Before I start telling you how everyone is destroying the sophistication of Mediterranean pastry art this year, I hope you are all enjoying a happy Ramadan so far! 🙂
We all love Kunafa with Nutella, right?! … Wrong! I don’t.
The first time this dessert appeared in Ramadan a few years back – after it’s famous predecessor ‘Kunafa with Mango’ – I knew that it was going to trend for all the wrong reasons.
While I believe that the skills of cooking and baking require an innate artistic sense and leave lots of room for creativity, I also believe that some of the best foods we eat today, have had the same recipes for hundreds of years. The reason behind that is; that our palates are very ‘smart’ and sensitive to the flavor compounds that create true harmonies in our mouths. Let’s face it we’ve been training these suckers to ‘taste’ two or three times a day, every day, for as long as we have been alive. Geographic location and culture tend to dictate most of what we perceive as ‘good flavor pairing’. If you mix five different ingredients, from five different continents, in one dish; then you could end up confusing your taste buds to a disastrous degree. Which explains why fusion cuisine is so highly appreciated in the culinary world. Not anyone can mix & match everything together.
While the discussion about flavor combination theories is extremely long-winded, it is not the point of this post… But rather, the – in my humble opinion – disgrace I see in Ramadan desserts this year.
Imagine.. I tell you that I will make you a dessert, that is basically made of: corn syrup, sugar, honey, jam and molten candy with caramel sauce on top. Not sure about you, but my teeth already hurt, as I typed that. Even if you love the individual components alone (or even paired with other ingredients which are not on this list), doesn’t mean that it’s a fantabulous idea to throw them all together in one pot!
There’s a reason why ‘Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice-Cream’ is on the top of every dessert menu.. There’s a reason why we spread Nutella on a slice of freshly baked white bread and think that we are in heaven.. There’s a reason why we dip strawberries in whipped cream and get sexually aroused..! (Oops.. Did I just say that out loud? Ok, maybe that’s just me) These classic combos are available all-year-round and they WORK! They have meaning, depth and history in each and every step of making them. And this doesn’t mean that they cannot be creatively twisted and adjusted to accommodate the popular local taste in any culture, but Kunafa with Nutella, Red Velvet cake, Maltesers, mango, marshmallows topped with cream, Baklava and chocolate sauce is just a cultural orgy of what we call in Egypt “عك”!*
Ditch the abominations and just try a good home-made Kunafa with Ricotta cheese or Basboosa with a dollop of fresh cream.. You can thank me later.
Apologies to any bakeries or pastry shops that use these ingredients in their combinations, I love you all and I love your stuff, but that’s just my opinion on the dessert trends of Ramadan 2015.