Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Daring Bakers July 2011 Challenge: FRESH FRAISIERS!

Oops here I am again...posting late. But I finished my challenge way ahead of time, it's just that sometimes I forget the date. Okay no more excuses...on to the challenge!

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 Fraisiers...ah, I remember making this cake a long time ago in baking class more than 10 years ago and I've not thought of making it again because it was time consuming (for me at least) and it was really not the easiest of cakes to make (that's a nicer way of saying it's just too hard to make.) But then, I had to make it for this month and I thought of actually skipping this month's DB challenge but nooooo I just had to do it, and so I did...and here it is :)

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 yolks⅓ 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

Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3).
Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) 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 (45 ml.) 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 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.
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.
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
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 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 (55 mm) of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
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.
Heat the cream until it is 120 F (48.8 C). 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

(Instead of using a springform pan to hold my cake together, I just wrapped acetate which is also called plastic transfer sheet around the cake and taped them together)

Fraisier Assembly

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

confectioners’ sugar for dusting

½ cup (120 ml) (5 oz/140 gm) almond paste
Line the sides of a 8-inch (20 cm) 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 tbsp. (15 ml) 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 a 10-inch (25 cm) round 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) thick. Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) 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.

I omitted the sugar syrup, instead I spread whipped cream on the top layer of cake and placed the almond paste that I rolled thinly. I also piped rosettes to hide the imperfections.
Thank you Jana for this month's challenge! I'm glad I decided not to skip it and step out of my comfort zone! I even surprised myself because hey, my fresh fraisier doesn't looks so shabby! For other Daring Bakers' Fresh Fraisiers click here.


Suzler said...

I'm glad you did do this challenge. Not too shabby? It looks brilliant! I love the piped rosettes round the edge. I'm jealous of your piping skills!

shelley c. said...

So glad yo decided not to skip this month because your fraisier is beautiful!! I think you did a wonderful job.

Wok with Ray said...

How I wish, how I wish that I could have skills in baking like you. That is one good looking cake.

Thank you for sharing.

- ray -

Morgan said...

Lovely cake and your piping is beautiful!

Renata said...

wow wow wow!! Totally worth not skipping, huh? Looks gorgeous! Hope it wasn't as time consuming as the first one :)

Cakelaw said...

Your Fraisier is just gorgeous - well worth waiting for.

Mary said...

Your fraisier is absolutely gorgeous, and I love the finished look the perfectly piped rosettes give it. Did you find it was faster to make than you remembered? I was surprised that I was able to get this all made in an evening.

Evelyn said...

Beautiful cake! I too am glad you did not skip this month. It is always a pleasure to see what you create.

Anonymous said...

So glad you took part in the challenge because you really turned out a gorgeous fraisier! I wanted to take part too, but you'll see why I couldn't, in a few days ;)

Marty said...

You've really lived up to your name, Energetic Chef! I wish I had a steady hand like yours. The piping is so beautiful. (Thanks for not skipping this challenge!)

E.K.R said...

The rosettes are a beautiful addition to the fraisier! What a wonderful job you did on this month's challenge. :)

Marcellina said...

Shabby? I don't think so! This fraisier is brilliant! I love that your cake is so flat and even not sunk a bit. What's the trick?

chef_d said...

Thank you everyone for your kind comments. Yes Mary this was definitely easier than the one I did before. Marcellina, I cooled the cake upside down on a rack, I think that's the reason why the middle didn't sink :)

Anonymous said...

I love your fraisier
it looks so elegant :)
glad you didn't skip the challenge

Kris Ngoei said...

Ha ha ha I am one day later than you.... your fraisier is so pretty with all the rosettes!

oggi said...

It's beautiful, D. I'm glad you didn't skip the challenge.:)

Valérie said...

Funny, I almost considered skipping this month, too! Glad I didn't, as this was soooo good! Your cake looks amazing with its cute little rosettes!

Petit Pois said...

Lovely pipping work!! Im glad you didnt skip the challenge, coz your fraisier looks lovely!! :D

Jaime said...

beautiful cake! and thanks for the tip on the acetate paper :)

Anonymous said...

Looks great! Held together well with the paper too.

Bourbonnatrix said...

that's one beautiful looking cake! you must have been happy to have made it when you saw the final result!

Susan Lindquist said...

Your Fraisier is just lovely! And a true Fraisier - with all those pretty strawberries! Loved your tip on using acetate -clever! Thanks for your kind comment on my humble attempt! ;-)

Sarah said...

Your Fraisier isn't shabby at all! I love the pastry cream rosettes around the edge. I never would have guessed they were to hide imperfections. Congrats on tackling something that intimidated you.

Joy said...

It looks so pretty.