Last week, we kicked off the Christmas festivities with a gift guide for all the epicureans and gourmands on your list. This week, as we officially step into December, Asia Tatler Dining presents you with the second in our gift guide series: this time for all the budding pastry chefs and chocolatiers in your life.
Oven and kitchen range
While the British may love their Aga ovens, for bakers everywhere else, French oven maker La Cornue reigns supreme. Founded in 1908 by a Parisian herbalist and perfumer, the ovens by La Cornue are known for their superior workmanship as well as charming exteriors. We particularly love the beautiful CornuFé oven series which is equipped with five professional burners, including a large 4 kW central burner that can be adapted into a hot plate. There are also two conventional ovens, ideal for when you have a roast chicken in one oven and a soufflé that will topple over at the slightest hint of cold air in the other. Finally, it is ideal for small kitchens in Hong Kong as its bottom consists of a large storage drawer, which can accommodate casserole dishes, trays and other cooking accessories. The CornuFé is available in various charming rustic designs and colours and materials including black, ivory, blue, red and stainless steel.
For more information, visit La Cornue's website www.lacornue.com or contact its authorised Hong Kong distributor Pantry Magic, address: G/F, 25 Lok Ku Rd, Central. Tel: +852 2504-0688.
A good mixer is an essential if expensive tool for baking: without it, there is little hope of making dough that is airy enough to rise into bread, or buttercream lump-free enough to create the smoothest frosting. We love the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, one of the most popular mixers among professional and home bakers alike and renowned for its sturdiness and functionality. This trendy and contemporary looking mixer is also available in 23 gorgeous shades, making it not only an essential part of any pastry kitchen, but possibly also one of the most attractive components.
For more information, please visit KitchenAid's website www.kitchenaid.com.
For those who love to make desserts such as crème brûlée, soufflé, parfaits and bread puddings, a small ceramic ramekin is an indispensible tool. While there is a wide selection of ramekins out on the market, we love these little ramekin by the enamel master of cookware, Le Creuset. Available in shapes such as stars and hearts as well as the traditional circular variety, they performs beautifully in both microwaves and ovens. We also love the fact that they come with lids, meaning that it can go from being just a purely functional tool in the kitchen to a delightful and unusual piece of plateware at your next dinner party.
For more information, please visit Le Creuset's flagship store on 31 Wyndham Street, Central.
There are many things to contribute to the visual appeal of a cake: is it grand and multi-tiered? Is the fondant smooth and perfect? Do your frosted rosettes actually resemble flowers at all? While we are not qualified to teach you all the tricks to finishing a cake, we do have one tip. A beautiful cake stand can hide multiple sins so for all those times when you're frantically baking a cake only to watch it sadly wobble to one side, consider popping it on the following cake stands to immediately increase its aesthetic appeal.
Marquis by Waterford bezel footed cake plate
A jewel-like crystal cake stand from fine crystal maker Waterford, we love the look of this classic and timeless piece. While the simplicity of the design means that it can contrast with the most bedazzled of extravagant cakes, we would suggest using this beauty as a base for more simple and plain cream cakes to highlight its elegance.
For more information, please visit www.waterford.ie.
Aluminum cake stand from Nambe
Egyptian-born industrial designer Karim Rashid has tried his hand at everything from the bobble water bottle, the Oh Chair for Umbra and luxury products for brands ranging from Kenzo to Swarovski, so it's natural that when he turned his eye to cake stands, you can bet it won't be your run-of-the-mill product. Avant-garde in design, this two-tier aluminum cake stand with two glass holders and a sleek silver base not only modernizes any cake, but also makes an eye-catching centerpiece to any dining table.
For more information, please visit www.nambe.com.
For beginner bakers, we recommend Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy. Ex-model and TV baking guru Pascale's new cookbook offers easy and delicious recipes for the perfect baked treats. If you have a friend who is adept at baking but wants to be taken to the next level, we recommend Chic & Unique Celebration Cakes: 30 fresh new designs to brighten every special occasion by Zoe Clark. Following on her success Bake Me I'm Yours... Cupcake Love in 2010, Clark's new baking guide this year offers advance cake decorating techniques, with step-by-step full illustrated instructions that covers essential tips including making sugar flowers, piping and stenciling. There are also recipes for smaller treats including mini cakes, cookies, fondant fancies and chocolates.
Both books are available on www.amazon.com.