Defining Pastries in an Easy Way

I have recently discovered that not a lot of  people understand what pastries actually are; people just use it as a general term for any baked goods. Well, here at Amari , we love sharing our knowledge as much as we can to help all of you home-bakers out there, or for all those interested in all things baking ^_^. Here’s a very quick and easy definition of pastries.

What are pastries?

-Pastry is a name given to various kinds of baked products made from ingredients such as wheat flour, sugar, milk, butter, shortening, baking powder and/or eggs.

– Pastry may also refer to dough from which such baked products are made. Pastry dough is rolled out thinly and used as a base for baked products.

– Pastry is differentiated from bread by having a higher fat content, which contributes to the flaky or crumbly texture they are known for. A good pastry is light, airy and fluffy; but firm enough to support the weight of filling.

– Pastries are often difficult to make and require skill and dedication. Pastry chefs use a combination of culinary skill and creativity in baking, decorating and flavoring with ingredients. Presentation is also an important part of pastry and dessert preparation. This work requires a lot of time, focus and is often physically demanding. It requires attention to detail as well.

Pastry chefs are meticulous
Pastry chefs are meticulous

Main types of pastries
There are five main types of pastries:

1.) Short Crust Pastry

– Short crust is the simplest and most common pastry. It is made with flour, fat, salt and water. It is used mainly in tarts. It is also the pastry most used in making a quiche. (A quiche is a savory, open-faced pastry crust dish with a filling of cheese, meat and veggies.)

Quiche (Image:
Quiche (Image:

The process of making a short crust includes mixing of the fat and flour, adding water and rolling out the paste. Fat is mixed with flour first by mixing with fingers or a pastry blender, which inhibits gluten formation and results in a soft, tender pastry.
Examples of short crust pastry dough are; Fruit tarts and pies.

Fruit Tart
Dutch Apple Pie

2.) Flaky Pastry

It is a simple unleavened pastry that expands when cooked due to the number of layers.
The process of making flaky pastry includes mixing large lumps of shortening into the dough, then the dough is then rolled and folded. It results into a crisp, buttery, flaky pastry. It usually has a slight “puff” that is obtained by beginning the baking process with a high temperature and lowering the temperature to finish.
Examples of flaky pastry dough are; Turnovers and Sausage Rolls. Some pie bases also use a flaky pastry pie dough.

Cherry turnover_generalmills
Cherry Turnover (Image:

3.) Puff Pastry

Puff pastry has many layers that cause it to expand or “puff” when baked. These pastries are made using flour, butter, salt and water. Pastry rises up due to the combination and reaction of the four ingredients and also from the air that gets between the layers.
Puff pastries come out of the oven light, flaky and tender.
Examples of puff pastry dough are; Meat pies, Vol-au-vents, Palmiers and Strudel. Click here to get our Guide to Puff Pastry Recipe Booklet

Croissants are also a leavened version of Puff pastry; they are made in a similar way, though they also have yeast in their ingredients and instead of water – milk is used for a richer taste.

meat pies_cantcookwillcook
Meat pie (Image:
German Strudel

To get our recipe e-booklet on Puff Pastry, click here.
4.) Choux Pastry

– Very light pastry that’s often filled with cream. The pastry is filled with various flavors of cream and often topped with chocolate. A good example of choux pastry are eclairs.

Eclairs ^_^

– This pastry contains only butter, water, flour and eggs. For a raising agent it employs a high moisture content to create steam during baking to puff the pastry. Choux pastry is usually baked but for recipes like Beignets, it is fried (for all you Kenyans, you might recognize our version as ‘Mandazi’ ^_^).


– Choux pastry can also be filled with ingredients such as cheese, tuna or chicken to be used as an appetizer. This pastry is used to make profiteroles or cream puffs.

cream puffs
Cream puffs

5.) Phyllo (Filo) Pastry

This pastries are usually paper-thin and greatly stretched. They involve several stretched out layers and are wrapped around a filling and brushed with butter.
Phyllo pastry is made with flour, water and a small amount of oil or white vinegar; some recipes call for egg yellow though. These pastries are very delicate and can break easily. This unleavened pastry dough is mainly used for making pastries in middle Eastern cuisine. A lot of Greek cuisine recipes use the pastry dough with various fillings such as; cheese, chicken, vegetables, meat, nuts and syrup, potatoes, etc.

