Jamun tarts and curry leaf truffles? Ten Diwali fusion desserts in Chennai to try right now
Our curated guide for the ultimate sweet box for the season
Curry leaves in truffles, soan papdi on doughnuts, saffron in fudge. Bakers and chocolate makers in the city are finding inspiration in all things desi for the festive season. And quite literally, crafting fireworks on your palate by the looks of these flavour pairings. Motichoor seems to be a running favourite this year — making its way into everything from cheesecake to custard to brownies and ice cream. While jamun experiments sandwiched in cookies and placed almost jewel-like crowning French-style frangipane tarts aren’t too far behind.
Apart from our curated list, some of our honorable mentions include Lychee rabdi jars (Bakeman Begins), Gulkhand bonbons (Zitter chocolates) and flower pots with vibrant pops of colour on cookies (Batter Stories).
Opt for fireworks made of chocolate to do your bit to prevent noise pollution this year. Pastry chef Gayathri Sivasankaran of Goya Patissiere who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in London, is rolling out sparklers made of coconut and cardamom ganache and diyas made of dark chocolate cups with a flame made of white chocolate enrobed in saffron fudge. Box of chocolates at INR 700 upwards.
If you can’t get enough of motichoor through the year — this is for you. Nivethitha Venkatesh (26) of Kookiefu Panda is offering a Motichoor cheesecake jar with alternating layers of motichoor and cream cheese as well as a brownie topped with a pressed layer of motichoor crumble. Also, look out for her Rosemilk cake and Gulab Jamun truffles. Hampers at INR 500 and INR 750. Dessert jars at INR 225.
Masala chai mousse
Beverages infused in desserts is another reason to get excited this Diwali. Imagine Coffee gulab jamun cheesecake and Masala chai with white chocolate mousse! B Dhanasri (24) of The Twisted Flavour also recommends you try her masala chai rendition in a cake jar, where the chai is infused in both the cream as well as the layers of sponge for deep, soulful flavour notes. Priced at INR 150 upwards.
Curry leaf truffle
Curry leaves paired with chocolate pique our curiosity right away. And Sarmistha Baliga of Baked by Sarmi is incorporating this humble South Indian staple in two of her Diwali desserts. Opt for her decadent curry truffles prepared with dehydrated curry leaves rolled into 58 per cent Belgian Callebaut or her savoury Coriander and curry leaf cookies with a hint of chilli for a spicy kick. The 26-year-old who studied pastry-making at the academy of Kirsten Tibballs, who has a made guest appearances on MasterChef Australia, tells us her festive menu also includes loaves, jar desserts, brownies and profiteroles. Hampers are customisable. Box of six INR 250 to INR 420.
Jamun cookie tart
Sample this Dulche de leche Jamun Cookie tart which yells decadence from the first bite. Sisters Reshma and Reema Ravichander of the Oishii Cookie House have designed a base layer of creamy dulce de leche with a moist half jamun on top, enveloped in cookie dough. Also, look out for their Kedar badam milk fudge cookie and Chilli chocolate ghee ladoo cookie tart. Hampers at INR 600 and INR 1,295.
Soan papdi doughnut
Soan papdi on a doughnut, anyone? You got to love the innovation with flavours, come Diwali. Mad Over Donuts has curated a limited edition range of three festive treats this November. And the one we are most excited to try, as you can tell, is the Soan papdi Pataka which comprises a doughnut filled with soan papdi chocolate ganache, topped with soan papdi and pistachio flakes. There are also fillings like kaju katli-meets-chocolate ganache and a motichoor custard. A signature box of 18 doughnuts is priced at INR 525.
Shalini Padmanabhan (50) of The Veganator is known for her gluten-free pizza bases and vegan cheese. And she’s extended the same healthy-but -delicious sentiment to her festive menu. We have our eye on the Chocolate peda which she tells us is a modified brownie made with bananas, zucchini, peanut butter, plant-based protein powder and palm jaggery for sweetness. There is also a carrot seed ball packed with the goodness of almonds, sunflower, pumpkin and flaxseeds and a high protein Thattai (made with almond, coconut and chickpea flours). Diwali hampers at INR 600.
For some fruity goodness, ITC Grand Chola has a special range of desserts available this year, like the Maanika Amrud Halwa which combines guava and raspberry in ruby hues and the Apricot and Cashew milk cake, coated with white chocolate for some extra indulgence. Corporate chef Manisha Bhasin tells us that there are also made-to-order options for patrons who are glucose and lactose intolerant like the Jowar and Chocolate laddu, Chia Seed barfi and Tulsi seed halwa. If you are trying to cut back on your sugar intake or are diabetic, she adds, “We have the option of low-sugar based hampers or even sugar-less desserts on request.” Hampers from INR 2,200 onwards.
Paan & Rose trifle
Catering outfit Plated Stories puts a traditional twist on the classic European trifle with a layer of paan-infused whipped cream and a swirl of Roohafza cream alternating between layers of vanilla sponge. Don’t miss the pebble base of colorful mukhwas (sugar-coated fennel)for crunch! Aditi Suresh, who runs the brand with partner Pooja Reddy, also suggests their Rose and Cardamom Nankhatai. Diwali hamper at INR1,750 and can be customised.
Date & Tamarind caramel ice cream
We are mighty curious about this Medjool date-infused ice cream layered with swirls of tamarind caramel. Partners Snehithi Jambulingam (27) and Suganya Gopu (30), who co-run Strictly Desserts, tells us this scoop is rich, synonymous with the mood of the season, and a blend of sweet from the dates and tart from the tamarind. The other flavours in their Aadhirai Diwali ice cream line include Carrot Halwa and Sakkara Pongal. We also have our eye on the Gulab Jamun Frangipane Tart. Diwali hampers at INR 750 upwards.