x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Obama Pie: add rice pudding, bananas, coffee and chocolate

A Mumbai pastry chef makes a 44-ingredient pie for Barack Obama based on the 44th US president's eclectic and exotic upbringing.

Chef Moshe Shek with the 'Obama Pie' at  Moshe's Cafe in Mumbai.
Chef Moshe Shek with the 'Obama Pie' at Moshe's Cafe in Mumbai.

MUMBAI // The ingredients for the O'Barry pie are as eclectic as the background of the man who inspired its recipe.

When Moshe Shek was asked to create a treat for US president Barack Obama, he knew he had to come up with something special.

Based on Mr Obama's multicultural upbringing, the Indian chef settled on layering his pie using 44 ingredients to commemorate the 44th US president.

Mr Shek, 42, was one of three pastry chefs from Mumbai asked to commemorate the American leader's first visit to the city with a masterpiece that reflected a hodgepodge of ideas: Mumbai, the US and Mr Obama.

"His background is very eclectic and so this pie was based on that," Mr Shek said.

He started with the pastry crust typical of an American pie.

"That was simple," he said. "That's his base. He is an American."

From there, Mr Moshe created the rest of the pie that is as unique as its name: O'Barry Pie, a moniker based on the president's childhood nickname Barry.

The chef added rice pudding as the next layer, as a tribute to the time Mr Obama spent in Indonesia. Then he layered it with bananas, coconut and pineapple, as a homage to Mr Obama's native Hawaii. He finally topped it off with chocolate and coffee from Kenya, the country of the president's paternal roots.

"I made it only once and that's it," he said. "It came out well."

Mr Moshe, born in Mumbai, is a self-confessed "Mumbaiker", a citizen of the city, who left on a scholarship to study baking and pastry making at the prestigious Richemont school in Switzerland, followed by a stint with the Langham Hilton Hotel in London.

He returned to Mumbai in 2001 to open a restaurant and club called Athena. In 2002, he opened another restaurant called Basilico.

"It was the first chef-owned restaurant in Mumbai," he said.

He now owns three cafes and two restaurants in the city that serve a combination of Indian delights, such as Patlican lamb kebabs with slices of aubergine topped with croquettes, with freshly baked bread, and drinks such as melonade, a mix of melon and mint.

On Saturday, the O'Barry pie was sold out in his cafes and restaurants, but Mr Shek will never find out if Mr Obama tried a slice. "Because of security concerns, I have no idea when or how it was served to him," he said. "Or even if he had a bite."

 

sbhattacharya@thenational.ae