Kainaz Messman of Mumbai-based patisserie Theobroma started a brownie revolution more than a decade ago. We caught up with the her to hear her fondest Christmas memories and her indulgent French Toast recipe.
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If you look up the Top 10 dessert places in Mumbai, Theobroma Patisserie would definitely top the list. Kainaz Messman is the baker extraordinaire who started a brownie revolution with her patisserie, Theobroma, more than a decade ago. We caught up with the busy baker-cum-businesswoman to share some of her fondest Christmas memories. The force behind Theobroma also earned extra brownie points by sharing her indulgent French Toast recipe with us.

When Kainaz Messman was growing up…

Christmas meals in her family would go on for hours because they would start early and then basically go on eating well into the evening. The end of the meal always called for desserts and the Messman family was always able to stuff in another plateful without any trouble. It was a Christmas miracle! They would take a break from eating every now and then, but it was essentially an all-day feast with food and wine.

Theobroma's founder spent many of her Christmas holidays in Nagpur where her grandparents lived. She would have guava cheese, jam tarts, cheese straws and oranges (sacks full of them) from the local Jubilee Bakery and the local markets. They were simple treats, but Theobroma's progenitor has lots of happy memories associated with these foods.

Kainaz Messman’s Christmas

Messman says, “When it comes to celebrating Christmas, abundance is a pre-requisite. It is the official day of gluttony and we make the most of it. The kids look forward to opening their presents and we make everyone’s favourite foods for a hearty feast.”

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Stollen is her absolute favourite Christmas indulgence to eat all month long. It is Messman's favourite breakfast, favourite snack and favourite pick-me-up. The heart and soul behind Theobroma, Messman bakes it only in December makes it precious too.

Her patisserie, Theobroma, also celebrates Christmas with a special Theobroma menu that boasts of traditional cakes, tarts, gingerbread cookies, jujubes, marshmallows, Christmas pudding, Christmas brownies and of course-Stollen.

What’s Cooking?

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Theobroma owner's home is filled with food and treats for an all-day gluttonous affair. Messman adds, “We have French Toast for breakfast on Christmas Day. It is not traditional, but it is something we do at home. Christmas lunch is always a little later than normal, so it helps to have a big and indulgent breakfast to keep us going.”

We pleaded with her to share her French Toast recipe. Here’s what Theobroma founder shared:
“I don't make French Toast to a recipe. This is what I do:
Step 1 - I start by making a milk bath (whole milk, eggs sugar, cinnamon powder and vanilla extract).
Step 2 - I soak stale white bread or croissants or brioche in the milk bath. Any bread but it must be stale and white.
Step 3 - I fry the custard-soaked bread in a mixture of butter and vegetable oil till crisp on the outside but moist inside.
Step 4 - I dust the French Toast with icing sugar and serve it with crispy bacon, maple syrup and caramelised bananas.”

Voila! Now you know how to make a Theobroma-level French Toast.

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