A dessert workshop at Vivanta by Taj Surya saw an enthusiastic turnout

Nine eggless dessert recipes in one day. Sounds difficult? It wasn’t, because Chef Mageshkumar Ram, the dessert chef at Vivanta by Taj Surya, made it look like child’s play! From sponge cakes to brownies, participants at the cooking workshop organised by Frozen Lemons at the hotel, had a lip-smacking session. Around 200 women turned up for the event.

The first dessert demo was an egg-less sponge cake. The chef gave instructions as he folded cake batter — a combination of flour, butter and condensed milk. The women scribbled down notes.

He next demonstrated how to make truffle.

As he cooked the chocolate in the double boiler, the women abandoned their notes to relish the waft of hot melting chocolate. The chocolate truffle mix was kept aside for setting and it was chocolate chip cookies next! There was a flurry of excitement when the cookie dough made of butter, flour, chocolate chips and crushed cashews, with a good dose of brown sugar and castor sugar was passed around.

The chef shaped the dough into small rounds and put them into the oven.

Who doesn’t love brownies? And next on the list of desserts was just that — chocolate walnut brownies! “The brownie is not a cake. It has to be crunchy and soft at the same time. It all depends on the timing and temperature of baking,” explained the chef. He showed how the mixture for the brownies was made with flour, melted chocolate, crushed walnuts and a dash of coffee.

After the calorific desserts, it was multi-grain bread that had the women watching in admiration as the chef kneaded and moulded the dough into loaves of different shapes.

The chef spoke about the importance of presentation in any dish and showed how simple steps could make any dessert look extra special. Just dusting icing sugar on cakes could make them look pretty, he said. As the workshop progressed and the women warmed up with questions, the chef assured them that they could use substitutes for some of the ingredients he was using. For example, for cinnamon blueberry scones, one could substitute blueberry compote with the more-easily available blueberry jam. As he poured white rum into the hazelnut chocolate mousse mixture, he said the alcohol was just optional. The mousse was finally piped into martini glasses using a funnel shaped out of butter paper.

The workshop ended with a delicious strawberry gateaux. The sponge cake was sliced into different layers, and strawberry crush was dabbed onto each layer. He then demonstrated how to make chocolate tuiles for the garnishing. “Oohs” and “aahs” filled the air.

The participants were then served helpings of all the nine desserts they had watched the chef make. It was a happy and contented lot of ladies who trooped out of the hotel, no doubt dreaming about more goodies they would learn to make over the next two days.