Dessert Comes First

An obsession with dessert and other unabashed opinions of a food writer

Magnum White King
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Christmas Gift List Purveyor #5: Millet Soberano of Bean & Baker

posted by in Food Purveyors, Home Bakers, Pasig/Ortigas

Millet Soberano is a culinary magician who makes magical things with chocolate.

They stare up at me like seashells floating on a plate of white. Brown, like the color of chocolate smoke and as deeply aromatic. They’re called madeleines, individual scallop shells of sponge cake that are “…so strictly pleated outside and so sensual inside,” French novelist Marcel Proust once said.

A madeleine missing its partner.

Millet has made two Chocolate Madeleines that form a solid seashell sandwiching a dark chocolate filling. I guess I could nibble around the edges but I prefer my take my desserts head-on so I open my mouth wide; this is a madeleine for the macho.

Swarthy with a crackly bottom, it’s like eating a moist block of brownie. It bursts and bangs with chocolate flavor binding with its silky chocolate filling, a counterpoint to the richness of its exterior.

Millet, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has long maintained a commissary called Divine Desserts that supplies several establishments. But it’s at her year-old bakery-café, Bean & Baker, where her culinary imaginings take flight. She takes pride in putting a spin on her sweets which she calls, “Making them my own” by utilizing flavors that are both bold and familiar.

Consider what she calls her Ground Coffee Cake. “You would think that this cake has ground coffee in it,” Millet muses, as though she’s about to share a secret with me. Majestic on its silver cake stand, the cake is coated with a crushed walnut streusel mixed with a smattering of chocolate cake crumbs, its top a lattice of chocolate piping. When sliced into, the secret reveals itself. First, there are two types of filling – lightly whipped cream infused with coffee, the other a billowy coffee cream – that separate the double layers of chocolate chiffon cake. Discrete components all, but when eaten together resonate in dreamy harmony. Coffee and chocolate meld and mingle, never one overshadowing the other, then the occasional interruption from the walnut streusel and the cake crumbs that trick me into thinking they’re ground coffee grains. The cream binds it all together, fluffy little tufts of satisfaction. Mmm.

The second cake that Millet has made for the Dessert Comes First Christmas Gift List is something she calls Chunky Chocolate Reese, her take on a deconstructed peanut butter cup.

The first flavor that hits me is the roasted flavor of the peanuts. Smoky and nutty, its edges are rounded out with overlapping notes of butter and vanilla … and something else. Millet is a master at incorporating what I call that “touch of mystery” to all her creations, that unknown individual ingredient that makes me say, “More.” Here, it’s shattered almonds accompanying the peanuts in this butter brittle, a dramatic studded overlay for this sweet. The cake itself is chocolate-charged and softly seductive gilded in a thickly-textured chocolate icing. I have this strange urge to press my face into it and inhale like a (chocolate) addict.

~~

Bean & Baker
SM Hypermarket, Tiendesitas, Pasig
(02) 913 9875 / (02) 439 3069

13 Responses to “Christmas Gift List Purveyor #5: Millet Soberano of Bean & Baker”

  • That Chunky Chocolate Reese is so enticing. 9 days to go before I get my hands on those tickets. *fingers crossed*

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  • Lori, Millet picked me up for a get together in Alabang. When I hopped inside her car, she quickly handed me the Madeleines sans the chocolate filling. I tried one, was so mesmerized. I tried a second one. After that, I decided to stop. Well, guess what? When I went home that evening, I demolished the rest that were in the box. The calories do not count when no one is watching….. :) I can only imagine what the 2 Madeleines with chocolate filling taste like!!! Perhaps, even more heavenly. :)

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    Lori Reply:

    Calories truly don’t count when no one’s watching. The madeleine on its own was wonderful but with the filling, wow.

    –lori

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  • The ground coffee cake tantalizes.

    I have been mentally calculation just how much money I need to buy all that I want. Good lord.

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    Aina L. Reply:

    *calculating

    Jayzus, I was so distracted by the images and description of the cakes that my grammar just flew out the window.

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    Lori Reply:

    This is hilarious, Aina L. Your first grammatically-incorrect comment (below) had me wondering if you’d gone into a food coma at your keyboard. :p

    –lori

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  • Hope these cakes come out or get to be sold in B&B Hypermart or at Divine Desserts.

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  • It’s great to finally put a name to a long-time favorite, Divine Desserts! I’m such a fan of their cheesecake. Though I would have liked to taste yours, Lori :)

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    Lori Reply:

    Thanks, Sharry! Have you tried this recipe of mine? It’s close to what I used to sell when I had my cheesecake business.

    –lori

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    Sharry Reply:

    I have that recipe bookmarked :) Will let you know how it goes!

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  • Okay, enough ranting (refer to my comments on the controversy). Now on to something MUCH more pleasant… ;-)

    One of the (many) reasons that I know God loves me is that Millet has been my friend since we were in 5th grade, so I grew up eating her baked treats! :-D Even as a teenager, she was already famous among her classmates for her giant chocolate chip cookies, and they’re still one of my favorites. I can vouch for her passion for baking (and cooking) the most delectable food, because she puts the same care into the food she sells as the food she serves at her home to her family, or to her guests — which I am extremely fortunate to sometimes be. I am thrilled you’re featuring her, and I’m very excited to try her new confections at your event, Lori! :-)

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  • Manila is a haven for sweet freaks. That in itself could be a tourist attraction. All these purveyors should have their own brochures at the airport. A madeleine with a chocolate filling is just pure genius!

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    Lori Reply:

    Dessert tourism? Sounds like an excellent idea!
    –lori

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