The stunning Birmingham 'micro patisserie' creating gorgeous bakes you have to track down

Annabelle retrained as a pastry chef after lockdown
-Credit: (Image: Yuup)

With intricate patterns and delicate detailing, Moseley baker Annabelle Davis' tarts and bakes look more like artwork than food. But while the pastry chef and stylist creates treats that look almost too good to be true, her 'from scratch' approach to cooking and appreciation for seasonal produce make for treats that customers say are 'exceptionally delicious' and 'divine'.

Just like the seasonal ingredients she tracks down to feature in her dishes, Annabelle's Honey and Rye micropatisserie has to be sought out to enjoy. Those that have tried her pies and tarts suggest that it's well worth the research.

The former University of Birmingham student, who is originally from Bath, stayed in the city after she graduated, working as a fundraiser for a local charity. But her love of food led to a total rethink of her life during Coronavirus lockdowns and Annabelle retrained as a pastry chef at the world-famous cookery school, Le Cordon Bleu.

Read more: I grabbed a perfect iced coffee in a 'secret garden' Birmingham cafe that smells like heaven

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Now she's taking all that she learnt and is sharing it with Brummies, at pop-ups, markets and events across the city. Recently she had a weekend stint serving her special treats at the Urban coffee shop in the Jewellery Quarter, serving pies, cookies and the tarts she most loves making.

Annabelle's ultra wild garlic pie
Annabelle's ultra wild garlic pie

As well as appearing at events and markets, Honey and Rye makes treats to order, including special celebratory tarts. Annabelle's favourite though? The treat that gave her business its name.

"My honey and rye tart is a really rich honey-flavoured custard tart but it's a mix of sweet and savoury as the crust is made with rye flour to make it nutty," she says. "There's salt on the top too, so it's rich but not too sweet."

Tarts are Annabelle's favourite thing to make: "I specialise in tarts, I've always loved making them, both sweet and savoury. They're a really nice way of showing off all the seasonal produce that we have. You can do so much with them, incorporating flavours and layers. I think they look lovely too."

While Honey and Rye's tarts look great, Annabelle is balancing style and substance. Her 'main job' is food styling for book shoots and editorials and balancing what you see and what you taste is something she takes seriously.

Annabelle's lemon, thyme and olive oil tart
Annabelle's lemon, thyme and olive oil tart

Annabelle said: "Pastry appeals to me because it's so precise. You can study it, why something works and why it doesn't.

"I'm too focused on attention to detail sometimes! I've just always tried to do everything right, and from scratch. I get frustrated when I see things that are Instagrammable but that don't have substance behind it, and that's not being critical of other people's work because everyone's working hard, but I wanted to create things that taste as good as they look."

Annabelle worked in restaurants after she completed her training but going it alone has given her the chance to further explore her work. She said: "I started doing Honey and Rye about a year ago, selling at markets and holding supper clubs. Working in kitchens wasn't really for me, it can be quite a tough world, so this was a way for me to leave that.

"It also gave me a chance to create a side hustle. My main day job is working as a food stylist. Honey and Rye was a way to do my own thing on the side.

Annabelle's meringue with crème fraîche chantilly, strawberries, raspberries, roasted apricots and home-grown mint
Annabelle's meringue with crème fraîche chantilly, strawberries, raspberries, roasted apricots and home-grown mint

"I've been selling predominantly at the Birmingham Artisan Markets but I've paused that as warm weather doesn't go hand-in-hand with pastries with cream! So I've been doing pop-ups here and there, pastry drops and putting stuff on my website for people to order.

"I make bespoke orders too, including celebration tarts. People email me what they want and I'm pretty flexible."

Not being tied down to one specific spot has given Annabelle the opportunity to be more creative with her bakes, something customers love judging by the comments on her social media pages. "I want to create stuff that people want," she says. "There's nothing clear cut!"

You can find Annabelle on Instagram here. Her pop-ups are updated on Yuup whenever they're announced.