– Chef Prateek Bakhtiani
Born and raised in Mumbai, Prateek was always told by his grandmother, that boys don’t enter the kitchen. A graduate in Biochemistry from University of Washington, Seattle, his entry into chocolate wasn’t exactly intentional.
However, a twist of fate led him to take a year off before pursuing his PhD, which would have committed him to a life in academia. Moving to Ireland to study with Pastry Chef extraordinaire Rachel Allen and Sommelier Colm McCann, in three months, Prateek realized his passion lay in dessert and chocolate even though he very much loved Chemistry. Later that year, he moved to Paris, where he studied at Le Cordon Bleu and subsequently staged at Le Meurice with
Cedric Grolet. A desire to learn more about chocolate, he travelled to Antwerp, Belgium and worked at T’Zilte. From there, he further studied at the Chocolate Academy in Vancover, Canada, whilst working at a fun little G&T bar called Juniper. Before returning back to India, where he knew he always wanted
launch his chocolate brand, he worked as a chocolatier at Atelier Melissa Coppel in Las Vegas.
Citrus & earl- grey Floating island
10 minutes, Makes 4-6 Portions
- 250ml Milk
- ½ Bean Vanilla
- 1tsp Fine Earl Grey Tea
- 3 Egg yolks
- 60g Sugar
- Bring the milk to a boil, then add the earl grey and scraped vanilla and its pod. Allow to steep off the heat for 3-4 minutes then sieve. Reserve the milk, the tea leaves can be discarded.
- Combine the yolks and sugar with a whisk in a large bowl until just starting to pale. Bring the infused milk to a boil and pour a portion of it onto the yolk mixture, whisking the entire time.
- Pour the mixture back into the rest of the milk and put back onto the heat. Stirring the entire time, using a digital thermometer, bring the custard upto 83 degrees celsius, or until it starts to thicken. It is important at this stage to keep stirring and to not overcook the custard or you will end up with curdled custard and nobody likes that.
- Once cooked, immediately decant through a sieve into a bowl. It is recommended at this stage to hand blend the custard to make it super smooth.
- Cover the custard with cling film touching the surface until you are ready to use it.
10 minutes, Makes 4-6 Portions
- 2 Oranges, Malta
- 2 Grapefruits
- 1 Lemon
- 25g Sugar
- 30g Campari*
- Add the sugar, the juice and zest of one lemon to a heavy bottomed pan and heat to dissolve.
- If you’re comfortable segmenting citrus fruits, segment the oranges and grapefruits, else just cut them horizontally into thickish slices.
- Add half fruit to the syrup and cook down until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Reserve the other half for later
- Pour directly into the pan and standing far away, set the fruits on fire. Once the alcohol in the Campari has been cooked out, the flame will die out and you’ll be left with a bitter syrupy stewed fruit.
- Pour out directly into a deep pasta plate or bowl. Spot generously with the reserved fruit from earlier.
- Pour the custard over the fruit concealing them completely.
- * If you’d like a sweeter more gentle dessert, you can switch the Camapri out for Grand Marniner or Cointreau. I personally prefer using the Blood Orange Cointreau as it adds to the marmalady-syrupy taste of the flambee. Alternatively if you’d like a smoky complex dessert you can switch it out for a peaty whisky.
10 minutes, Makes 4-6 Portions
- 150g Sugar
- 40ml Water
- 2 Egg Whites
- Add the water, then the sugar (in that order) to a pot, bring to a boil. Monitor closely with a digital thermometer.
- Place the whites into the bowl of a mixer, once the syrup comes to 110 degrees celsius, begin to whip the whites on medium speed.
- Once the syrup is at 119 degrees pour it directly into the bowl of the mixer in a steady stream from the side of the bowl. Make sure not to pour it onto the spinning whisk as this will cause the sugar to crystalize onto the sides of the bowl.
- Allow to whisk on high until the meringue comes to form stiff peaks.
- Using two spoons create a quenelle or an amorphous blob of meringue and place it directly onto the custard. Don’t worry if your meringue is messy, we will torch it next and this will highlight this messiness and make it look beautiful against the plainness of the custard.
- Decorate the torched meringue with edible flowers and little pieces of citrus fruits and candied peels.
- Serve immediately.
