Austin's Barley Swine is known for serving hyper-local fare using the freshest ingredients from the community, and the dessert section of the menu is no exception. Pastry chef Kyle McKinney utilizes the bountiful variety that the Austin area has to offer, pushing the boundary of what qualifies as "dessert."
On a recent visit to the restaurant, the dessert menu included such ingredients as beets, olives, and barley—things we usually expect to eat at the beginning of a meal, not the end. McKinney's nontraditional approach to pastry is also seen in the items he chooses to pair together on one plate. It's not uncommon for a single dessert at Barley Swine to include over five different components, with each being essential to the dish. Foods that you would never have thought would go together somehow do, in an explosion of flavors and textures. "I let the ingredient speak to me and let it inspire me," says McKinney.
We tried all three items currently on Barley Swine's dessert menu: the Beet Panna Cotta, Lemon Tart, and Chocolate Soup. Click through the slideshow to see them all.