She honed her pastry skills at The Palmerston in Edinburgh where she quickly gained a cult following for her creative pastries. 

But now self taught baker Darcie Maher is branching out on a new solo venture, opening a plush new bakery in one of Edinburgh’s busiest neighbourhoods.

Called Lannan, which derives from the Scottish Gaelic for ‘house’, the bakery in Stockbridge will feature signature bakes, from custard slices, yum yums and iced buns, to inventive creations like dauphinois pastries and crème brûlée danishes.

On the savoury side, there will be hand pies, pala romana sandwiches and coffee from local roasters.

Raised in the Scottish Borders, Darcie has been baking since she was nine-years-old and  learned her trade by reading about pastry.

Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were keen bakers and Darcie quickly caught the baking bug.

Peach, fig leaf and einkorn croissant tart.

‘I’ve always loved baking. When I was little I dreamed of owning my own bakery,’ she said.

‘My grandma in Ireland was an excellent baker. She used to teach me how to make griddle and soda bread and she’d always send us back to Scotland with bags full of each. 

‘My Scottish grandmother’s shortbread was also exceptional, and my mum used to bake a perfect sponge cake with a simple water icing and hundreds and thousands.

‘I didn’t always have the opportunity to bake at home because I was brought up on a very healthy, vegetarian diet.

‘So instead, my dad helped me build a mud pie bakery in the garden. I’d spend hours outside making up muddy concoctions in a large “cauldron” hanging from a tree. 

‘The coal bunker still has buttons painted on it, it was my “oven”.’

Darcie honed her craft at bakeries and restaurants throughout the UK and in 2021 joined the bakery team at The Palmerston, in Edinburgh’s West End.

And for only 25-years-old she has an impressive repertoire of creative bakes.

She loves to remake the old classics and said people love nostalgia when it comes to eating.

Apricot, noyaux and elderflower croissant tart.

‘As a pastry chef, it’s always exciting to see new produce coming into season. New produce brings new ideas,’ she said.

‘I’m always thinking about pastry, I have my best ideas when I’m out walking. 

‘People always say I should write my ideas down, but I get so excited and fixated on them it would be impossible for me to forget.

‘Generally I start with a fruit or main ingredient. I decide what form I want it to take, a laminated pastry, a tart etc. 

‘Next I decide what additional flavours I want to use to compliment the fruit. 

‘Usually this will be something infused into a custard, such as fig leaf, noyaux or verbena. 

‘Finally, I decide if it needs an additional texture and which flours I’ll use, usually opting for a nut as well as some kind of wholewheat flour. 

‘I almost always finish things off with a glaze or a jelly of some kind too, shiny things always look a little bit more special. 

‘Early last year I made crème brûlée tarts in croissant pastry. This certainly isn’t a new creation and it’s been done before, but the way I shape the cases is quite unique to me. 

‘The cases have become the perfect vessel for some of my favorite flavours and ingredients. 

‘My peach and fig leaf, along with my apricot, elderflower and noyaux are probably my most popular creations. 

‘Although some stand out best sellers are always iced buns, yumyums and custard slices.’ 

Darcie said opening Lannan is a dream come true and said budding bakers should throw themselves into their creations.

Lannan sketch. Credit: Hannah Robinson

‘Don’t be put off by the hours,’ she said.

‘Take as many notes as you can, ask questions and consider the answers you’re given. 

‘If you don’t understand, ask again. Turn up on time, work clean, and go to bed early. 

‘Most importantly, enjoy it. If you stop enjoying a job, leave it and work elsewhere – you are your main priority and everyone is replaceable’

Quick Fire

What’s in your fridge at home right now? 

I had some friends over for dinner yesterday, so my fridge is actually full of leftovers right now. I have pork belly, braised butter beans, picacada, fennel and orange salad. Baked fig leaf custard and brandy roasted apricots. There were other parts to the meal, but this is what’s left over. My fridge doesn’t always look like this, there’s definitely some wilted salad in the crisper too, I promise. 

If you could cook for anyone, who would it be and why? 

I have a very good friend in Australia who I’d really love to cook for. Cooking for the people you care about the most is very special to me. I definitely wouldn’t want to cook for any celebrities, that would be entirely terrifying. Feeding people shouldn’t be stressful. 

What’s your favorite restaurant in Scotland?

I can’t only mention one, so in no particular order here are a few favorites – The Palmerston, Kinnucher Inn, Big Counter and the lesser known, Tasty Noodle.


Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages.

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