Mango & lime Caramel Truffle
30 minutes active, Makes 25 Truffles
- 1 Mango
- 2-3 Limes
- 150g Sugar
- 100g Butter
- 2g Sea Salt
- Dark Chocolate Truffle Shells
- Tempered Chocolate
- Cocoa Powder
- Blend the pulp of the ripe mango with the juice of the limes. Once you have a smooth puree weigh out 100 grams of it into a small pot.
- Being the puree to a boil and maintain at a very gentle simmer while making the caramel. If you have a shortage of stove space, you can take the puree off the flame, just make sure to not take too long on the caramel as you need the puree to be warm when deglazing.
- Adding the sugar little by little to a heavy bottom pan on a medium heat, make a medium-dark caramel. If you have a thermometer handy, the carmel should be around 165 degrees celsius.
- Off the heat, deglaze with the warm puree. Put the deglazed caramel back onto the flame to melt any crystalized bits of caramel.
- Once all the caramel has melted, add the butter to the caramel and bring back to the boil, stirring continuously to ensure the butter emulsifies into the caramel. Add and stir in the salt.
- Decant the caramel into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, but still pourable, pipe the caramel into premade truffle shells. Rest for a couple of hours then use tempered chocolate to close the shells.
- Melt and temper a bowlful of dark chocolate. Using a rounded dipping tool, or better still your fingers, lift and dip each truffle into the chocolate.
- Tapping off the excess chocolate onto the side of the bowl, gently place the truffles into a bowlful of well-sifted cocoa powder, move the bowl a bit to ensure that the truffle is completely submerged in the cocoa powder before moving onto dipping the next one.
- Once all the truffles are in the cocoa powder, allow them 10 minutes to set completely. Once set, fish them out of the cocoa powder and using a drum sieve shake off any excess cocoa.
- Whilst, it depends on the mango you use, the caramel within the truffles will be fairly fuis, and burst forth into your mouth when you eat the truffle. For this reason I recommend eating them in one bite.
- These truffles are good for up to a month and make great coffee treats or gifts for friends.
Rosemary & Peach Financier
5 minutes prep// 3h rest. Makes 10-12 Portions
- 1 Peach
- 40g Icing Sugar
- 2 Sprigs Rosemary
- Peel and chop into an even brunoise (cubes)
- Sieve the sugar directly onto the peaches previously collected into a bowl.
- Add the rosemary and mix well with a spoon. I personally like to get my hands in there to make sure that the peaches are very well coated.
- Leave to macerate, at least 3 hours or overnight
5 minutes prep// 10-12 minutes Baking. Makes 10-12 Portions
- 120g Butter
- 1 Spring Rosemary
- 50g Almonds or Hazelnuts.
- 120g Icing Sugar
- 50g Flour
- 1 pinch Baking Powder
- 1 pinch Salt
- 10g Honey
- 3 Egg Whites
- 20g Rum
- Macerated Peaches
- Almond/Hazelnut Halves
- In a saucepan add the butter and rosemary. Gently melt the butter.
- Once melted add the honey and allow to cool to room temperature.
- It is advisable to skin the almonds, but if you can’t be bothered to do that just use whole almonds.
- Blend into a powder, it is not important for the powder to be too fine or even.
- Sift together into a large bowl. To this add the almond flour.
- Add to the dry ingredients and whisk well to avoid any lumps. Add the melted butter, remembering to take out the sprig of rosemary.
- Spoon or better still pipe the batter into greased, not lined, cupcake or financier moulds. Remember that this is a very rich sponge so don’t make them too big.
- Onto each financier add a few pieces of macerated peach, a couple pieces of halved nuts and if you’d like, a single delicate fraun of rosemary.
- Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 10-12 minutes. Unmold immediately once baked.
- These are fantastic with a spritzer, especially when served with some of the excess macerated peaches.
Ether launched in 2018 and in the short span of a year, Prateek has collaborated with Café Zoe, to create a seasonal dessert menu whereby he took inspiration from the bountiful fruits that grow in India. He was then approached by two coffee brands; Blue Tokai where he developed coffee based
tarts based on various coffee bean roasts. With Koinonia coffee roasters he designed a Christmas pastry specials menu. The Vault Biennale invited Prateek, to create a range of spired chocolates and conduct a chocolate workshop; he talked about pairing spirits with single origin chocolates. Later this year, Ether plans on opening their first chocolate boutique in Bandra. When Prateek is not hidden away in his atelier, he is devoting time to his other passions, rowing,
appreciating cinema and learning more about wine.