Vegan pastries, anyone?

Some tips from chef Toni Rodriguez about all-vegan baking

Toni Rodriguez

Hailing from Barcelona, Spain, Toni Rodriguez is a vegan and pastry chef who’s famous all over the world for his delicious and vegetarian patisserie. Chef Toni’s tryst with veganism began when he became an animal rights activist. He fell in love with the affair of cooking and decided to marry his two interests and became a vegan pastry chef. “It was quite a challenge for me as there were very few cookbooks on vegan food, and all the recipes don’t work well,” Chef Toni explains.

In his famous pastry shop in Barcelona, ‘Lujuria Vegana’, Chef Toni delights people with his delectable pastries and confectioneries that are completely vegan.

He was recently in India for a hands-on training session on ‘eggless vegan’ baking at the Academy of Pastry Arts, India. In an exclusive interaction with Deccan Herald, he spoke about all things sweet and vegan:

What’s vegan baking?

Veganism means not using any animal products or those that involve no animal suffering. So, that means you cannot use honey, eggs, gelatine, lard, or any dairy
product.

Tell us about your pastry shop, ‘Lujuria Vegana’. What are the most popular desserts there?

Lujuria Vegana is a bakery where we produce pastries and other confectioneries and sell them across Europe. Our famous cakes are carrot cake, chocolate and hazelnut cake. Macarons and coulant are our bestsellers.

What’s the secret of eggless baking? Do eggless desserts taste as delicious as those with eggs?

Eggless desserts can be delicious. It depends on how you bake, and what kind of ingredients you bake with. The quality of ingredients is highly important while baking.

What are the top five tips for making fluffy and airy cakes?

There are no tips. You need to remember only two things: don’t forget to add baking powder; combine all the ingredients well so that your baked goods comes out well.

What are the most common mistakes people make while baking?

The big one is not weighing the ingredients. Always measure your ingredients! Also, baking is so diverse that you will get a new recipe every time you bake.

What are your favourite vegan desserts?

My favourites are carrot cake, apple crumble, macarons and cookies.

What are the main Spanish desserts?

We have many desserts: sobaos pasiegos, panellets, roscos de anís, roscos de vino, roscón de reyes. My favourite is Coca de Sant Joan, one of the most popular yeast breads in Spain.

Many say macarons are the hardest desserts to make. Do you have any tips for making good macarons?

You encounter a lot of problems while making macarons: choosing the almond meal for the macaron, the oven, the ganache to fill, etc. It’s very difficult to do perfect macarons, especially when you travel and you don’t have any control over the oven settings or the quality of ingredients. In fact, I sometimes find it difficult to make them in my own bakery.

What advice would you give to aspiring bakers?

It’s very hard to love this job. Long hours, hard work with salaries that aren’t that great, you work even when others are on holidays. But if you really love this job, just do it!

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Vegan pastries, anyone?

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