Phyllo pastry

My personal favorites are eclairs, so yummy ^_^!
Wherever you go, enjoy pastries to the utmost, they are works of art!

Do you have any personal favorite pastries that you like? Which ones? – Tell me below ^_^
If you would like to learn how to make Croissants and Puff Pastry; we have a 1-Day class where you can learn those products.

You can also contact 0701796688 to inquire or e-mail:

20 Baking Terminologies explained

We love sharing recipes with you so you can enjoy baking at home as much as we do ^_^.

We’ve decided to define some baking terminologies that may be used and not well understood by some. Hope this helps you and makes baking recipes much more easier and baking fun like it should be.


Incorporation of air and/or gas in bakery products by mixing, beating or whisking. Gas is introduced by baking powder or yeast.

2.) Batch
One mixing of bread or cakes.

3.) Batter
A soft completed cake or quick bread mixture.


4.) Beat
The aeration of fat, sugar, eggs and other materials.

5.) Body
Firmness and response of the crumb or dough to pressure.

6.) Egg Wash
Eggs beaten and brushed on bakery products before baking.

7.) Coat
 To cover a cake with icing, cream, glaze or egg wash.

8.) Consistency
The “feel” of dough or batter.

9.) Crumb
All the bread loaf or cake except the crust. The ‘inside’ of the cake or bread.
10.) Crust
That part of the outside of the bread or cake that is dehydrated and caramelized during baking. It’s usually the outer brown part. 

11.) Curdle
A mixture (cake batter or other), which has separated and has lost its smooth consistency.

Curdling batter

A raw completed yeast or pastry mixture.

13.) Dust
To sprinkle flour e.g. on the table-top to prevent dough from sticking or on a greased pan to avoid cake sticking. This can also apply to icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar on a cake.

14.) Essences
Aromatic food compounds used for flavoring confectionery(cakes, breads or icings) e.g. Vanilla essence, Strawberry essence, etc.

15.) Glaze
– to egg wash before baking.
to brush with highly boiled fruit puree.
– to wash with sugar solution after baking e.g. lemon drizzle glaze.

16.) Gluten
Insoluble wheat protein found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it keep its shape and giving the final product a chewy texture.

17.) Icing/Frosting
The coating and decoration of a cake with prepared butter cream icing or frosting.

Frosting/Icing a cake

 The decoration on the edge of a short bread, pastry etc.

19.) Snow
Well-beaten egg whites.

snowy beaten egg whites

20.) Yield
The calculated units from the total baked weight of a particular formula e.g. 1 Kg of cake or 400gms Bread.

Have you read any terminologies in baking recipes that have stumped you? Let us know we will see if we can help ^_^

We are officially open!

Hi to everyone, I am so proud to announce that our bakery is officially open! Thanks for everyone who has supported and encouraged me while I was in the process of starting this venture and I hope you all continue supporting me. We will work very hard to serve all my Nairobi customers and I will keep everyone updated on any specials! Stay with us and we will grow together, thank you very much ^_^!!

6 Reasons why you should check out our Pinterest Page

We officially have a Pinterest page and we would like you to check it out.

If you already have a Pinterest page, you can just log in, find us and start following us ^_^!! If you don’t have a pinterest page, let me first tell you that you’re really missing out; on what you ask?

Well, Pinterest is a visual social network, that’s amazing for bakers to get inspiration. It is an online pinboard where you organize and share all the pictures of things you love. It is easy to join, just go to and sign up for an account. You can also download the app on your phone and start using it.

Here are reasons why you should follow us:

1. We love fruits! They inspire us, and we’re not afraid to show you.
We love to share our inspiration for our wonderful creations such as the banana bread and we want to share it with you.

