Shirani Mehta’s desserts are unapologetically rich. There’s curvy cupcakes, well-rounded roulade and intensely creamy ganache. “Where’s the fun in low-fat desserts?” she asks. “Eat one if you must, but eat it right”. The true value of pie?
Birds and London Calling
Shirani started baking when she moved to London twelve years ago, where she first discovered she was a wall flour. A Hummingbird dessert outlet right in her backyard, and her favourite patisserie Valerie served as inspiration. While Shirani did a professional icing course from Wilton, she considers all those years of sampling food at Michelin starred restaurants and home-style bakeries part of her training.
When Shirani moved back to Delhi two years ago, she was saddened by the city’s inability to pronounce ‘crème brulee’, not to mention the slim choice of patisseries. And so was born Maison Des Desserts, a home bakery in Gurgaon with a patisserie-porn Facebook page.
On offer are different types of cakes, gourmet desserts and tea-time petit fours. Try the pavlova (Rs 1,800), her bestseller or the meringues and macaroons (Rs 1,300 for 12). Shirani doesn’t price her menu according to weight; you can either get them in one substantial dish or in glasses of individual servings. She’ll be quick to warn you that her sweets don’t come cheap, but promises that they contain high-quality ingredients imported from London. At Rs 2,000 for a dish of tiramisu, we’re hoping for a memory-impairing quantity of liquer. Also inconvenient is the absence of free home delivery.
And if all goes according to plan, Shirani will soon move Maison des Dessert out of the house and into a patisserie outlet. See you swoon!
We got Shirani to share a D-I-Y meringue with strawberries and clotted cream recipe. This is our new jam.
6 large egg whites
375 gms castor sugar
1 scant tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp corn flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup of whipped cream
1 cup of strawberries (sliced)
Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Whisk the egg whites with salt until it’s holding soft peaks. Gently add in the sugar, a spoonful at a time. Keep beating it until it all comes together. To this add vanilla and sprinkle in the corn flour. Mix well.
Draw 6 circles of approximately 8 cms each on parchment paper. Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread it evenly within the circles. Put it in the oven, turn down the temperature to 150 C and bake for 25 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it cool. In the meantime, whip some cream until stiff and put a dollop on each meringue. Place the strawberries and garnish with shavings of chocolate.