Chow Bella

From Pickled Pork Cheeks to PB&J Foie Gras, Phoenix Chefs Are Serving It Up In a Jar

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Potted meats, pickled eggs (really, pickled anything) and puddings -- dusted off and sexied up -- are back in a big way, and they're showing up in jars all over town.

Why jars? The better question is "Why not jars?" They're sturdy, inexpensive and easily replaced if broken. And from the customer's point of view, they offer a homey, approachable presentation that's just different enough to be fun.

Independent dessert maker and our very first Tastemaker Tracy Dempsey, of Tracy Dempsey Originals, probably was the first in town to get the Ball jar trend rolling. Although she says she's "always had a soft spot for funky little food containers," (a predilection she suspects she inherited from her Depression-era, jar-saving grandmother), she had an Aha! Moment when she saw appetizers in canning jars in a French magazine a few years ago.

Hooked from that moment on, she started collecting interesting jars and putting anything and everything in them. She's become famous for her jarred desserts.

For chef-owner Cullen Campbell at Crudo, she makes tiramisu (sometimes the old fashioned way, sometimes with chocolate), a layered dessert that looks especially pretty in a clear jar.

For Citizen Public House, Dempsey makes Black and Tan, a layer of dark chocolate pot de crème, caramel pudding, whipped cream, pretzel brittle and brown sugar shortbreads ($10).

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Nikki Buchanan