By T.U. Dawood
Tue, 09, 20

We continue our series spotlighting some exceptional dishes and the amazing women homepreneurs behind them...

pastry chefs

WARM DELIGHTS BY H&Z @warmdelightspk

There are some sweet items you never knew existed, but once you taste them, you can’t imagine that people go through life without trying them. Warm Delights by H&Z makes coconut balls that are that special. Hafsa Zaki, founder, says, “Just as Pakistanis call mithai the one that tastes full of love, our coconut balls melt in your mouth. They also come in caring colours, amazing flavours and varying packings which adds up to its beauty.”

COCOLOCO - @cocoloco_ha

Cocoloco melt-in-your-mouth mini chocolate brownies have just the right flavour and are bite size, so it’s hard to stop at just one. The colour, texture, scent and flavour are all spot on. “It’s important to have crinkle top on brownies and they should be fudgy, chewy and dense in the middle,” clarifies founder Hira Ansari. “Reason why I work from home is that I make sure that each and every sweet treat is given individual attention.”

TEMPTING DELIGHTS @tempting.delights

Tempting Delights takes their butters to a whole different level of gourmet. Dark chocolate almond butter, white chocolate pistachio butter, salted caramel cashew butter, all make for decadent yet nutritious snacks. Sara Farhan Khilji, founder, highlights, “One of the benefits of eating nut butters is that they also contain a healthy dose of vitamins and antioxidants that protects essential fats in your body, supports healthy skin and hair and helps keep your immune system strong.”

ALIFIYAH’S TREATS @alifiyah.treats

Alifiyah’s Treats specialises in tres leches (three milk) cakes. She also does stunning chocolate art on top of the cakes. “I have started my venture with a Mexican dessert delicacy. I introduced a duo cake in Tres leches which is a combo of two flavours. My duo cakes are half chocolate and other half topped with whipped lemon cream, further topped with peach / mango sauce and chunks,” describes Alifiyah.

CAKE & BAKE - @cake-and-bake

When Cake & Bake founder Rabia Khurram said she makes Turkish delight, we assumed the traditional sweetmeat or Turkish candy style cubes that you buy in Grand Bazaar and sweets shops. In her version, it is a dairy dessert that in its packaging could be mistaken for ras milai. It’s actually surprisingly unbelievably yum, though doesn’t look as good as it tastes. Despite being quite sweet, it’s hard to stop at just one bite. “I think in our culture, tradition is a key factor when selecting a dessert for their event,” states Rabia, adding, “Pricing of products is my biggest challenge.”

DULCES BY JOY @dulcesbyjoy

You would think there were a limited number of ways to bake a cookie, but Dulces by Joy would prove you wrong. Freshly baked, these cookies are soft to touch and simultaneously melt and crumble in your mouth. The first bite reminded us of coffee ice cream, and then the cookie taste and texture filled our senses. ‘The Jackson’, their coffee and salted caramel, is unlike anything we’ve tried. The alchemic mix of Raaz Ethiopian Sidamo coffee, Callebault dark chocolate and fleur de sel caramel sauce, tastes even more gourmet and special than it sounds.

“I started Dulces by Joy simply as a project my sisters and I could engage in during the lockdown,” shares Nazia Bilal, who co-founded the business with her sisters Zarmeena and Zoya. “I didn’t really see it as a business then but if our current demand is an indicator of how things will look like for us in the near future, opening a commercial kitchen space is the next logical step for us,” she adds.

FUDGELICIOUS @lovewithfudge

Fudgelicious is the perfect spot when you want to indulge. We tried their mix of dark chocolate, coconut and marble flavour; all of which were traditional, creamy, sweet, soft fudge, and tasted very rich. “The key to any good fudge is the balance between taste, texture and quality,” elucidates Rabia Lakhani, founder. The business started during lockdown. Rabia, who has a small baby, enjoys working from home. “My fudge melts in your mouth and is purely handcrafted. Despite the world going topsy turvey, our fudge creates a magic for everyone,” states Rabia.

SLICKBACK MAASIS @slickbackmaasis

Lujane, Sara & Amani Vaqar Pagganwala- The Slickback Sisters - chose their name from an inside joke coined by Sara, referring to the three sisters as being in the kitchen in the heat and it just stuck. Well, this trio is cooking up some magic in that kitchen including their authentic Victorian sponge. “The Slickback Tropical Victoria Sponge is a quintessential British confection of two light, airy and buttery sponge cakes with a shamelessly generous helping of whipped cream sandwiched in the middle and topped with seasonal fruits and berries,” explains Sara, who is proud to make recipes that have been in her family from generations. “When selecting a dessert, complete freshness and quality of ingredients, is key. One good thing Corona did was a sudden boom of home chefs with restaurants shut down,” emphasis Sara.

NORA GOT SWEET TOOTH @noragotsweettooth

If you assumed home chefs were not masters of packaging and branding, Nora Got Sweet Tooth would definitely prove you wrong. Their artisan vegan treats are as on trend as any health food shop or cafe anywhere in the world. The muesli and granola are both authentic, flavourful, nutritious. The smoothie bowls are intense, with an enjoyable taste, albeit very filling. The bliss balls are super trendy these days as an afternoon pick me up. “We started the whole ‘healthy eating, refined sugar free, vegan, sweet treats with a twist’ benchmark in Karachi,” tells Bisma Shahid Loan, who co-founded the brand with her niece, Noorunissa Rameez Loan.

SWEEDUCTIONS @sweeductionsbysadaf

Sweeductions makes a variety of desserts, but their homemade jams and butters are really special. We tried her jams & butters and we particularly liked the peach jam and mango jam, which had a fresh taste and just the perfect level of sweetness. Her spiced apple butter was more like thick apple sauce than butter, but was yum. The peanut butter was very tasty and we loved the packaging. Sadaf Haque Yasir, founder, defines, “Our jams are homemade, low sugar, no preservative jams that stay fine from 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.”

MASHO CAKES @masho.cakes

They make classical banana bread with walnuts and chocolate chips. It arrives warm and freshly baked. “We at Masho Bakes provide desserts on order, meaning you will always get the freshest product using the best ingredients. When selecting a sweet snack, the most important thing is that it should be fresh as anyone can tell when a dessert is fresh or not,” expresses Khadija Imran, founder. She admits the biggest challenge has been competition. “To reach more people and letting them know about our products, while managing your time between your kitchen and a 2-year-old is always a struggle, which I’m gradually trying to get better at.”

CARAMELT @caramelt_in_your_mouth

In keeping with the demand for duo cakes, Caramelt has a dual chocolate and lotus milk cake. It’s light to taste and the two different options and dual look is very charming and makes it a fun dessert to eat as well as gift. Sadaf Salman, founder, proudly says, “My duo cake which is chocolate lotus half n half that’s my invention. It has a soft airy vanilla sponge with lotus & chocolate topping and delicious milk mixture.”

T. U. Dawood is CEO of 786 Investments Ltd., President of Dawood Global Foundation, and sits on the boards of Pakistan State Oil and Pakistan Refinery Ltd.

She is well known for entertaining at her beautiful home.