Three passionate Thai-Indian bakers share their favourite holiday-themed desserts.
By Krishna Mawani
The snow may not fall on our side of the world nor does the night come early, yet we are all ready for an Asian winter. The streets have started to sparkle with fairy lights and Christmas trees, while people are humming with festive cheer. Children are on their best behaviour as they eagerly await presents from Santa Claus, while adults forget all inhibitions on New Year’s Eve. December is the month of festivities as friends and families alike gather to celebrate the year end. What better way to bond then with a slice of happiness? Masala speaks to three women who put on their professional baking caps and share their favourite holiday desserts.
Age: 53 years old
Baking hat worn since 35 years old
“Whenever anyone comes home, the first thing they ask is what is for dessert? I have been baking for a long time, and back then, we couldn’t find any eggless cakes in Bangkok. We used to only get cakes with rich butter frosting. So I started baking for all my kids’ and friends’ birthdays, as well as family celebrations. My blueberry cheesecake has always been a popular favourite. I love it when I see a smile on a person’s face when they take their first bite. It is the best reward!”
Holiday Special: Eggless Chocolate Mousse Cake
Age: 35 years old
Baking hat worn since 20 years old
“Baking has always been my passion. I love to experiment with different flavours and styles. When Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School was launched in Bangkok, I immediately enrolled for their one year patisserie diploma. After that, I went on to open a home-based bakery called Patisserie Le Soleil, as well as another restaurant with my brother. Eventually, we sold off the restaurant. After a short hiatus, I am back at it again, except I have a slightly different approach. I eat and bake healthier. I make more gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan desserts – as it’s difficult to find such items outside. I’m planning on launching either something online, or a home-based bakery with healthy desserts in the future.”
Holiday Special: Pumpkin Praline Nut Scones
Age: 33 years old
Baking hat worn since 18 years old
“I started working since I was 20 years old, but when I got married to a merchant navy officer, I had to quit my job and travel with him. It was a setback of sorts as I suddenly found myself doing nothing. When I was sailing on the ship, there were around 30 to 35 crew members, mostly all males. Sometimes I was the only wife on the ship. So I started baking cakes for the crew members’ birthdays or for other occasions. When we moved to Bangkok two years ago, I started baking again but with organic and healthier ingredients to accommodate my daughter’s school demands. For example, I would bake zucchini cakes or use bitter gourd as butter. I would teach my friends how to make desserts or bake for them. That is how my home-based bakery, The Little Lemon Bakery, started and expanded. I love that it keeps me busy and helps me make new friends.”
Holiday Special: Date Walnut Cake