abcV offers a salted caramel chocolate tart, caramelized figs and raspberries, red currant macaron, market fruit, basil ice cream and vegan matcha crème brulée.
Vongerichten’s vegan venue
In recognition of growing demand, world-famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has dedicated one of his Manhattan restaurant venues, abcV, to menuing vegetarian and vegan fare. Pastry chef Becky Flammino works her magic every day, offering a set menu of six desserts at abcV that includes salted caramel chocolate tart, caramelized figs and raspberries, red currant macaron, market fruit, basil ice cream and vegan matcha crème brulée.
Ms. Flammino readily admits that “healthy” dessert — though not quite an oxymoron — is a relative term. “We use maple syrup as a sweetener versus white sugar, and coconut oil as our fat versus butter. But I believe ‘everything in moderation’ is a good motto,” she said.
Referring to the C.I.A.’s Three Pleasures Initiative, Ms. Flammino agrees that nuts are a great fat (or fat substitute) and said vegetables may have a delicious, nutritious role to play, as well. “For the holidays, I’ll do a vegan pumpkin cheesecake with cashews but no cheese.” She suggested that carrots and zucchini combine to make a fine chocolate zucchini bread. “Chocolate and avocados can be combined using the avocados as the fat instead of butter in a mousse or ganache, then fold in melted dark chocolate (actually, cocoa powder would be better for the mousse, 70% dark chocolate for ganache).”
Come Christmas, Ms. Flammino plans to menu a traditional Buche de Noel (yule log) at ABC Kitchen, ABC Cocina and abcV. “It’s not a ‘healthy’ dessert, but you could use 70% chocolate and more maple syrup versus white sugar for the cake roll filling; you could also add less processed almond flour for more protein.”
She has been steadily (and stealthily) reducing the sugar content of recipes in all three ABC restaurants and finds the effort has changed her own perception of “sweet.” “Now, I take comments such as, ‘Oh, that’s not overly sweet,’ as a compliment, especially when guests are referring to ganache.”