame: dragging a forkful of whoopie pie through chocolate sauce, then landing in a lake of sweet, savory, smoky excitement. This is the wilder side of romesco, with roasted peppers, sure, but also ground-up cinnamon bread ends, caramelized tomato, and creamed sherry. There’s no going back.

Chocolate hazelnut tuile: A crackling, paper-thin cookie hides inside—a Le Pigeon–style “Easter egg.”

Maurice's Chocolate Box

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Maurice's Chocolate Box by chef Kristen Murray.

On top: Some possibilities: toasted, bitter-nutty Woodblock cocoa nibs, or crunchy Valrhona dark chocolate pebbles

Cake: Could be either coffee-scented devil’s food or dark, toasty black sesame seed cake

Chocolate mousse: Lusciousness defined: yolk-rich, two kinds of chocolate, and a tang of crème fraîche

Banana mousse: An intense mix of ripe fruit whipped with cream

Portland’s best-dressed cake: three layers with two different looks—depending on the day, and chef Kristen Murray’s mood. The white box is pure Jay Z: all sleek, calculated cool glazed in cream-colored cocoa butter. The black box is Audrey Hepburn in a party dress, complete with chocolate pearls. 

Castagna's Potato Skin Meringue

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Castagna's Potato Skin Meringue by chef Justin Woodward.

These smoked-sugar meringues look like the last gasp of fall leaves and smell like a campfire in the snow. Crack into always-inventive chef Justin Woodward’s creation to find icy pebbles of buttermilk granita perched over a potato-skin ice cream that revels in malty tones and creamy extremes. It’s a root cellar gone luxurious, a poetic ode to winter, and, in any season, a triumph.

Three Mind-Blowing Thai Desserts at Langbaan

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Langbaan's Yok Manee dessert.

Duck-egg ice cream sundaes

This Bangkok market specialty holds glistening chunks of salted corn, peanuts, caramelized sweet potatoes, strawberries—and a moan or two of well-earned pleasure. 

Yok Manee

Earthy-sensual, coconut-shrouded clusters of herby tapioca, pounded corn, and mashed chestnuts cloaked in the heady whiff and smoke of Thai dessert candles. 

Kanom Mor Gang

Intensely concentrated cashew/pistachio/almond-paste custard tarts adorned with crispy fried shallots, like a miraculous hybrid of pecan pie and Mom’s green bean casserole. Dessert selections change monthly.

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