Duff Goldman's Easy Method For Show-Stopping Dessert Decorations - Exclusive

Duff Goldman is well-known for his intricately decorated dessert creations. The masterpieces churned out by his team at Charm City Cakes would be difficult, if not impossible, for the average home baker to pull off on their own. However, that doesn't mean Goldman can't share some techniques that would be useful to amateur cooks. In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, the master pastry chef shared his favorite easy trick for adding visual flair to desserts.

To create wild-looking curly garnishes for your sweet treats, you'll need either chocolate or sugar, a large heat-proof bowl, and some ice. Fill the bowl with ice, melt your sugar or chocolate, and carefully drizzle the hot, sweet liquid into the bowl. Per Goldman, "It makes these crazy shapes. You pour the hot sugar into the ice and it drips down and it does this whole thing." 

The ice sets the sugar and hardens it, making it hold whatever random shape it formed while it was melted. Once cool, these garnishes can add an artistic element to any dessert. Just be cautious when you're pouring, especially if you're using sugar instead of chocolate — the melting point of sugar is a scalding 367 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to simplify your pastry-making

Of course, the decorations are just the finishing touch — they're not worth much unless they're on top of a delicious dessert. The good news is that Duff Goldman told us some of his tips for stress-free baking, as well. This might surprise you, but it turns out that professional pastry chefs sometimes buy pre-made ingredients to use in their dessert recipes just like amateur cooks. Two of Goldman's favorite dessert components to buy instead of make are puff pastry and phyllo dough.

Goldman made sure we knew that he could make excellent puff pastry. However, the stuff he can find at his local Persian market is so good that it's not worth it for him to do it himself. "All I have to do is make a delicious chocolate mousse or a delicious pumpkin apple compote thing, and then I can make a vol-au-vent with my store-bought beautiful puff pastry, and people are going to be like, 'Oh my God, I love getting a dessert from TV's Duff Goldman.'"

Ultimately, Goldman emphasized that there's no shame in taking a few easy shortcuts when you're making showstopping decorated desserts. After all, it's a special occasion — you're probably already cooking food for a crowd, so there's no point in giving yourself unnecessary stress.

Keep up with the latest from Duff Goldman on his website and Instagram.