2. We love Nairobi and our country as a whole.
 We want to share parts of our country that we love and would love to visit. You can give us suggestions as well, of places you’ve been to or would like to go.

3. We love our customers ^_^!
We love to share pictures of our customers, they are the reason we wake up every day. We would love to build up our board with more pictures, so support us; buy our products and we will appreciate you always.

4. Wonderful Quotes.
We all need inspiration to keep us going every day, we have some of our fav quotes here. If you love them, you can repin them onto your boards.

5. Products that compliment our breads.
Our breads can be eaten plain or if you would like, you can add some condiments on them. We are willing to share some we have tried and loved!

6. We love to share our products with  you!
We love to share pictures of our wonderful breads. Here you can check out how the best banana bread in Nairobi looks like ^_^!

So make sure you check us out on Pinterest and follow us!

Do you have a Pinterest page? If you do let us know and we’ll check you out and follow you. ^_^

10 Benefits of our three favorite fruits-Bananas, Oranges and Lemons!

Ripe bananas
This wonderfully sweet and delicious fruit is our main inspiration in our banana bread recipe and brown banana bread.  We’ve discovered that this sweet fruit has many benefits when you eat it, here are a few:
1.) Improve your mood
– Tryptophan acids are present in bananas and these help in reducing depression and help improve your mood.
– Studies also show that bananas are also helpful in reducing stress levels.
2.) Regulate the Bowel System
– If you’re suffering from constipation, a banana a day will definitely help. Bananas are rich in fibre.
3.) Reduce risk of heart disease and blood pressure
– Bananas are rich in potassium, which is vital for muscle contraction and proper function of the heart and nervous system.
A happy healthy heart is important!
– We each require just 4gms of Potassium per day. You get it by eating one banana a day. Try our banana bread recipe which has two bananas in each loaf ^_^!
4.)Reduce itching of mosquito bites

– Instead of using creams to reduce itching and swelling from mosquito bites,use banana peels.
– Rub the itchy and swelling area with the inside of a banana peel and see how soon you will get relief.
Imported Orange
This tangy and colorful fruits inspired our original orange bread when we first started our online bakery. Oranges also have great benefits such as:
5.) Help lower blood pressure and cholesterol
Oranges have been discovered to have 170 phytonutrients and over 60 so called citrus flavonoids. These agents have been linked to effectively lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well as being an excellent anti-inflammatory.
6.) Good for digestive breakdown
– Oranges are also helpful if you’re constipated. The dietary fibre in oranges helps in loosening your bowel system.
It is recommended to take in 25-35gms of fibre daily. Eating the flesh or rind of an orange is good for your diet as it contains 3.1gms of fibre.^_^
7.) Beauty Benefits
– Oranges can be helpful in other ways other than ingesting them. You can use them at home in other ways such as:
 * Orange peels can kindle your fire.
 * Orange peels are useful as exfoliating face scrubs.
 * Rubbing fresh orange peel can also repel mosquitoes.
This citrus and refreshing fruit inspire many delicious lemon breads and cakes. Here are their benefits:
8.) Powerful anti-bacterial
– Lemon juice has been proven through experiments that the bacteria of malaria, cholera and typhoid have been destroyed in lemon juice.
9.) Body Cleanser
–  Cleanse your body with lemon juice mixed with cold water and honey taken on an empty stomach early in the morning. Warm water may be used occasionally to get relief of constipation as well.
10.) Fights Fatigue
Adding lemon juice to ordinary drinking water will quench thirst more effectively. Experienced travelers declare that when they do so, lemons act as an anti-septic and prevents illness due to allergy to different water supplies.
– Long distance travelers and hikers use lemons when fatigue sets in, they suck on lemon juice by piercing the top of the fruit with a straw. It gives them a quick acting medicine and a lovely refreshment.
– Lemon oil is also able to stimulate brain activity, you can drink a glass of lemon water every few hours to stay alert and refreshed.
However you consume your fruits; whether it’s plain, in a smoothie or in a quick bread , enjoy them and eat them in plenty, they’re healthy for you ^_^. What kind of fruits do you like and how do you eat them?

