On a recent visit to India, I took some cooking classes. One of the classes was held in a small bakery in Mumbai. While we were learning about spices, I could not help but be distracted by the smells coming from the freshly baking desserts in the bakery. When the class ended, I ran into the main bakery and asked what they were making. Spiced Macaroons! Oh, my! And not just any spices – they had green chili, Indian chai (tea) and my most favorite flavor – paan (paan is a mouth freshener prepared with betel leaves. The leaves are stuffed with areca nuts, rose petal paste and other ingredients. The baker had found a way to replicate the amazing taste in her dessert. I am hooked on her desserts and sad because I cannot get these flavors in the US.
But, I do really want to tell you about her and her bakery…try her desserts once and you will be where I am: hopelessly addicted and what a great state to be in!
And if you want real food porn – click on the links below.
Le15, is a patisserie, located in Mumbai. Baker Pooja Dhignra who studied pastry in Paris runs the bakery. She has studied in Switzerland’s prestigious hospitality management school, César Ritz and she acquired a diploma in patisserie at the highly-regarded culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, in France. She has worked with renowned French chocolatier Jean Charles Rochoux. While macarons are her signature pastry, she creates innovative cakes, cupcakes, éclairs, tarts and truffles using only select quality ingredients.
Paan Macarons: (photo courtesy Pooja)
Green Chili Macarons: (Photo courtesy Pooja)
Tell me about your lovely macarons which I just loved! What are the special flavors you create and sell? I loved your Indian collection.
Macarons are what inspired my little patisserie. The first one I ever had was a passion fruit one from Pierre Herme in Paris and it was love at first bite. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do. When I started I made very simple and classic flavours. But as time went by and they grew popular in Mumbai, I started experimenting with the flavours. What you tried was part of the Indian collection. Paan, Green Chilly, Masala Chai, Malai Kulfi and Kacchi Keri were the chosen 5.** The Paan and Green Chilly were the most popular. For Diwali, I am working on a Spice based theme! Macaroon flavours will include Milk chocolate and Cardamom, Star anise and orange, Cinnamon and white chocolate, dark chocolate and fleur de sel and Clove and coffee.
** Malai Kulfi is an ice-cream prepared with cream and Kacchi Keri is a small raw, green mango.
Where can my readers find them?
They cost Rs 50 per macaron and are available at any Le15 outlet.