Piece of Cake

Sugar Rush

A New Wave Of Pastry Chefs

byMelanie May

Issue: Sept/Oct
Date: 01/09/2021
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A new wave of pastry chefs is creating decadent desserts, patisserie and cakes that can be delivered right to your door.

 

Sugar Rush – A New Wave Of Irish Pastry Chefs

 

There’s a patisserie revolution sweeping across Ireland with exciting pastry chefs breathing new life into old classics and ensuring you can enjoy their delectable wares from the comfort of your home. Here’s our pick of the finest in the land.

 

Finch and Berry

Finch & BerryBased in North Dublin, Finch & Berry is a ‘boutique desserts factory’ as owner Kate describes it, that produces handmade delectable delights using the finest Belgian chocolate and Irish ingredients.

 

Best known for her sweet Irish strawberries covered in milk, dark, white or ruby chocolate displayed in the prettiest of packaging, Kate also makes strawberry towers and edible bouquets that look like works of art. Her creations are decorated with vibrant colour pigments and adorned with handmade chocolate flowers, edible jewels and the finest chocolates and biscuits. They are morsel masterpieces.

 

Kate sources her raw ingredients from local suppliers and shuns the use of chocolate-flavoured candy melts or artificial sweeteners. She focuses on organic, natural products and pure Belgian chocolate. “All of our orders are made on the day of delivery, so we capture the freshness in the taste,” Kate explains.

 

Her latest wonderful Willy Wonka-esque creations are cakesicles. These may look like fantasy ice pops but are Oreo cheesecake fillings encased in chocolate and bedazzled with edible decorations. “We try to create something that tastes good, but also is aesthetically pleasing to look at. We do get a lot of “it’s too pretty to eat” comments and we absolutely love that!”

Order from www.finchnberry.com for delivery and collection.

 

 

Aoife Noonan

Aoife Noonan
Aoife Noonan

Fancy enjoying some fine dining patisserie from the comfort of your own home? That’s exactly what you get when you order Aoife Noonan’s exquisite creations. Aoife was the head pastry chef in 2 Michelin Star Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud for nearly four years and is now serving up limited edition monthly patisseries to order for delivery.

 

“I adore creating really sharp, technical and playful desserts,” she explains. “The basis and concepts of my desserts come from my classical French training, using classic flavours that I love, but adding a little contemporary twist.”

 

As for her favourite things to bake? “I love making soufflés, arlette puff pastry, and canelés. Canelés de Bordeaux is a traditional French pastry, baked in copper moulds with a crunchy exterior and a soft, almost custardy centre flavoured with rum and vanilla.” These were part of Aoife’s August patisserie line; September’s decadent dessert drop is a Valrhona Chocolate and tonka bean flan.

 

Aoife also runs online baking masterclasses where she shares her passion for patisserie and helps you hone your skills in all things sweet. For October’s creation, keep your eyes on www.AoifeNoonan.com. Orders can be delivered in Dublin and surrounding counties.

 

 

Gorditas

Grace Reddin Gorditas
Grace Reddin

Alfajores are synonymous with Argentina. Made with two crumbly cookies married together with luscious dulce de leche, they are the ultimate sandwich cookie, and Grace Reddin of Gorditas is spreading the word, and love, of these South American sweets with her ‘Alfies’.

 

“Our signature bake is the chocolate, Alfie. It’s a crumbly chocolate cookie sandwich with the perfect balance of sweetness and creamy caramel texture that just melts in your mouth,” says Grace.

 

Grace then sandwiches the cookies together with a delicious filling, before hand-covering each in rich Belgian chocolate. “We love to be adventurous with our food and introduce new elements to our recipes. ”This summer Grace introduced a ‘cutie fruity’ to the range – two orange-infused cookies filled with white chocolate and orange ganache and a juicy centre of sweet apricot jam, before being covered in ruby chocolate. Each was a perfect pink parcel of pleasure.

 

Grace makes her Alfies fresh to order each week in her kitchen in Skerries, in North Dublin. She also makes filled montecitos and conitos which delight dulce de leche lovers. You can order direct from Gorditas for nationwide delivery. www.gorditasbakes.com

 

Le Patissier

Robert Bullock
Robert Bullock

Pastry chef Robert Bullock honed his skills in the finest restaurants, hotels and bakeries in London before moving to Ireland to work for Aer Lingus catering.

 

In 2014 he set up Le Patissier supplying his wonderful cakes and desserts to premium clients. Lockdown saw business dry up overnight, so he began a home service, delivering exquisite French-style confections that constantly sold out.