Taking Banana Bread in Nairobi to the next level!

I know that I’ve been silent for a short while, I’ve actually been busy running up and down, putting some business in order. I’m glad to announce that I’ve decided to finally start the bakery I’ve been dreaming about since last year. The beginning of this year I found a great partner, my wonderful sister, and we’ve been working on the logistics since then. We officially registered our business two weeks ago and have been setting up the bakery in Nairobi.
It’s going to be a “cottage industry” for the time being, that meaning that we will operate from home and we will distribute the baked goods to our wonderful customers ^_^!!The only part we’re left with now is finding our small bakery team, training them until we open on March 15th, 2012.
I will make sure I keep updating everyone on the progress and any upcoming offers. I thank you for your support and ask you to keep supporting us in this wonderful journey in becoming the best bakery in Nairobi and I’m very delighted to share with all of you my love of banana bread and all things quick breads! Check out my new website and if anyone has any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact us. Thank you ^_^!!

7 Easy steps to fluffy Orange-flavored Pancakes.

Surprisingly, pancakes are also a kind of quick bread, hence the name pan-cakes. Once in a while I’ll wake up in the morning and just feel like having some pancakes. I especially love orange flavored fluffy pancakes. Here’s my recipe:

– 2/3 cup Milk
– 2 Tablespoons Sugar
– 1 cup Self-Rising Wheat flour
– 1 Egg
– 1/8 cup Margarine or Butter
– 1 Orange (Medium-sized)
– Orange rind
– Extra vegetable oil for pan.


1.) Combine flour and sugar in a separate bowl and set aside.
2.) Wash the orange and grate it for the rind and set aside in a plate. Then squeeze the orange for juice and set aside in a cup.
3.) Whisk the egg and margarine/butter in a large mixing bowl and then add the milk and orange juice; whisk until well blended.
4.) Slowly pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients as you whisk until there are no lumps in the batter. Add the rind and slowly fold until thoroughly blended.
5.) Heat a frying pan with some vegetable oil on medium heat.
6.) Pour not more than 3 spoonfuls of batter onto the pan and cook until bubbles appear on the surface.

bubbles on pancakes

Flip with a spatula, add a small amount of vegetable oil and cook until brown on either side.

7.) You can serve your fluffy delicious pancakes on a plate.


*If you don’t have self-rising flour; add 1/4 teaspoon of Baking powder.

If you don’t particularly want the orange flavor, you can make the pancake recipe above an omit the orange juice and rind. You can flavor with 1 teaspoon of Vanilla essence

  • Other variations of this recipe; you can add 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to make Chocolate chip pancakes – just fold them in at the end after your batter is ready.

    Choc Chip Pancake Recipe Pictorial
    Chocolate Chip Pancake variation

Serve with butter & syrup or top with fruits like ripe bananas or strawberries. How do you like to eat your pancakes?

5 Quick Trouble-shooting tips while baking @ home

The other day while I was baking my lovely pink Valentine’s Pound Cake, I only got it right the second time.

I say the second time because the first time, half-way through my baking, I smelled burning and when I checked, my batter was boiling over like porridge, it was quite disturbing! Sometimes, even for a seasoned baker, baking doesn’t go very well or as planned. I’ve put together a few trouble-shooting tips to help you avoid a situation like mine, or if you have a situation like mine, how to figure out what happened. ^_^


Overflowing batter. (courtesy of

This is what happened to my batter. Possible causes are:

Excess baking powder or baking soda was used in the recipe. The solution to this would be to make sure the correct amount of raising agent is used as stated in the recipe. Also, if the recipe calls for self-rising flour, do not use any other raising agents in the recipe since the flour already contains them; or if using; use small quantities.

– Using a baking pan that is too small. The solution to this would be to use the correct baking pan stated in the recipe. If it’s a 9″ Round pan, make sure you use the same as stipulated or a different shape but still an equivalent size.


Cake sinking. (courtesy of

– Batter was over mixed. It is very important in every recipe, to mix the batter as instructed, not more – not less.

