Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daring Bakers - Fancy Fraisiers

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.
Fresh strawberries, light airy chiffon cake, fluffy pastry cream . . . who could resist this month's Daring Bakers challenge!  When I saw the challenge at the beginning of the month I knew that this would work perfectly for my two 5-inch springform pans. These would yield two small desserts, one for book group and one for my family. Little did I know that one 5-inch springform pan would yield more than enough for both groups combined. Oops, the hazards of trying to make something smaller.
I followed the recipe exactly and it was very straight forward. I baked the cakes the day before I needed the dessert and had them cooling on wire racks while I whipped up the pastry cream. I knew from past experience that this could sit in the fridge overnight along with the simple syrup. Making these ahead of time made for a bit less work on preparation day but there were still a lot of steps to do to get the whole thing together.
I'll spare you all the photos of making the cake, pastry cream, and simple syrup and just show you a quick assembly of the cake. For one of the cakes I did use the almond paste but for the other cake I did not. I liked the taste and look of the one without the almond paste a little better. I didn't think the almond paste added anything extraordinary and was really not a necessary item. The steps look involved but it really is a straight forward, simple recipe. Enjoy!

Chiffon Cake
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably kosher
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
5 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.
Put the egg whites into a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using a whisk attachment, until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on a medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until the whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.
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.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.Remove 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
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt, preferably kosher
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon gelatin
1/2 tablespoon water
1 cup heavy cream
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.
Meanwhile, in a stand mixer add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine. Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
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. 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.
Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for ten minutes stirring occasionally.
Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth.
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 until cool throughout. (Can be refrigerated for up to five days.)
In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes to soften. 
Put two inches of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
Measure 1/4 cup of the chilled pastry cream into a small stainless steel/glass bowl that will sit across the sauce pan with the simmering water, without touching the water.
Heat the cream until it is 120 F. Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth. Remove from the water bath, and whisk the remaining cold pastry cream in to incorporate in two batches.
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.
Vanilla Simple Syrup
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Combine the water, sugar, and vanilla 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. Remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly. 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.
Fraisier Assembly
1 baked 8-inch chiffon cake
1 recipe pastry cream filling
1/3 cup simple syrup
2 lbs strawberries
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1/2 cup almond paste, optional 
Line the sides of an 8-inch spring-form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan.
Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers. 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.
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.
Pipe cream in-between strawberries and a thin layer across the top of the cake.
Hull and quarter your remaining strawberries and place them in the middle of the cake. Cover the strawberries and entirely with the all but 1 tablespoon of the pastry cream.
Place the second cake layer on top and moisten with the simple syrup. 
Lightly dust a work surface with confectioners' sugar and roll out the almond paste to an 8-inch round 1/16 inch thick. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon of pastry cream on the top of the cake and cover with the round of almond paste.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 
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.


shelley c.

Your fraisiers look so beautiful - I love that you made the small ones. They look so elegant! And your pictures of the construction process are really great - they really show how involved this process was! You did a wonderful job on this challenge.


Very nice. I should get those 5" pans just the right size for a giveaway.


Your fraisiers are so pretty and dainty! Great photos, too :)


You made minis too! They're gorgeous. I love the photo showing the berries and cream running through the centre. Fluffy, creamy, fruity heaven.


love your mini cakes! they look perfect! great job on the challenge :)


the mini cakes look so elegant and yummy
you did an amazing job on the challenge :)


Your challenge came out beautifully! So simple, yet so elegant and flawless. Way to go!!
Happy Wednesday!
Cookin' for my Captain


They look gorgeous! The small pans must have made it much easier, although cutting my cakes to size wasn't too difficult. I didn't try the almond paste, but I think the fraisiers were perfect without it!


You made it so perfectly! I love the size of your Fraisier. Looks like it came out of a French Boulangerie, great job!


Beautifully made! They look perfect!


Your Fraisiers look terrific! And you confirmed my thoughts on the almond paste - best without!


Very nice! I love the small cakes, as these did go far!


So cute! The height of the chiffon cake makes it look so airy. Lovely!


Love your individual fraisiers - they look so professional and gorgeous! Wish I could have taken part, as I love frisiers so much!!


So cute!!


So cute!!


Beautiful job! I like how tall it stands!

Cookie Kelly

Minis are so cute. Well done on the challenge, looks great!

Kris Ngoei

Beautiful smaller version of fraisier! I like to make it smaller too since it looks cuter :-)


Your fraisier is gorgeous! And I love all your step-by-step photos!

buy rift account

OMG! love your mini cake. . looks absolutely tempting.=)