Bravo’s “Top Chef: Just Desserts” embraces the mantra that the best is often saved for last. In its seventh season, the hit show has whipped up a little something special for late-night cravings. “Desserts,” a spin-off of the “Top Chef” phenomenon, serves decadent deliciousness with personalities to match.

“Top Chef: Just Desserts”

Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
Bravo

Hosted by food critic Gail Simmons, “Desserts” follows (maybe a little predictably) in the flour-marked footsteps of its predecessors. Like a fraternal twin, “Desserts” almost exactly mirrors the organized chaos and entertainment from past seasons, but distinguishes itself by replacing the food pyramid with a heaping mound of pure sugar. The first episode dives straight into the fillings of sweet tooths, but the chef’s mouths aren’t watering over the sickly sweet aroma of the workroom. They’re focused on the immunity. Obtained through a series of Quick-Fire Challenges, the pastry chefs stir, whip and bake their signature desserts into the form of a cupcake.

But there’s a reason past chefs avoided desserts — the required memory involved in preparation is a challenge in itself. Precise measurements and strict techniques prove to be the real competition this season. But the contestants flaunt their talent in the elimination challenge: a dare to create the “most luxurious chocolate dessert imaginable.” Master pastry chef Jacques “Mr. Chocolate” Torres, editor of New York-based e-mail newsletter DailyCandy Danielle Kyrillos and head judge Johnny Iuzzini dissect each bite as the chefs quake in their batter-soaked boots. After 53 minutes of tongues fused to the television screen, the verdict is announced and contestant Tania Peterson’s “hummus-like” chocolate mousse is tossed into the trash.

But who would let any of these treats — hummus or otherwise — go to waste? With everything from génoise and ganache to whoopie pie and edible “disco dust,” “Desserts” serves to be the closest thing to scrumptious luxury one can afford in a dorm room. A pinch of sugar and a dose of true artistry, the sweet treats concocted are a visual pleasure in their own right. Drizzled in chocolate and fluffed with frosting, the plated beauties fulfill any desire for eye candy in the hour-long show.

While the desserts are exquisite, the chefs’ charm is the real treat. As usual, Bravo’s stock of varied personalities does not disappoint. The contestants themselves are guaranteed entertainment, a far cry from the assembled bores on the Cooking Channel. The contenders are as colorful as the cupcakes they create, from Seth, the slightly arrogant and self-proclaimed genetic spawn of Marky Mark (Wahlberg) and Dexter (Michael C. Hall), to the playfully flamboyant and competitive Zac, who proclaims, “I will cut you — with my flavor!”

But as Zac says, “being a pastry chef is not all fine, dine and frosting.” As homegrown bakers compete with classically trained pastry chefs, the drama turns from sweet to sour and will only mount as the season progresses.

The age-old rule is to abandon the fridge (and that stock of cookies hidden beneath the bed) once the clock strikes seven. But “Top Chef: Just Desserts” proves that some rules are meant to be broken. “Desserts” inspires a gnawing hunger, but still leaves viewers feeling completely satisfied.

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