'I love the world of ice cream'

Dessert king

'I love the world of ice cream'

International pastry artist Andres Lara has a special talent in spinning magic with desserts. He uses his techniques to not just make divine sweet somethings but also to create different versions of breakfast items from around the world.

He recently conducted a three-day masterclass at Lavonne Academy of Baking Science & Pastry Arts, where he spoke to Anila Kurian about the concept of modern desserts and more.

Is this your first visit to India?

Yes, my very first one. I didn’t have much expectation but I was definitely looking forward to the food. I love the ‘appam’ and ‘idiyappam’ that I tried. I think Kerala cuisine goes well with me as my threshold for spices is not good.

Tell us about your masterclass...

We have focussed on modern desserts, things that you would like to have in a cafe these days. The 13 desserts included entremets, petit gateaux, travel cakes, frozen desserts and baked delicacies.

You work with a lot of chocolate. Is that your favourite ingredient?

Funnily enough, it is not my favourite. But I am a Columbian and chocolate is a staple in my country. As a kid, my mother would make hot chocolate from scratch and that is very nostalgic to me. Thanks to my travels in Asia for the last couple of years, I have worked intensely with chocolate. I can eat a piece of chocolate a day but nothing more than that.

So what other ingredients do you like to work with?

I love the world of ice cream and making simple cafe type food.

Top three desserts that you are proud of creating...

My favourite is my version of ‘carrot cake’ which is inspired from a breakfast dish.
Secondly, I love creating ‘The snowball’ which is a coconut cake stuffed inside a lime marshmallow and rolled in coconut again. I also love the ‘Kuglof’, a breakfast item, which is like a mix between a bread and a cake.

Your thoughts while creating something...

From a flavour point of view, it has to be interesting and simple. It is important that not more than three flavours are fused in one dish or it will confuse the palate. I want at least four textures in any of my dishes. A mix of crunchy, creamy, chewy and nutritional is a winner. When I’m making desserts, I prefer it to be not too sweet.

    Having worked in Asia, I’ve become accustomed to having desserts that are not too sweet.

What are some of the things chefs ignore easily?

For pastry chefs, it is all about scaling and measuring a recipe. While I agree that it is a good method, they rely too much on the recipe and they don’t think beyond that. They are not critical enough. Unless they get out of that box, they cannot improve themselves.

When you hear the word ‘foodie’...

It is overly used but who am I to say what a person should do and not do. I try not to pay too much attention to it. But I believe that your work will speak for itself and you don’t really need a tagline to define that.

If it’s your last day on earth, what would you like to eat?

There’s a Columbian street food dish called ‘Arepas’. The dough for the dish is flattened and cooked in oil or butter and served with cheese. You can either eat it like that or prefer to have toppings like chicken or pork on it. It’s absolutely delicious.

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