Feature: Wedding – An Indian Dessert Safari
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 08:00 IST
Weddings are one of the most important and exciting occasions in Indian culture. An Indian wedding involves way more people than the bride and the groom and their immediate families. It involves the extended family, friends, colleagues, the entire neighbourhood and the list goes on. From the moment the wedding is fixed, the first thing that is served to celebrate this news is something sweet.
The pleasure that sweets give us is considered divine, thus sweets are believed to be food of the Gods. Sweets are a must in every Indian household. Festivals and happy occasions are rejoiced by indulging in rich and sinful Indian desserts. The Big Fat Indian Weddings are known for their extravagance and will not be complete without great food and an array of desserts. Handmade and carefully crafted, the list of Indian desserts is very extensive.
Indian sweet is known to speak the language of culture, tradition love, yet its very presence can make the strongest of hearts melt into infidelity… for when your eyes see more than one variety, it is tough to stay loyal to a single flavour.
As people are travelling out more than ever they are able to savour a variety of sweet meats in Europe and America. When they come back, they look for similar flavours and quality here. It is this awareness and demand that has made Indian sweet makers to adapt to the changing demands. This innovative outlook has given new dimensions to the sweets of India.
Sweets in Indian weddings have gone bigger with time, they are not only restricted to traditional sweets but lots of innovation is being done with them.
Today there is a plethora of mithais at Indian weddings. Also there are a lot more variations and flavours available in Indian desserts than ever before. Like chocolate barfi, butterscotch halwa, akhrot barfi, banana halwa, and dry fruit jalebi, to name a few.
Nowadays you will see live counters set up for dishing out fresh Indian desserts at weddings. The idea is to be able to serve hot desserts so that they are piping hot and cold ones cold. Also presentation is very important and caterers are going out of their way to enhance the guest experience. Quite often these days, desserts are made in mini sizes and served pre-plated as compared to before where you would be given a separate bowl along with your dinner plate for standard and common wedding sweets like gulab jamun. The bite-sized desserts allow you to try out the various options on the spread. Another trend catching up at weddings is a themed dessert bar counter. For example, a mango theme, wherein all your desserts will be mango-based or a strawberry- and chocolate-themed dessert counter in which all wedding desserts will be strawberry and chocolate based.
Continental desserts such as black forest gateau, blue berry mousse, chocolate fevillant cake, corn pudding cake, fresh fruit flambé, mocha soufflé, and tiramisu and have become popular in Indian weddings that there is a whole lavish continental dessert counter to satisfy different taste buds. The wedding cake ceremony has become today’s fashion. Couples look forward to cutting that first slice as husband and wife, while the guests may be excited to indulge their sweet tooth with a delicious dessert. “Cake” has achieved a celebrity status of its own.
Important decisions for wedding will include picking out the perfect cake. In the past, all wedding cakes may have been “created equal” but now there are so many varieties to choose from. While most guests forget many specifics about weddings, the wedding cake often stands out in their minds. Here are a few tips to help you find the cake that will impress your guests and make your wedding day perfect.
Taste Testing: Finding the Right Flavour No longer are brides only limited to wedding cakes that are either yellow cakes or white cakes. There are so many flavours of cakes available that it may be hard to choose the one you like the most. Some flavours that are available for you to choose from include carrot, almond, chocolate, hazelnut and yellow-butter.
Complement With Icing and Fillings
When trying to choose the perfect cake, you also need to consider the variety of icings and fillings that are available to make wedding cakes both tasty and beautiful. When you are making a choice of icing, be sure to consider the temperature of the place where you will hold function. If you are having an outdoor wedding in the summer, some types of icing may melt and slide off the cake. So be sure to ask your cake designer to help you pick an icing that will be suitable and long-lasting. There are many new flavours of fillings and icings available as well. Fillings can range from raspberry, strawberry and key lime to mocha, chocolate and caramel. If you like more than one filling consider using several that complement one another.
Enhance with Decorations
Another way to make great wedding cakes is to have them match your wedding theme is by using decorations. You can choose decorations for your cake such as a specific cake-holder, a cake topper or even fountains to go with your cake. If you are having a wedding outdoors, you may choose flower decorations for your cake or a cake topper that incorporates flowers. If your wedding is around Christmas, you may consider topping your cake with a star. No matter what your theme may be, you can use decorations to bring out that theme and enhance your wedding cake.
Dessert Trends have changed, bite-size chocolate cake, beer for dessert and new flavour combinations are just some of the latest sweets to come out of the pastry kitchen.
¢ Unusual combinations: Creative flavour combinations can update any tired old dessert. Bacon and chocolate, chocolate and chili, cream of crab ice cream or caramel apple with crushed wasabi peas are just a sample of new flavour profiles.
¢ Macarons: Not to be confused with the coconut-covered macaroons, these macarons are tiny, buttercream filled desserts that come in an array of pastel colours. Up until a few years ago, macarons could only be found in Paris but have now spread like chocolate icing throughout the US.
¢ Beer for dessert: Dessert and wine have always gone hand-in-hand. Recently, beer has burst onto the scene through dessert pairings and as a dessert ingredient. Beer paired with bread pudding, beer ice cream and beer floats are just some of the ways in which beer is being showcased in the world of sweets.
¢ Deconstruction: This trend is all about the essence of desserts. Chefs are breaking down traditional desserts and presenting them in new and exciting ways.
¢ Bite-sized desserts: The small plate trend has carried over to the finale of the meal as well. Bite-sized cakes satisfy cravings without expanding the waistline.
¢ Fizzy floats: Everything tastes better with ice cream, and soda is no exception. As scoops of sorbet and ice cream get plopped into carbonated drinks (including beer), it’s clear that floats are hot.
¢ Ice cream sandwiches: Artisan ice cream sandwiched between two mini brioche or brownies is only a glimpse into the modern ice cream sandwich. Unusual ice cream flavours and different ingredients bring ice cream sandwiches into the 21st century.
Indian weddings’ sweet treats have gone bigger with time and will grow in future. There will always be room for more trends and innovations. A wedding guest will never be satisfied and there is always scope for new sweets treats.
(The authors are assistant professors at Banarsidas Chandiwala Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology)
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