 

The talented team produce handmade patisserie, cakes and desserts using the finest ingredients, including Irish dairy and free-range eggs. These scrumptious creations have scooped numerous trophies at Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards.

 

One such award-winning bake is Le Patissier’s Tarte Au Citron Meringue. “[It’s an] Irish buttery pastry case filled with a zingy Sicilian lemon curd and topped with a light Italian torched meringue,” Robert tells us. “Reminds me of baking at home with my mum where we baked most Sundays including buns, trifles and lemon meringue pie.”

 

As well as drawing inspiration from his childhood, Robert also gets inspired eating his way around Paris. “I would normally walk the streets of Paris once or twice a year coming home a few pounds heavier. I also have a passion for patisserie books. I always look for flavour, colour, texture and shape when we start designing along with how they transport.”

 

Le Patissier’s masterpieces can currently be ordered for collection only on Thursdays and Fridays in Dublin 15. See www.lepatissier.ie

 

Merci Beaucoup Cakes

Merci Beaucoup Cakes
Jeremy and Alona Humeau

Based in Ardee, Co Louth, husband and wife team Jeremy and Alona Humeau of Merci Beaucoup Cakes hand-make eye-catching French-style patisseries and desserts. “My inspiration comes from my love of traditional flavours, rich and generous, and the memories of baking with my mother,” Jeremy shares.

 

One of the couple’s most popular desserts is a favourite from his childhood. “Our most popular product is our hazelnut meringue. It is a naturally gluten-free dessert that mixes hazelnut praline in a delicious cream with soft almond meringue layers that are baked to perfection. Neither under- nor overbaked.”

 

Jeremy trained for five years in France in patisserie and culinary school and Alona has over a decade of expertise in the bakery industry. Their skills and use of local ingredients have won them numerous awards, including seven Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards. “We proudly use local producers to give our French desserts an Irish twist,” Jeremy beams.

 

It certainly is a match made in heaven, producing the most delicious macarons, croissants, cakes, cupcakes, patisserie and desserts.

 

For an authentic taste of France, you can order online from Merci Beaucoup Cakes and pick you from Ardee or Navan. If you are in Ardee at the weekend, you can visit their pop-up shop at the bakery.

www.mercibeaucoupcakes.ie

Praline

Praline
Norma Kelly

With a Culinary Arts degree majoring in pastry, Norma Kelly has worked as a pastry chef in Ireland and France. In truth, though, she’s been honing her skills since childhood, pulling up chairs to stand beside her mother and grandmother and watch them bake cakes and tarts.

 

Now Norma is back in her home of Mitchelstown, Co Cork, and is making individual French pastries and cake slices in her pastry and chocolate shop, Praline.

 

“Praline serves high-quality pastries, cakes and coffee for everyday treats and special occasions. We focus on simple fresh flavours using good quality ingredients. All our creations are prepared daily in our little kitchen,” Norma enthuses.

 

“We have a couple of signature pastries, I think the most popular has to be our simple vanilla and raspberry friand. It is a delicious buttery little tea cake made with ground almonds instead of flour, which also makes it gluten-free. It is a favourite with all our customers and the perfect accompaniment to a good strong coffee!

 

Norma also makes melt-in-the-mouth handmade chocolate truffles and bars in a specialised chocolate production area and can make bespoke cakes and chocolates for any occasion.

Order for click and collect or nationwide delivery at www.praline.ie

 

Pudding Row

Pudding RowPudding Row is a delightful neighbourhood grocer in the seaside village of Easkey, Co Sligo. Founded by Dervla Conlon (Pictured Top of Page), and her husband Johny, Dervla previously co-founded the popular Pepper Pot Café in Dublin’s Powerscourt Townhouse Centre.

 

We bake everything in house every morning and use the best ingredients we can find, trying to use as much local, organic and seasonal produce as possible. Everything is made by hand with great care and we make sure not to cut any corners. It means everything takes a bit longer, but I think it’s worth it,” Johny shares.

 

The couple makes cakes, pastries and other scrumptious slices and soft, sugary doughnuts. “Our doughnuts are probably one of our most popular bakes. We mould them by hand and fill them with a homemade vanilla crème patisserie and top them with a piece of Crunchie or fresh raspberries from my Dad’s tunnel when he has them. They are crisp and sugary on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside and full of delicious crème patisserie. They’re a real treat. We bake them fresh each weekend morning and they sell out fast.”

 

You need to be quick if you want to get your hands, and mouth around these toothsome treats. Order from the Pudding Row website for nationwide delivery or click and collect (doughnuts only available for click and collect).

www.puddingrow.ie

 

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