This baker’s sweets are especially close to my dessert-loving heart.
Roselyn Tiangco’s Banana Toffee Pie is my first love. Dessert love, that is. It’s the very first dessert that I tried I-don’t-even-remember-how-many-eons-ago, but it made such an impression on me that I kept ordering it and even included it in my 10 Best Desserts of 2005, a blog post some would say “… put Dessert Comes First on the map.” That piece also got me fired, but that’s a story I’ll never discuss publicly.
Kitchen’s Best (KB) is Roselyn’s baking business, an endeavor of hers and her two sisters, Bern and Martina. I’ve watched KB grow from a small home business into a popular patisserie and café along Pasong Tamo Extension, where I’m hard pressed to find a table during the lunch hour. They serve an exceptional Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic, my dish of choice there, and I’ve already written about their roast beef and cheesy fries. I’m very proud of how far they’ve come.
Roselyn is one of the few local bakers I know who’s dedicated to traditional French pastry. Her Concorde and Opera are outstanding but it’s her Plaisir Sucré, fittingly translated as “sweet pleasure” that is truly my sweet pleasure. It’s an invention of master French baker Pierre Hermé, and something I’ve enjoyed immensely at his cafés in Paris and Tokyo. Roselyn executes this dessert almost perfectly, no small feat since this sweet is a complex contrast of textures and flavors seamlessly intermingling: hazelnut, meringue, chocolate, ganache, chocolate crème chantilly (sweetened whipped cream), and praline. This dessert is one of my Top 10 All-Time Favorite Desserts.
There’s a funny story I tell sometimes about Kitchen’s Best White Chocolate Macadamia Brittle Cheesecake. A guy friend had been bemoaning what to get as his wife’s birthday cake. “She’s merciless Lori,” I remember him saying. “She’s nearly as picky as you when it comes to dessert. You’ve got to recommend something good or else she’ll blame me for ruining her birthday AND she’ll be irritable for a week!” I told him to get this cheesecake and though he balked at the P1,700++ price tag, he swallowed his pride and plunged on. Some days later, I get a call from him and he’s practically singing through the phone lines, describing in detail how his wife loved it and the million “pogi points” he’s racked up. I chuckle but truly, this is an astounding, blow-your-doors-off-good cheesecake. Creamy, slightly dense cake: check; crispy-salty brittle gilded with the buttery-ness of roasted macadamias: check. Solid satisfaction: check, check!
At the Anniversary Party, Roselyn is showcasing a pair of sansrivals: mango and ube. The latter is something quite new, and it’s got a charming moniker, Gateau Mon Pere or simply, Purple Yam Cake. Now, don’t go mistaking it as a purple misfit in a sea of creams and chocolates. Its hue only reminds you of its star ingredient, yam, imbuing an understated earthiness to the soft snappiness of the meringue and the reams of buttercream running through it.