Home Chennai Indian desserts get a western twist

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    Mustard seeds in chocolate and Chettinad ice cream, anyone? Traditional Indian flavours find their way into western classics across the city

    As the ‘east meets west’ trend picks up pace in music and fashion, the culinary world is all set to take this phenomenon to new heights. While chefs from across the country ponder new pairings, the city’s gourmands have got the ball rolling with jamun and masala chai in cakes! A winning combination? Let us know on indulge.newindianexpress.com.

    Southern-Spice-[Chocolate-PChocolate Pooranam Mousse, Southern Spice
    It was divine intervention for Alok Anand, executive chef at Taj Coromandel, who received Palani’s famed panjamiruthum prasadham at the time when the Southern Spice’s menu was being reworked in 2012. He thought of pairing it with chocolate, and thus was born their best-selling dessert on the menu, Chocolate Pooranam Mousse. Made with bitter Valrhona chocolate, the mousse is filled with liquid pooranam made of jaggery, dates, thick coconut milk and more. “The mix of bitter and sweet flavours and contrast in textures has invited a lot of positive feedback and is also appreciated for its balance of taste,” shares chef Anand. Equally interesting is the hotel’s banquet menu dessert of Basundi Panacotta with reduced milk, cardamom and saffron. Priced at Rs. 400. Details: 66002827

    pic2Masala Chai Cupcakes, Lavanya Ravindran
    Home baker Lavanya Ravindran’s venture, Cupcake House, is known for its cakes and brownies, but it’s her unusually flavoured cupcakes that garner maximum attention. “Being an ardent tea lover, I came up with the idea of experimenting with masala tea blends from Ooty,” she shares. The cupcake batter made with a chai concoction, along with a dash of powdered spices and ginger, lends its flavour to create this refreshing all-day treat. Topped with a butter cream frosting flavoured with more tea, a hint of cinnamon, and a light sprinkle of brown sugar, it is hard to stop at one. Also try Ravindran’s Gajar Ka Halwa Cupcakes with a tangy orange butter cream frosting, perfect to get your kids to enjoy their daily dose of carrots. Priced at Rs. 420 for a box of six. Details: 9789857063

    Hyatt3Baked Yoghurt with Gulab Jamun @ Hyatt Regency
    With the increasing demand of eggless sweets during Diwali, Hyatt Regency’s chef Anand planned a wonderful fusion dessert that was a hit—Baked Yoghurt with an Indian twist. Sweet and juicy gulab jamuns line the base and complement the sour and tangy yoghurt. The rich yoghurt is made with condensed milk, curd and cream, baked in a double boiler. The dessert is extremely popular and a part of the hotel’s lunch buffet almost every day. Buffet is priced at Rs. 1,450. Details: 61001234

    Mustard Chocolates, The Leela Palace
    Executive pastry head at The Leela Palace, chef Bhaskar, stumbled upon the interesting use of olive oil in chocolates found in Europe. Inspired to add an Indian touch, he experimented with mustard oil, only to find the taste overpowering and pungent. “Next I tried roasted, powdered yellow mustard seeds infused in a white chocolate ganache, with a hint of lemon and this cream piped into dark chocolate shells. It turned out to be a winning combination with its subtle aftertaste of mustard and smooth creamy blends of chocolate,” shares the chef. “Guests are pleasantly surprised as mustard isn’t something anyone would associate with dessert and one has to taste it to believe it,” he smiles. At Rs. 160 for a box of four. Details: 33661234

    Leela8Nolen Gur Cupcakes by Deepasri Kar
    Home baker Deepasri Kar, a passionate Bengali who loves her nolen gur, stumbled upon the idea of using this native product in her cupcakes when she ran out of sugar once. “And what a wonderful substitute that turned out to be, as the cupcakes were an instant hit at home, which led to a flourish of orders from friends as well,” she beams. With its distinct taste, the cupcake is a celebration of Bengal’s famous date palm jaggery as no other flavouring is added—not even vanilla essence. The main ingredient also keeps the cupcakes moist and is simply addictive with Kar’s topping of whipped cream, fresh coconut and grated nolen gur. For Rs. 50 each, with a minimum order of 12. Details: 9884868162

    DESSERTS3Carrot Halwa Cheesecake, Meera Mathew
    If you fancy cheesecake with a biscuit base, you haven’t tried home baker Meera Mathew’s desi version. Rich carrot halwa flavoured with a good dose of cardamom is cooked dry, used as a base and baked to set right. Over this comes a luscious pour of lemony cheesecake ingredients of hung curd, eggs and more. This is then baked and presented with a radiant topping of more carrot halwa and a sprinkle of nuts. “The sweet base of the classic Indian dessert paired with the creamy custard, is hard to resist, not only by my clients but my family too,” Mathew shares. At Rs. 300 for a set of six. Details: 9840122995

    Gulab Jamun Pound Cake, Ayeesha Riaz
    With her love for the traditional gulab jamun and a well made pound cake, it was only a matter of time before home baker Ayeesha Riaz combined both. “After a few trial runs, I decided to use cream cheese in the pound cake as it helps in creating a moist cake and its flavour combines very well with a gulab jamun,” she says. The cake is made with a layer of gulab jamuns sandwiched between two layers of the cake batter and baked, finished off with a frosting of airy whipped cream and more gulab jamun. Entrepreneur Shahina Mohideen, a fan of the cake, adds, “I’m waiting for a special occasion to place another order. It  not only looks appealing, but tastes divine.” For Rs. 750 per kilo. Details: 9789803438

    HILTON5Chettinad Chocolates, Hilton
    Wanting to create a unique dessert with flavours that people from India could identify and love, chef Yogender Pal at Hilton knew his signature stroke had to be in using true Chettinad flavours. “Picking the versatile chocolate, we then played around with different spices. Now the chocolate is our hotel’s pride with a blend of 23 different spices, including whole coriander seeds, black pepper, kal pasi, Marathi muku, fennel and lots more infused into tempered dark Belgian chocolate,” he says. While there, also try their Chettinad ice cream, an all-season treat. Priced at Rs. 35 each. Details: 22255555
    -Preeti GT; Photographs: Albin Mathew, Martin Louis, P Ravikumar

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