Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.
First off I want to thank everyone for the wonderful feedback on last months challenge, I had an amazing time hosting. It took me over a week but I think I visited everyone’s blog who posted on the “Completed Forum”. WOW, there were some beautiful baklava’s and such creative fillings. I am such a “by the recipe” baker, I wish I had the creativity and knowledge of flavour combinations that a lot of people have. When I made baklava again I will definitely be using some of your ideas.
Ok, enough of that lets move onto this months challenge…
I have to admit when I first saw what we were making I though, blah…I am not a huge fan of desserts with fruit. I am of the thinking if you’re having dessert it has to be chocolatey, gooey, and super sweet, and that fruit is a refreshing snack, not something I consider a dessert. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fruit especially this time of year with all the fresh berries, just not for dessert.
Fresh Frasiers, with my limited ability to understand french I was able to get that it has something to do with strawberries, but I had never heard of it before.
Here is the challenge rules from Jana
Mandatory Items: You must make a cake with exposed fruits, edible flowers, etc. around the sides of the center layer. You must make all components (cake, pastry cream mousse, simple syrup) from scratch. You may not make a trifle. It must be a free-standing cake on a platter.
Variations allowed: Have fun with this idea! I love creativity so feel free to mix up the strawberries for other fruits or edible flowers, freeze the mousse as an ice cream etc. Making a cake, a filling, maintaining the structure of the cake with the exposed fruits is mandatory, but the flavors and methods should be just plain fun! I am providing you with a basic chiffon cake and many alterations (lemon, orange, coconut, and chocolate) to it! You may be as creative or traditional as you like! For the Vegan and Gluten-Free crowd I have provided links at the end to help with the portions of the recipe that will not suffice.
Basic Chiffon Cake:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (270 ml) (5½ oz/155 gm) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) baking powder
3/4 cups (180 ml) (6 oz /170 gm) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) salt, preferably kosher
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (3.17 fl oz/95 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3 gm) lemon zest, grated
5 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1 gm) cream of tartar
Jena provided is with a few options I chose the Lemon one
Lemon Chiffon Cake
Reduce water to 1/4 cup (60 ml)
Add 1/8 cup (30 ml) lemon juice
Increase lemon zest to 1½ teaspoon (7½ ml) (5 gm)
Remove the vanilla from the recipe
1. Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F
2. Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine.
4. In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly.
5. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.
6. Put the egg whites into a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using a whisk attachment on a medium speed, until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on a medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until the whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.
7. Using a grease free rubber spatula, scoop about ⅓ of the whites into the yolk mixture and fold in gently. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until combined.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
9. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
10. Removed the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
To unmold, run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake from the pan and remove the spring form sides. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to four days.
Pastry Cream Filling:
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) whole milk
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon (1/2 ml) (¼ gm) salt, preferably kosher
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (10 gm)cornstarch
1/4 cup (60 ml) (2 oz/55 gm) sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz/30 gm) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (4 gm) gelatin
1/2 tablespoon (7½ ml) water
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) heavy cream
1. Pour the milk, vanilla, and salt into a heavy sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat and scald, bringing it to a near boiling point. Stir occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine
3. Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
4. When the milk is ready, gently and slowly while the stand mixer is whisking, pour the heated milk down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.
5. Pour the mixture back into the warm pot and continue to cook over a medium heat until the custard is thick, just about to boil and coats the back of a spoon.
6. Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for ten minutes stirring occasionally.
7. Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth.
8. Cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for up to five days.
10. Put two inches (55 mm) of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
11. Measure 1/4 cup (2 oz/60 ml) of the chilled pastry cream into a small stainless steel bowl that will sit across the sauce pan with the simmering water, without touching the water.
12. Heat the cream until it is 120 F (48.8 C). Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth.
13. Remove from the water bath, and whisk the remaining cold pastry cream in to incorporate in two batches.
14. In a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Immediately fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula.
*forgot to take pictures of these last few steps*
You may choose to flavor the syrup. One way is to use flavored sugar (for example: apple cider sugar, orange sugar, or vanilla sugar) or to stir in 1-2 teaspoons of flavored extract. You may also infuse with herbs or spices, if desired or add four tablespoons (60 ml) of fruit juice or liqueur while the syrup is cooling.
1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) (2⅔ oz/75 gm) of sugar, flavored or white
1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) of water
1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil and let the sugar dissolve. Stirring is not necessary, but will not harm the syrup.
2. Remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly.
3. Transfer syrup to a lidded container or jar that can be stored in the refrigerator. Simple syrup can be stored for up to one month.
1 baked 8 inch (20 cm) chiffon cake
1 recipe pastry cream filling
⅓ cup (80 ml) simple syrup or flavored syrup
2 lbs (900 g) strawberries
1. Line the sides of a 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan.
For some reason this was the most difficult part of the challenge, had a huge fight with the plastic wrap!! I actually had to walk away for a few minutes.
2. Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.
3. Fit the bottom layer into the prepared spring form pan. Moisten the layer evenly with the simple syrup. When the cake has absorbed enough syrup to resemble a squishy sponge, you have enough.
4. Hull and slice in half enough strawberries to arrange around the sides of the cake pan. Place the cut side of the strawberry against the sides of the pan, point side up forming a ring.
**I must take a moment to thank my Poppa for the beautiful strawberries he picked for me. He tends to spoil me a bit. At 81 he was in the berry field on hands and knees picking baskets and baskets of strawberries. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of some of those. Thanks Poppa!!!
5. Pipe cream in-between strawberries and a thin layer across the top of the cake.
6. Hull and quarter your remaining strawberries and place them in the middle of the cake. Cover the strawberries and entirely with the pastry cream.
7. Place the second cake layer on top and moisten with the simple syrup.
I chose to fancy it up a little and finished it off with the rest of the fresh berries.
8. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
9. To serve release the sides of the spring form pan and peel away the plastic wrap. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The verdict? Delicious!
Thank you Jana for a wonderful challenge. Our Fraisier was gone within 2 days. Everyone LOVED it. My parents who really aren’t dessert people had seconds. I will be making this again for sure!