National Dessert Day was October 14. In honor of the holiday, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was able to talk to Chef Jasmine Weiser, executive chef, Edwards Dessert Kitchen, owned and operated by Schwan's Company, to inquire about some upcoming bakery trends.

Liz Parker: What are some flavors that are trending this fall?

Jasmine Weiser: Since the start of the pandemic, people have been itching to travel, and we’ve seen an increased appetite for international flavors like yuzu and matcha continuing into the fall. For autumn in particular, you see the yearly trend of cozy, nostalgic flavors like pumpkin and spices. At Edwards Dessert Kitchen (EDK), we put our own spin on these flavor mainstays like with our Pumpkin Cheesecake, which incorporates sage and carraway to create a really layered, autumn-inspired dish that’s a little different from your everyday pumpkin dessert.

LP: What about for the upcoming holiday season?

JW: Here at EDK, we’re known for our shareable small plates, but for the holidays we’re introducing more larger-format desserts that can be purchased for parties and get-togethers. In terms of holiday flavors, we like to be playful with our dishes: one thing, in particular, that people might not associate with winter is citrus. Citrus is in season in the winter, so dishes using fruits like blood orange and bergamot are on the roster. Plus, other cozy flavors, like coffee and cream, will be making an appearance on our holiday menu.

LP: How do Schwan’s Co. and EDK develop flavor innovations?

JW: I work hand in hand with the R&D team at Schwan’s Company, where I am really involved in experimenting with flavors, formats, and textures for our desserts. Most recently, we created our Edwards Lemon Crème Pie. At EDK, I get to do the same thing, but more conceptually. We experiment with flavors and formats that we think consumers might enjoy and get to try them out on our customers to determine their popularity. That’s why we say EDK is really an incubator for our Edwards® desserts brand. By testing out different kinds of desserts and flavors, we can bring our findings back to the Edwards desserts brand team to draw inspiration for new products. Our goal is for the Edwards brand to become synonymous with all desserts, not just our delicious pies!

LP: How have this year’s trending flavors changed from last year’s or previous seasons?

JW: One trend I’ve seen fading in the last year has been the use of gimmicky flavors, like Cheetos, in foods and desserts. I love experimenting with flavors and textures, and I think for a while the industry was really leaning toward these obscure pairings just to add some excitement to consumers’ plates. But now, while we’re still trying to keep things fresh and fun, consumers are less interested in those more unexpected desserts and are instead looking for distinct flavor pairings and unique plating. Another trend I’ve seen has been the rise of French style patisseries in the United States. When I was living in England, I noticed how much more Europeans sit down to really enjoy dessert versus Americans. Now, with dessert-focused restaurants like EDK, we’re seeing that sit-down dessert cafes can be a delicious, indulgent part of American lives, as well.