From diagrams to doughnuts


Smriti Iyer Owner of Smriti’s Special Online School. 

Right from an architect to a pastry chef, how did you discover the liking for bakery inside you?

Smriti Iyer:- I have grown up with some amazing cooks ever since childhood. Both my Grandmothers and mom were fantastic cooks. My mom was Baker in our family. She taught me my first cake which was a traditional Genoise. After college, I was not enjoying the corporate side of Architecture, and I desperately wanted a creative outlet. So I started baking with what I knew and experimenting with flavours. I started posting pictures online as a hobby. It was the love from people online which pushed me to pursue this as a full-time career. 

Baking and vegan are two quite complex terms termed together. How do you curate vegan bakery products?

Smriti Iyer:- After entering this industry, I quickly understood the vast preference of the general Indian public. A lot of people preferred either Vegan or Vegetarian. To cater to the need of the market, I started experimenting with egg-free and vegan patisserie right from the beginning. I have myself tried everything traditional, so I knew what my goals were to replicate the same in Vegan. 

You have an expertise in developing recipes please tell us the process of developing new recipes and how many trails are required to come up with the perfect dish?

Smriti Iyer:- Being an Architect helps me with developing a methodology to design recipes. As a pastry instructor, I always follow this – Who? Why? What? & How?

1. Who am I designing this recipe for? 

Hobby bakers? Home bakers? Advanced Bakers? Professional Chefs? 

2. Why am I making it this way? 

For indulgence? For the summers? For winters? For festival goodies? For diabetics or Specific diets? 

3. What am I making? 

Tarts? Cookies? Ice Cream? Macaron? 

4. How am I going to make it wrt the answers to the above questions? 

You go on making cafe-style cakes, waffles and cannoli. From where did you get the inspiration of making french and Italy inspired desserts?

Smriti Iyer:- I always thought French and Italian desserts look amazing. And then I tasted my first authentic Choux Pastry at a Pastry Chefs meet and was blown away as a beginner. Ever since then I have been hooked to French Patisserie but with my twist. 

How do you prepare the vegan white chocolate? Explain your love for chocolate in one line.

Smriti Iyer:- For me as a pastry chef, Chocolate is one of the most important ingredients in the kitchen. The process of it becoming chocolate from the Cacao fruit is meticulously long and intricate. Therefore it deserves respect. 

Vegan WC is made using Cocoa butter, Coconut Milk Powder and Sugar. 

You are also specialised in making different flavours of ice cream. How do you come up with ideas as of Dhokla Ice cream and Nimbu Mirchi Ice cream?

Smriti Iyer:- As much as I love European pastry, I truly believe that Indian Cuisine is the ultimate master of flavours. During my 4 city Class tour in 2017, I developed Nimbu Mirchi Ice Cream inspired my Mumbai. And Dhokla Ice cream inspired by Ahmedabad. And it was widely appreciated. Ever since then I have been working on Indian Flavours. 

How do you spice up the herbs in the desserts that you make? Do you try making healthy desserts and how do you innovate in it?

Smriti Iyer:- I read a hell lot. Books, the Internet, and trials have helped me innovate with pairing spices with different flavours. 

Yes, I have a separate series for ALTERNATE BAKING with two classes in it. This series is about making healthier versions of regular desserts. I work with a nutritionist to develop recipes for this series. These desserts are Egg-free, high fibre, Low Carb, completely Sugar-Free/Refined Sugar-Free, Gelatin Free, Gluten Free, Low/Healthy Fat. 

What new explorations have you done in Entremets and Tiramisu? Being french cuisine, are entremets trending in India?

Smriti Iyer:- Entremet is Mousse based cakes traditionally made with Eggs and Gelatin. They got developed in Europe which has much less atmospheric temperature than India. Along with developing flavours that are pleasing to the Indian audiences, Two of my own take on Entremet include making it Vegetarian/Vegan (i.e. Without eggs, Gelatin, and/or Dairy) and to make it weather resistant to withstand hot temperatures without melting immediately. 

If given a chance to choose, what would you go for, payasam or chocolate pastry? Have you ever done any innovation with traditional payasam?

Smriti Iyer:- I cannot choose! Maybe a bit of both! I have a proper sweet tooth! Payasam is one of my favourite flavour profiles. I have made Payasam Ice Cream Cake, Egg Free Payasam Macaron and Payasam Mousse till now. And I’m sure I’m not done with this flavour yet!