The best looking desserts
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Who wants the brownie ice cream or hazelnut mousse regulars when you can taste drama and illusion on a platter? Combining complex techniques and theatrical plating, pastry chefs in India are turning their patisseries into innovation labs which would put Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory to shame. Picture this: a dessert shaped like an egg, but one which tastes nothing like it. Instead, it conjures up creamy panna cotta and passion fruit on your palate, with the filo pastry nest adding a nice crunch. Or a kulfi which is a delicate ashen grey. Dessert menus have turned into blank canvases for chefs who are creating beautiful landscapes, abstract art and sculptural masterpieces on them.
Sunday Movie Night
Nothing spells movie night better than candyfloss and popcorn. Created with milk chocolate parfait, popcorn caramel sauce, Melody fudge, Snickers foam and candyfloss, with a movie reel looped around the plate, this delicate dessert is the very picture of perfection. And there is a sweet story behind it. “I used to study in a boarding school. And my father would take me bowling or to the movies over the weekend. This dessert is an ode to the father-daughter bond,” says Sanjana Patel, executive pastry chef, La Folie Patisserie.
La Folie, Mumbai
The chefs at Taj Falaknuma Palace have translated the opulence of the royal kitchens of the nizams on to the dessert platter with the Zauq-e-Shahi. Featuring the traditional desserts of sheer khorma, khubani ka meetha and double ka meetha with novel combinations such as beetroot and jauzi halva, this dish is served as part of the chef’s tasting menu and presents a snapshot of Hyderabad’s rich culinary past.
Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Price: Rs650, plus taxes
The first thing that catches your eye about this dessert is the pale grey colour, which it gets from banana ash. Defying conventional notions of a kulfi, this sweet delight comes in a dome-like structure with trails of ash. To add texture to the dish, candied nuts tossed with charcoal powder and powdered sesame seeds are sprinkled on the side.
Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, New Delhi and Mumbai
Price: Rs495, plus taxes
Chef Kalyan, pastry chef, at The Fatty Bao has brought the forest, lush with foliage and flowers in springtime, alive with typically Asian elements such as yuzu parfait, green tea moss, black sesame sponge rocks, beetroot and black pepper sorbet and sesame nougatine. Chocolate twigs, made with 70% Valrhona, add a decadent touch to the dessert, which is then garnished with microgreens. The forest floor, complete with logs, green foliage, soil and hints of pink, is easy on the eye. The dish presents a balance between bitter and sweet flavours, and soft and crunchy textures.
The Fatty Bao, Mumbai and New Delhi
Price: Rs275, plus taxes
This dessert, with delicate swirls of pink, has been inspired by the rose, which is considered the symbol of perfect balance. Ideal for a romantic rendezvous, this dish is made with raspberry majari chocolate mousse and a lychee panna cotta centre. The smooth textures of the mousse are complemented by the rippled effect of the raspberry and lychee ice cream.
Yauatcha: Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata
Price: Varies owing to location