Cake removed from the oven too soon can also cause sinking. The solution is to make sure you follow the correct baking times and when in doubt, just insert a tooth pick in the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, remove from the oven.

Opening the oven door during baking. Make sure while you’re baking, you don’t peek, especially during the first 15 to 20 minutes of baking time.


Oven too hot at the beginning of baking. Make sure you preheat your oven to the right temperature. Also if you can, purchase an oven thermometer for accurate measurement of the oven temperature.

Too much baking powder or baking soda. Make sure you use the correct measurements of raising agent as stated in the recipe.


– This happens if the pan is not sufficiently greased and floured. Make sure you always grease and flour the baking pan before use. You can also grease the pan and then put parchment/grease-proof paper before pouring in the batter as well.

– If the cake is turned out of the pan immediately after baking, it sticks to the side of the pan and will leave parts of it in the pan.This can be avoided if after baking, allow the cake to cool for at least 5 minutes in the pan before removing it.

Cake cooled too long in the pan. To make sure cake doesn’t stick to the baking pan, make sure after you cool the cake in the pan for at least 5 minutes; remove it and place the cake on a cooling rack.


Too much flour was used. Make sure you measure the flour appropriately with a measuring cup and follow recipe measurements of flour accurately.

Not enough liquid in the batter. To solve this problem, make sure you follow the recipe accurately and check to make sure you have the correct batter consistency for your cake recipe.

This tips will help you avoid disastrous situations while baking. Enjoy your home baking ^_^!

5 Easy steps to a Valentine’s day Pound cake

On this one day, Valentine’s Day, everyone is allowed to indulge their sweet tooth to the utmost.

My way of doing so this year, is by baking one of my favorite cakes, a pound cake, and decorating it pink ^_^ Here’s my recipe, enjoy:

My Pretty Valentine’s Cake

Valentine’s Day Pound Cake

 – 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
– 1/2 cup Sugar
– 2 Eggs (beaten)
– 2 cups Self Rising Flour
– 1/8 teaspoon Salt
– 1/2 cup Milk
– 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence


1.) Preheat oven to 350°F/ 180°C. Grease and flour a round 6 inch cake pan and set aside.

2.) In a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until white (about 3-5 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla, beat until well incorporated.
3.) Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl (flour and salt). Fold the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, until your batter is of a drop consistency.
4.) Pour into the cake pan and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until skewer or clean knife inserted in the center of cake comes out clean.
5.) Remove pan from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes, remove cake from pan and let it cool on a wire rack. Cool completely and then* frost the cake. Enjoy!

P/S: You can also use margarine instead of un-salted butter; if you do, don’t use salt.

 * Use the link to make frosting for the cake and add the color of your choice for your frosting. Use liquid pink food color, at least 1/2 teaspoon.

Valentine’s Day Pound cake


15 Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your loved ones


‘Tis the season for love and everyone is busy planning for Valentine’s day, whether it is for that special someone in your life, or just a special friend or family member.

'Tis the season of love
‘Tis the season of love

Most of us may be wondering what kind of gift to get our loved ones for that special day. Gift buying can be confusing at times, so I’ve put together a few ideas that are both helpful and budget-friendly to guide you in your gift-buying endeavor.So whether it’s this weekend or on the actual Valentine’s day, use these ideas to help you have a no-stress Valentine’s gift giving day ^_^


1. Beauty Gift Bag

This is an especially good idea if you want that special lady to know how thoughtful you are. Some supermarkets are offering gift bags for beauty products for ladies. You can choose from a variety of products for her.

Eco-friendly beauty gift bag

It would be even better if you have an idea what that special lady’s favorite scent is e.g. vanilla, apple or citrus. Then choose the products with that in mind. If you’re a creative person, you can go the extra mile by assembling a gift bag yourself. You only need to purchase an empty gift bag and tissue paper or crepe paper,then purchase some beauty products you would like to gift, for example; a body wash with a matching lotion and a scented candle. Then assemble the gifts into the bag and voila! you have a custom-made beauty gift bag.

