The Maker – offering eye-candy temptations of sweet treats and pastries
The Maker, located along upper Beach Street in George Town, first opened its doors to the public in March 2020. It offers fabulous-looking desserts and pastries from shortcakes to croissants and from tarts to breads. It is a heaven for those who relish sweet treats. There is a display glass counter that flaunts lovely beauties unapologetically. Let us dive in and take a closer look at some of The Maker's popular desserts.
The gorgeous Mango Temptation, an almond tart shell, is filled with almond cream, topped with homemade mango jam, vanilla cream and fresh mango, thinly sliced and beautifully arranged into a flower. This is one of my favourite treats to order.
The Strawberry Temptation is also a tart, this time filled with almond cream, topped with homemade strawberry jam, vanilla cream and fresh strawberries. Yet another tart to consider is the Pecan Tart, filled with chantilly cream, almond dacquoise and pecan nuts, sweetened with a brown sugar syrup.
If you desire a sugar rush, opt for the pretty pavlova. It is made of a meringue topped with chantilly cream and fresh fruits. Although Chantilly cream is like whipped cream, it has about twice as much sugar in it (some recipes even call for more!). This would render the offering so much sweeter in taste.
If you love something zesty, opt for the lemon meringue. Here, the tart shell is filled with a refreshing lemon curd, topped with Italian meringue knobs and decorated with a white chocolate ring.
What is an Italian meringue? Well, unlike conventional meringue that requires baking, the Italian meringue does not. This is because a hot sugar syrup is whipped into the foamy egg whites, making it the most stable of the meringues. It is also safe for consumption without additional baking.
Now let us ogle over some of The Maker's decadent cakes.
A sponge cake tends to have a mild taste and a light fluffy texture, ideal to be accessorised to the nines with flavourings, fillings and toppings, transforming it into glamorous gateau. A good example is the scrumptious Mango Shortcake made with two Japanese sponge cake slices; they are brushed with homemade mango jam and sandwiched fresh mango pieces and Chantilly cream. It is further generously topped with fresh mango cubes. On the other hand, the Strawberry Shortcake on the other hand uses strawberries instead of mangoes. Both are equally scrumptious if you enjoy cream and the refreshing taste of fruits.
Do you know that the above strawberry shortcake is very different from its original version? The earliest known "shortcake" recipe was listed in the anonymous Elizabethan cookbook, The Good Huswifes Handmaid for Cookerie in her Kitchen (London, 1588). The word "short" in "shortcake" does not refer to stature. When referring to pastry back in those days, “short” was akin to "crumbly". Adding a large amount of fat (hence shortening) to the pastry inhibits gluten from forming in the dough, resulting in a desired crumbly texture. Probably the closest thing to the original strawberry "shortcake" would be strawberries over biscuits.
Trivia of the day: Strawberry Shortcake Day is celebrated on 14 June in some parts of the United States.
Back to more scrumptious offerings at The Maker. Three desserts specially designed for chocolate lovers – they are rich and divine. The salted Caramel Bania is a sinfully-delicious dessert consisting of decadent layers – chocolate cake, praline feuilletine, caramelised banana infused with dark rum, creamy chocolate mousse and salted caramel – all stacked into one. The chocolate mousse is made with Guanaja, the iconic dark chocolate from Valrhona, a French premium chocolate manufacturer. Gatotriole is another chocolate-indulgent treat – a dark chocolate cake layered with a white chocolate matcha mousse and cream.
Another option to consider is Caffe, a 55 percent chocolate cake topped with a sweet chocolate ganache, caffe whipped ganache, Caraïbe chocolate whipped ganache and toasted walnuts.
The Maker's Burnt Cheesecake is burnt, cracked and cooked at high heat. Simply put, its dramatic appearance does not justify its pleasurable toasty, cheesy and creamy flavours. Order a slice and enjoy it with a cup of your favourite brew.
Freshly-baked croissants to consider here include plain, chocolate almond, cream cheese crumble and strawberry (custard-filled). For a more Asian twist, try the seaweed Katsuobushi (topped with bonito flakes) or the charcoal sesame croissant (filled with a sesame seed custard).
On weekends, scones and cruffins are available as well. With so much to consider, take your time and select cakes and pastries that call out to you. Enjoy them with freshly brewed hot or cold coffee or tea. Put down your phones and cameras once you have taken enough instagrammable-worthy shots. Allow their flavours and textures to dance in your mouth, titillating your taste buds. Record to memory and savour the sweet moment slowly. Simple pleasures in life such as these are indeed priceless.
The pastry chef Mr Yeoh Kean Loon and his team take great care in crafting beautiful offerings at The Maker. Mr Yeoh, having attended a pastry course in Australia, is passionate about his creations. Using quality ingredients, some imported, he pushes the boundaries of creativity. Even the croissants he makes have to rise to a desired shape. I love his attention to details and skill in balancing flavours.
The pastries arriving at your table will be heated up. For takeaways, you can also request that the pastries be heated if you are going to eat them soon. The specially-designed takeaway box has a perforated slit to allow hot air to vent. Even a "pastry care guide" card is provided along with your takeaway, detailing preheating and storage methods. This goes to show how much thought Mr Yeoh puts into delivering great taste and good service.
The Maker also supplies pastries and cakes to some local cafes. It is easily located along the one-way road at upper Beach Street (on your right), a stone’s throw away before The Book Sandwich Cafe.
PS: Some of the cakes and tarts can be scaled up for parties and celebrations. A 3-day prior notice is required. For more information, contact The Maker.
No. 243, Lebuh Pantai, 10300, George Town, Penang.
Open: 12–7 pm on weekdays, 12– 10 pm on weekends. Closed on Mondays.
T: +6016-214 3243
Written and photographed by Adrian Cheah
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26 March 2022