Beet dessert
Due to their sweetness, beets may be incorporated into desserts.

Students take the initiative

This past summer, when Zachary Miller, lecturing instructor, baking and pastry, at the C.I.A.’s Hyde Park, N.Y., campus, took the Three Pleasures Initiative to class, he found it provided him with the opportunity to think of the natural sweetness of product. “I’ve always used sugar to amplify flavor. For me, it was a reminder that things can be beautiful on their own,” Mr. Miller said.

While highlighting dark chocolate in a Three Pleasures dessert, he incorporates pecans since it’s one of the sweetest nuts and allows him to use less sugar. “Playing around with texture in order to surprise and delight the guest, I made a pecan puree, using its creaminess on the plate.”

“I’ll use vegetables in dessert — especially beets with their incredible amount of sweetness — also sweet corn, tomatoes, etc. When I was working in a restaurant, I once prepared a dessert of roasted chanterelles pureed with maple syrup, blackberries and sweet corn. I dehydrated a bit of the puree and spread it thin to make a tuile, or mushroom wafer, to garnish the dessert.”

Mr. Miller also suggests a “healthy” dessert of peanut butter served with a beet jam; or peanut butter sorbet with beet jam plus beet chips.

On balance, he believes you can entice a guest to order a more healthful dessert. “I advise students to under-promise and over-deliver in writing menu descriptions — a lot of perception is in the wording.”