Cakes and Desserts
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Man
Mango Cheese Cake
Best Dessert Awarded by Time Out NY in 2007

Mango Cheese Cake

Made with three different mango treatments. The cheesecake itself is made with Alfonso Mango Puree. Alfonso, called Hafus in Hindi, is considered the best and most expensive mango sold in India. It is rightly called the “King of all fruits” and it is the national fruit of India.

I have used Alfonso Mango puree to make a classic cheesecake, but in a traditional Indian style. The cheesecake is airy and fluffy, somewhat like a Mango Fool, a popular Indian dessert. The thin crust of the cheesecake is made using a shortbread cookie crust. I add rose water, a traditional Indian floral agent into the crust, clarified butter (Ghee) and almonds.

The burst of flavor that comes with each bite when tasting this cheesecake can transport an Indian back into memory lane and those that are non-Indian will immediately wonder why they have never tasted a better mango flavor. The signature slightly bitter, but boldly mango flavor and pleasant sweetness of the Alfonso come true. The mango pate de fuis literally meaning pie of fruit, is the closest I could come to “aam papad” a mango puree reduced into soft candy. It adds that extra oomph into the mango compilation and textural contrast on the palate.

The sauce is a passion fruit-mango combination and it has the brilliant tartness that only passion fruit can impart with the sweetness of the Alfonso. I use my Indian sensibility of pairing flavors with a keen respect for balance.

Picture Courtesy of Almanda Francisco
Tasting of Cream
Tasting of Cream
Finalist at the French Culinary Institute for Best Dessert of the year, 2006

Tasting of Cream

This "cream" tasting is a trio of variations on a theme – Banana Flan, Shrikhand (yogurt) and Chai Panna Cotta. Each version delivers subtle differences in texture, but distinctive flavor and eye appeal differences. I recommend tasting the Shrikhand first because it is the most delicate flavor of the three, then progressing to the Chai Panna Cotta and lastly tasting the Banana Flan.

Picture Courtesy of Alan Battman
Kulfi
Kulfi (Indian Ice Cream)

Kulfi (Indian Ice Cream)

Kulfi is the Indian version of frozen reduced milk. If any dessert could be considered a favorite with kids, this is the one. Kulfi in India is traditionally served in Kulhars, unbaked terracotta. And on the street where vendors are selling these to kids, they are served as popsicles. A Kulfi vendor is the Indian counterpart of Mr. Softee. Some vendors, especially when selling them as popsicles will dip the frozen kulfi into flavored milk as well.

I serve my Kulfi inspired by co-executive chef of Devi, Suvir Saran’s style of serving Kulfi alongside a bitter-citrus soup. In this rendering I have taken the classic milk reduction and frozen it as traditional in India, but instead of serving with the traditional Indian noodles (Falooda) I serve it with a semi-frozen slush made with citrus juice. This gives a perfect counter to the richness of the reduced dairy and also a great textural contrast to the smoothness of the kulfi. The kulfi gets a crunch from crushed pistachio brittle and is garnished with gold leaf.

Picture Courtesy of Almanda Francisco
Trio of Pineapple
Trio of Pineapple

Trio of Pineapple

Indians love their Pineapple cake. Sold in almost every bakery it is an airy layered cake that every kid in India has grown up with. The pineapple used in my version has black peppercorn grilled fresh pineapple, mascarpone, pineapple gelee and wine cooked pineapples. Indians also love their fruit sprinkled with salt, fruit chaat being an essential part of our salad as well as in some cases dessert. Hence I am always looking for savory elements to be a part of my fruit creations. The textural and savory contrast is brought into this dessert by the addition of pineapple-cilantro granite, cilantro sauce and a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

Picture Courtesy of Alan Battman