2. Spa Gift Voucher

Ladies love spas, they love to be pampered and taken care of. Another perfect gift to give that special lady in your life is a spa gift voucher. It gives her a chance to take a day off and relax, all thanks to you ^_^! If you know of a great spa near her, visit and ask them if they give gift vouchers, they’ll be sure to assist you.

Spas are great for relaxing
Spas are great for relaxing
3. Pastry Gift Baskets
If that special lady has a “sweet tooth” like some of us do, you can treat her to a gift basket of her favorite pastry or pastries. Many bakeries, especially here in Nairobi, offer gift hampers/baskets with select baked products for special occasions, get her one and she’ll definitely appreciate it. You can try out an Amari Chiffon Cake as a gift as well. 
Chiffon cakes by Amari make for delici ous gifts ^_^
4. Jewelry
We’ve all heard the saying, “A diamond is a girl’s best friend.” There’s truth to that.You may not be able to get that special lady a diamond (and if you can, please do ^_^), but these days there are many other options for jewelry types. If you know her preference, you can buy her a set of a necklace and earrings, or bracelet and earrings as a gift. Varieties include; gold, silver, beads and crystals. Make sure you have it wrapped in a presentable box for her and she will truly appreciate it.
Beaded bracelet and earring set
Gold jewelry

5. Flowers, Chocolates and Dinner

If you want to keep it simple and classic, treat that special lady to dinner and present her with flowers and chocolates. Most ladies love flowers and chocolates; who can resist a wonderful candlelit dinner? It’s sure to please her.

Chocolates and Flowers - you can never go wrong
Chocolates and Flowers – you can never go wrong
Romantic dinner for two


6. Watch

For that special man in your life who has great taste in accessories, a good quality watch would be a great present. Make sure you get a watch that suits his style and makes a statement about his personality. He will appreciate it and keep it close to him, (literally, on his wrist).

If you can, get  Rolex, or get an idea of a style to get.

7. Beer Mug Set

If your special man loves hanging with the guys on some weekends, hosting a barbeque while enjoying some beer, this is a great gift for him. Get him a nice set of beer mugs he can use and they’ll always have a special meaning for him.

8. DVD Gift Set

If your special man loves watching movies, this is a great gift for him. Get a collection of DVDs from  his favorite genre, e.g. Action, Sports, Wrestling or Documentaries and wrap them up for him. He will appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into his gift.

Sports DVD Gift set

9. Apparel Accessories

If that special man in your life is stylish and loves his accessories, gift him with some that will make sure he always thinks of you. Cuff links, a nice tie and a leather wallet are great gifts to get him to show your appreciation of him. Make sure the cuff links and the tie match and the wallet is genuine leather.

Green cufflinks
Green silk tie
Leather wallet

10. Swiss Army Knife

For that special man in your life who is a handy-man in the house and has lots of tools. Get him a Swiss Army Knife, he will appreciate this multifunctional tool.

Swiss Army Knife
Swiss Army Knife


11. Box of Chocoloates

A gentleman who has good taste can enjoy a box of chocolates as well as any woman can. It is a classic and simple gift that will always be appreciated.

Box of chocolates

12. Fruit Baskets

An all-around healthy gift that anyone will appreciate.

13. Wine

If that special someone enjoys a good glass of wine, gift him or her with a quality wine for Valentine’s day.

Anyone who likes wine will appreciate the gift
Anyone who likes wine will appreciate the gift

14. Quality Stemware

For that special someone who enjoys a good glass of wine and has a fully stocked bar ^_^! You can add them some stem ware to compliment the wine.

Quality stem-ware is always appreciated
Quality stem-ware is always appreciated

15. Gift Vouchers

This is a simple and safe gift that anyone will always appreciate. It is hassle-free and guaranteed to always be appreciated. Just choose a favorite supermarket, specialty store, barber shop, salon or even a butchery of that special someone’s choice and get him or her a gift voucher.


Whatever your plans are for this Valentine’s Day are, enjoy yourself and make sure you let all your loved ones know how special they are too you ^_^

How are you planning on enjoying this Valentine’s Day?