We pin three chefs against each other to pay homage to the unsung hero of brunch – delicious bakes, cakes, tarts and treats – in a competition of skill and flair
“There’s always room for desert”, so the saying goes. Then again, at brunch that isn’t always the case.
But missing the final course is a rookie mistake as pudding is often the showpiece event.
From bite-sized tarts to large round cakes, we’ve seen it all and we’ve tasted most of it too. So we took it upon ourselves to set off on an edible odyssey to find the best brunch bakes in Abu Dhabi.
We challenged three chefs to produce their signature brunch dessert from scratch so we could see if they have all the right ingredients to be named the winner of our Great Brunch Bake Off.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Executive pastry chef Laurent Allereau prepares one of the favourites from the Giornotte Friday brunch, the famous French dessert, tarte aux pralines.
Made from a sugar dough base, the tarte is made with a gently heated mixture of cream and crushed praline – a type of pink, sugar-coated almonds popular in France.
Once left to set, the cake is decorated with broken berry nougatine, fresh cream, broken biscuit and praline. Picture perfect.
So how does it taste? The buttery pastry is perfect, giving way to the caramel-like filling that’s super sweet but incredibly moreish, with a contrasting texture from the crunchy topping.
Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort
They say the classics never die and that’s something that chef de parti Manikandan Kaliyamorthi is keen to prove.
On the menu at the Friday brunch at Flavours is a black forest cake.
Three layers of chocolate sponge are topped with piped cream and berry compote. Once assembled the cake is covered in fresh buttercream icing and piped around the outside before adding chocolate shavings, whipped cream and fresh raspberries and strawberries on top. Finally a dose of chocolate sauce is piped around the outside. It looks to good to eat. But we do it anyway….
It’s moist and balances the flavours of berry and chocolate with the sharp taste of raspberry cutting through the richness of the cocoa.
A fitting way to end a brunch? Absolutely, and we’ll take a cup of tea too, thanks.
Four Seasons Abu Dhabi
Executive pastry chef Hafiz Razali doesn’t do half measures as he prepares for us the tallest cake we’ve ever seen.
The bella chocolate fudge cake boasts no less than seven layers of chocolate sponge, each topped with cream and berry compote.
Coated in chocolate buttercream and left to chill, the chef turns up the flair by adding chocolate sauce, chocolate medallions, chocolate shards, fresh raspberries, dehydrated raspberries and some chocolate truffles for good measure. Wow.
So how does it taste? As good as it looks: layers of fudge-like chocolate blend perfectly with the sharp taste of berry and the expertly assembled topping adds a welcome change in texture.
And the winner is…
It’s not easy to pick a winner but pick one we must and after much deliberation a verdict was reached.
This year’s winner is (drumroll) the Four Seasons Abu Dhabi. Congratulations!
WORDS Colin Armstrong