Mani Niall, dubbed Baker to the Stars by Eating Well magazine in 1992, owned and operated a very successful bakery with a 20 year run. As the founder of Manis Bakery in Los Angeles in 1989, Niall created and refined a style of baking which has never been repeated in a retail bakery format.
He learned his craft alongside Chef Akasha Richmond (of Los Angeles celebrated Akasha restaurant), at the Golden Temple, a classic old school vegetarian restaurant. They revamped the restaurant, making a name for themselves as innovative chefs and attracting an eclectic Hollywood clientele. Michael Jackson, a restaurant regular while he was recording Thriller in a nearby studio, whisked Niall off to become his first private chef.
After several years as a private chef and caterer, Niall noticed a lack of great baked goods within the natural and organic foods sphere. Most places were devoted to one culinary idea, such as whole grain, low fat or vegan. Niall decided first and foremost he would open a great bakery with an all-inclusive menu celebrating good food
no matter what your dietary choices you would find something in the bakery case. With this credo he opened Manis Bakery, an organic, artisan venture located on Fairfax in Los Angeles. The bakery has been profiled in Food & Wine, Details, LA Times, the Hollywood Reporter, People, Vogue, Pastry Arts, Shape, Elle, Longevity and Vegetarian Times.
Since then he has written three cookbooks, which reveal the world of baking with natural and organic ingredients - Sweet & Natural Baking (the Manis Bakery cookbook), Covered in Honey (exploring the world of varietal honeys) and Sweet! (discovering how to bake with sugars from around the globe). The fourth cookbook, Good Morning Baking, is on the way spring 2013.
Niall built a gingerbread country estate for a San Francisco Millennium party, developed heirloom tomato pasta sauces and vegetarian entrees for food manufacturers and is on the chef panel at the Center for Culinary Development. Mani's newest venture, Sweet Bar Bakery is located in Oakland, California. His deliciously sweet bakery is located in the former home of Historic MacFarlanes Candy and Ice Cream and serves up unique and artisan pastries.
Apple Honey Tart
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Peel and core the apples.
- Cut in half and then into 1/2″-thick slices.
- Add 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar to a small bowl of water.
- Dip the apples into the water, drain and set aside.
- Bring the butter, honey, and cinnamon to a boil in a small, nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Boil for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the cream, then add the lemon zest. (It may bubble and sputter, so be careful.)
- Cool for 10 minutes.
- While the honey caramel sauce is cooling, arrange the apple slices in a decorative pattern over the tart crust, trimming the exposed slices to suit your whim.
- Pour the sauce evenly over the apples and place in the oven.
- After 12 minutes, lower the heat to 350°F without opening the oven and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
- Place under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes, watching carefully, for an even deeper caramelized look.
- Cool briefly and serve.
- 2 large or 3 medium tart baking apples such as Granny Smith or Pippin
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or vinegar
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup Wholesome! Organic Amber Honey
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup cream
- Zest of 1 large lemon or 2 small
- Pie dough for one 10-inch tart pan