We’re just on the heels of the steamy days of summer, in that middle place between the warm weather and what inevitably comes next. We need to have something sweet to look forward to, to comfort us as we slide into the chilly Minnesota months ahead. Why not let it be dessert? The number of options for delectable, seasonally-inspired desserts within driving distance of the southwest metro is impressive. The allure of a satisfying meal is surpassed only by the prospect of an amazing sweet finale.
ITALIAN-STYLE DONUT FLIGHT
This is Houlihan’s featured dessert, as well as its top seller. Italian-style donuts are similar to a cake donut or a fritter, as opposed to a yeast-risen donut. Made with loose batter and no yeast, these have a dense, cake-like consistency and are delicious when dusted with cinnamon and sugar. The donuts are served with two sauces: Kahlua fudge sauce and white chocolate Bailey’s sauce. The sauces are made by melting chocolate and butter and mixing them with condensed milk and liqueur. Houlihans also serves a 1/2 portion on its Brunch menu.
The restaurants Bourbon Pecan Pie is another popular pick this time of year.
The chef begins with a homemade pastry crust then creates a filling of pecans, corn syrup, bourbon, butter and vanilla. It is baked until gooey in the center and then topped with Cointreau Chantilly cream. The luscious flavors in this dessert create a sense of contentment with every bite.
Houlihans is very proud to note that it was featured on The Today Show in late June as being top rated by guests in a Consumer Reports restaurant chains article ranking 102 restaurant companies on food, service, mood and value. Their full menu can be enjoyed in both the restaurant and bar area. 530 Pond Promenade, Chanhassen; 952.974.3939
CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE CAKE
One of the highlights on Campiello’s fall menu is the decadent chocolate soufflé cake with salted caramel gelato. This cake is rich in flavor, and with the addition of the salted caramel gelato, is a tasteful tribute to the Italian culinary landscape. This dessert is sure to be an oh-so-memorable end to your meal. Campiello’s Tuscan-inspired atmosphere and menu makes that restaurant a great venue for families or a romantic getaway for two. The open concept kitchen turns out wood fired pizzas, pasta and a broad range of authentic roasted Italian dishes. The dessert menu is adjusted seasonally. 6411 West City Pkwy., Eden Prairie; 952.941.6868
Redstone American Grill
You simply cannot end your meal at Redstone Grill without a slice of this customer favorite. The carrot cake is assembled with three moist cake layers that are nestled between rows of cream cheese icing. The crunch of the toasted pecans along with the drizzle of caramel sauce finishes it with panache. 8000 Eden Rd., Eden Prairie; 952.903.9500
BAKED APPLE SKILLET PIE
The indulgent dessert menu has an array of fabulous choices from the triple chocolate layer cake to the seasonal berry crisp and New York-style cheesecake. But the standout on the fall menu is Wildfire’s baked apple skillet pie. When placed on the table it is impressively presented and deliciously aromatic. With crisp apples and a hint of cinnamon, the flavors of this dessert are true to fall. Enjoy it with a cup of coffee or choose something from the list of bountiful wines. Wildfire hosts cocktails and cooking classes, as well as other festive beer, wine and spirit events. 8251 Flying Cloud Dr., Eden Prairie Center, Eden Prairie; 952.914.9100
Deardorff Orchards, which is also home to Parley Lake Winery & Vineyard, is a perfect place for couples looking to enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting and families wanting to treat their kids to a fall day at the orchard. In the barn they sell apples, crafts, mums, pumpkins, honey, jam and cider. You can pick up apples to create your own succulent fall dessert at home or purchase one of their ready to bake Apple crisps or Dutch crumb topped apple pies that are sold onsite. The pies and apple crisps are created by Carlson Orchards and Bakery of Winstead, MN. The apple barn hours are 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday during the months of September and October. Deardorff Orchards, 8350 Parley Lake Rd., Waconia; 952.442.1885
SEASONAL CREME BRULEE
Kona Grill’s dessert menu is first rate, with offerings like red velvet cake, a fudge brownie sundae and key lime pie. The seasonal standout is the crème brulee. This is a creamy and rich custard like dessert topped with a crisp layer of caramel. Kona’s crème brulee appears on the menu occasionally, and is infused with different flavors as the seasons change. Past flavors have included passion fruit, salted caramel coffee and pumpkin. Stop in soon to see what mouthwatering fall flavor is on the menu for this month.
Kona Grill is situated directly across from Eden Prairie Center and has both a quieter restaurant side and an ample festive patio area that is enclosed and flanked with a large fireplace for those cool nights. The location makes it a very convenient place to meet for dinner or happy hour. The menu is expansive in a fabulous way and spans from modern American cuisine to sushi. 11997 Singletree Ln., Eden Prairie; 952.941.3262