If MasterChef Australia has Kylie Millar, Mumbai has Pooja Dhingra, Chef and owner of Le 15 Patisserie. Shirin Mehrotra chats with her about her sweet tooth and her new collection.
If Pooja Dhingra participated in MasterChef Australia, she would definitely give those pastry chefs a run for their money with her mouth-watering macaroons. For the uninitiated, macaroons are a French confectionery made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, powdered almonds and food colouring. It usually has a jam or butter cream filling sandwiched between two cookies halves. At the launch of her new festive gift box, we asked her five quick questions about her love for baking and her favourite picks from the bakery.
You have almost single-handedly made macaroons a rage in Mumbai. What makes them so special to you?
Ever since I had my first macaroon in Paris, I’ve been in love with these sweet treats. They have become an obsession of sorts and I love experimenting with different recipes, textures and techniques.
How old were you when you first baked and what was it?
My first real memory of baking is when I was six years old. I remember baking brownies with my aunt in her kitchen. That experience was pure magic and has stayed with me ever since.
Why did you name your collection Caravan?
The collection is based on apparel and accessory designer, Nachiket Barve’s Autumn Winter’12 collection called Caravan. That’s why my collection has been christened with the same name.
Have you added any Indian flavours in the collection?
This collection features a number of spices. I’ve played around with a number of chocolate and spice combinations. For example, pairing chocolate with cinnamon, coffee, saffron, nutmeg, pink peppercorn, cardamom and white chocolate has been fun.
Besides macaroons what else would you like more people to try at Le 15 Patisserie?
Usually, if I’m not eating a macaroon then I’d say try out the Nutella chocolate tart, it’s one of my favourites.