THERE'S MORE SWEETNESS than most people realize in many vegetables? So, ......

Struggling to cut down on added sugar and get more vegetables into your diet? Take a lesson from some of the best chefs in the world and try eating vegetable for dessert.

Chefs are pushing the culinary boundaries of traditional desserts, reducing added sugars and experimenting with the natural sweetness of corn, carrot, squash, sweet potatoes and other vegetables.

At the restaurant in Gwen in Los Angeles, a deliciously sweet roasted artichoke, celery sorbet and green olives with creme fratche cheesecake have appeared on the desert menu.

At Blue Hill in New York City last autumn, diner's delighted in the natural sweetness of a honeynut squash with ice cream parsnip cake and naturally sweet carrot sorbet.

''We're shooting for a pastry kitchen that doesn't gratuitously use any sugar because there is so much natural sweetness in the fruits and vegetables we use,'' said Dan Barber, the Blue Hill chef and co-owner who works with the pastry chef Joel De La Cruz to create veggie-focused desserts.

''We like looking at vegetables in new way,''

At Gramercy Tavern in New York, pecan pear cake is served with arugula and blue cheese mousse. A grapefruit panna cotta includes cilantro, lemongrass and other traditional Thai ingredients.

''We always want to use something that makes sense and adds a little different note to a dessert,'' said Miro Uskokovic, the pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern.

''And many vegetables - carrots, celery, beets, sunchoke - have so much sugar. You can manipulate them in such a way that it eats like a dessert.''

While it may sound far-fetched to serve vegetables for a dessert at the family table, chefs say the lesson for home cooks is to recognize the high sugar content in many way that enhances the food's natural sweetness.

Too often, home cooks take a puritanical approach in vegetables in a quest to make them more healthful, serving them without butter or sauce and cooking them only briefly.

''It's as simple as cook the heck out off root vegetables,'' Mr. Barber said. ''I like the idea of root vegetables - simply roasted for a long time. You're getting out all the water you can and caramelizing all the sugars. And a scoop of ice cream and it's a great experience.

For Blue Hill's squash dessert, the honeynut squash - a smaller, sweeter relative of butternut squash   -was roasted for several hours, scooped out and dried further on the stove top. ''Every bite you are taking is squash times 800 percent,'' Mr. Barber said.

''If it was picked at the right moment, it bombs with sweetness. That true of parsnips, celery roots and beets as well.''

!WOW! thanks author and researcher  Tara Parker-Pope.


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