When the cravings hit, head to one of Oklahoma’s fabulous restaurants to get a taste of something sweet.
Roasted Pecan Ice Cream Ball
Homemade vanilla ice cream, chile-spiced pecans and a trio of sauces are the basis of this fabulous dessert offered by the Southwestern-inspired eatery, Cheever’s Café in Oklahoma City, for a decade. A crunchy pecan crust smothered in dark chocolate and white chocolate sauces and cajeta give way to the creamy ice cream waiting inside. Henri Bailey, general manager of Cheever’s Café, says the ice cream ball was created to replicate a frequent customer’s favorite dessert experience.
“He described this creation to us, so we did our best to duplicate it without ever trying the original,” Bailey shares. “We did a pretty good job because that customer still orders it every time he comes in.”
The enormity of the ice cream ball may seem daunting, but Bailey stresses that the flavors are simple and traditional, which is why it’s such a hit with patrons.
Which Hollywood celeb would be most likely to eat your dessert? “(Actor and Oklahoma native) Rex Linn has eaten it many times.”
Cobbler is a staple of southern kitchens: a simple dessert of fruit in a thick, sweet sauce that is topped with delicate crust and most likely served with love. At Evelyn’s, the dive best known for making what is arguably the best fried chicken in Tulsa, Wanda Armstrong is also churning out the best peach cobbler, hands-down. Armstrong, who is 63 years old, has been making her peach cobbler for nearly half a century. The secret, she says, is in the crust.
“You have to have a good crust,” she says. “People like the plain, simple old-fashioned taste of peach cobbler, but the crust has to be good.”
Baked Chocolate Pudding
Dragonmoon Tea Company
It’s mind-boggling how the combination of five ingredients – five basic baking staples – can create something as velvety and rich as the baked chocolate pudding at Dragonmoon Tea Co., a teahouse in midtown Tulsa. Comprised simply of Belgian dark chocolate, cream, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla, this dessert is served chilled at the small Tulsa teahouse, and is best enjoyed with one of Dragonmoon’s signature teas.
“The Chocolate Mint tea brings a little lightness to the dessert, but our Florence, flavored with chocolate and hazelnut, is lovely as well,” says Susan Blair, co-owner of Dragonmoon. “For a purely decadent combination, I would serve our Scottish Carmel Pu-erh. This tea has the same rich, creamy finish as the pudding.”
Which Hollywood celeb would be most likely to eat your dessert? “Johnny Depp; who better, with his roles in Chocolat and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?”
Banana Crème Brulee
The inspiration for this whimsical signature dessert all began with a dish and a dream by the Tulsa restaurant’s owner, James Shrader.
“(I saw) a really cool ceramic boat while shopping with my wife,” he recalls. “When I saw it, I said to myself – and the boat – ‘I’m going to make you famous.’”
Fresh ingredients – including heavy cream, Lomah Dairy milk, Tahitian vanilla and fresh bananas – are a big draw for customers who order the dessert, typically prepared by pastry chef Jessica Burge, and, as Shrader says, “a lot of people are suckers for a good brulee in the first place.” The presentation of the dish, complete with that now-famous ceramic boat and pulled sugar sail, certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
If your dessert were a song, what would it be? “‘Come Sail Away,’ by Styx.”
Which Hollywood celeb would be most likely to eat your dessert? “None who are too skinny.”
Vanilla Bean Pot de Crème
The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro
A simple dessert with a lengthy history, the Pot de Crème traces its beginnings back to 17th-century France. So when LaVeryl Lower decided to open The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro 23 years ago in Oklahoma City, the dessert that first came to mind to include on the menu for her French-inspired restaurant was, of course, Pot de Crème.
“We felt like it was a perfect dessert for a bistro,” she says. “You can’t get Pot de Crème anywhere else in the city that I know of. It’s simple and creamy and almost like a comfort food dessert.”
The Pot de Crème at The Metro is served with fresh berries and three decadent sauces: chocolate, raspberry and caramel. And the best way to enjoy it is with a glass of champagne, says Lower.
If your dessert were a song, what would it be? “‘One Fine Day,’ by Norah Jones. Smooth and easy, just like Pot de Crème.”
Dark Chocolate Soufflé
Rococo Restaurant & Fine Wine
“Chocolate air” may seem an other-worldly or ethereal idea for dessert, but that’s exactly what Chef Don Duncan, managing partner at Oklahoma City’s Rococo, is aiming for with his dark chocolate soufflé. Only on the menu for a short time, the soufflé is quickly gaining in popularity.
“The chocolate we use is a higher-end dark chocolate, one of the finest you can get,” he says. “The soufflé is the champion of all desserts. To me, it’s the most refined way you can play with food textures.”
Duncan recommends pairing the soufflé with Grand Marnier, which he says complements the flavors.
If your dessert were a song, what would it be? “Something sexy, like ‘Let’s Get It On’ by Marvin Gaye.”
Which Hollywood celeb would be most likely to eat your dessert? “Brigitte Bardot.”
Ice Cream Beer Float
It’s a playful riff on the more traditional root beer float, but with a little kick. The Ice Cream Beer Float at RePUBlic Gastropub contains two ingredients: vanilla ice cream and Young’s Double Chocolate Stout beer. The combination of the two may seem a little off-putting, but don’t knock it until you try it. The beer quickly melts the ice cream, creating a soupy, sweet substance in the cup that packs a wollop.
The dessert has been on the menu since RePUBlic’s opening in April 2010 in Oklahoma City’s Classen Curve, and Chef Beth Ann McFarland says it’s most definitely the beer factor to this dessert that keeps people coming back for more.
Apple Tarte Tatin
The Apple Tarte Tatin made its debut in the Hotel Tatin in France more than a century ago, but it made its first appearance in Tulsa’s fine dining restaurant Tulsa’s posh Polo Grill just last fall. Though a relative newcomer to the menu, the dish has earned a healthy following.
“With colder months arriving, our thoughts in the kitchen turn to comforting baking spices,” says Polo Grill executive chef Michael Funk. “When Michelle Donaldson, our Sous Chef at the time, first came up with the dish, she was looking for a twist on a French tradition, and this has hit the mark.”
Funk says it’s the warmth of the baked apples and homemade butterscotch that makes it such a treat for customers, and suggests ordering Coteaux du Layon, a sweet white wine from the Loire Valley of France, to complement the dessert and fully experience the tart.
Which Hollywood celeb would be most likely to eat your dessert? “Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.”
Snickers Brownie Pie
The Snickers Brownie Pie may play second fiddle to the Coconut Cream Pie on the dessert menu at Michael V’s in Tulsa, but the rich, decadent flavors of the former are what land it on our list of great desserts.
Imagine a brownie-bottom pie that is layered with pieces of Snickers bar, cheesecake filling and chocolate ganache and topped with chopped, toasted peanuts. That’s exactly what Michael V’s chef and owner, Michael Minden, imagined in a dream, and he added the dreamy concoction, which is best paired with a rich red wine, to his menu in 2009.