Friday, August 5, 2011

Fresh Fraisiers

The July 2011 Daring Bakers challenge was to make the Fresh Fraisiers. This months host for the challenge was Jana from Cherry Tea Cakes and she was inspired by this recipe from the cookbook Tartine. I missed a couple of the DB challenge and was looking forward to do this one. The minute I saw the challenge, was really excited in trying this out. It was the first time that I even heard about this dessert. Well it tastes also amazing!!! Lets get started.

We are using strawberries which is the standard ingredient for the Fraisiers. But you are free to use any fruit for that matter. Since this was my first time making them and I didnt want to mess up this beautiful dessert, I chose to stick to the recipe as far as I can. But I did choose to make the coconut chiffon cake.

The recipe is explained in each step. So here you go with the ingredients and directions.

Coconut Chiffon Cake

1 cup plus 2 tbspn all purpose flour
1 tspn of baking powder
3/4 cups of sugar
1/4 tspn of nutmeg
1/2 tspn of salt
1/8th cup of vegetable oil (30 ml)
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup of water (65ml)
5 large egg whites
1/3 cup of unsweetened coconut milk


Preheat the oven at 325 degree F. You will need to use a spring form pan about 8'. Line the pan with parchment paper(butter paper).
In a mixing bowl, add flour, nutmeg, salt, baking powder and 3 tbspn of sugar. Mix well.
In another bowl, mix together the egg yolks, oil, water and coconut milk. Use a hand mixer to blend all the ingredients.
Combine the dry and wet ingredients. They should be mixed thoroughly until smooth. Keep it aside.
Take the egg whites in a bowl and using the hand mixer, beat at medium speed until it doubles and makes soft peaks. Now add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until they hold firm and becomes shiny peaks.
Now add 1/3 of the white mixture into the batter prepared earlier and fold them together with a spatula. Gently fold the remaining white mixture until combined. It is important in this step that you fold the mixture and not stirring it. Here is the link which explains how to fold in the ingredients:
Pour the batter into the pan and bake it for 45-55 mins or until done. You can test it by inserting a toothpick/fork and it should come out clean.
Set the cake aside to cool.

Pastry Cream

1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbspn corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tspn salt
1 egg
2 tbspn unsalted butter
3/4 tspn gelatin
1/2 tbspn water


Heat milk, vanilla and salt in a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium heat. Stir in occasionally  bring this near to a boil.
In a bowl add the sugar and corn starch and mix well. To this add the eggs and combine until smooth.
Pour the heated milk to the egg mixture. This should be done while whisking, it is advisable to use a stand mixer. But I used a hand mixer and it was fine. Make sure the milk is poured slowly and pour it from the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.
Now pour this mixture back to the saucepan and cook on medium heat. The mixture should be cooked until it become custard thick. Stir continuously. My mixture had bubbles while heating, was worried if it was spoiled. But once it started cooking, it turned to be fine and became perfect custard thick.
Once it reaches the required consistency, remove from heat and pass it through a mesh sieve into a bowl. Allow it to cool, stirring occasionally.
Cut the butter into small pieces, add into the pastry cream one at a time. Blend the butter into the cream. The butter should melt with the heat of the cream. Whisk until the cream is smooth.
Cover the cream with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should be pressing to the cream, to avoid the skin forming on the top. You can keep this refrigerated upto 5 days.
Sprinkle gelatin over water in a separate dish and let it soften.
Take 2 inches of water in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Take 1/4 cup of the pastry cream in a stainless steel bowl that will sit on the saucepan without touching the water.
Heat the cream until 120F. I didnt have any device to check the temperature. I heated it until it was smooth and became a little loose consistency. The cream was just warmed.
Add the gelatin to this and whisk until smooth. Remove from the simmering water. Add the remaining pastry cream and incorporate them.
Whip the heavy cream in a bowl until soft peaks are formed. Fold in the whipped cream into the pastry cream. They should be incorporated by folding with a spatula.

Simple Syrup

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water

This syrup is used to moist the cake. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Bring it to a boil. Cool the syrup.
You may also add flavor if required. I kept it simple without any flavoring added.

Chocolate Mirror Glaze

1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbspn unsalted butter
1/2 tspn gelatin
2 tbspn water

In a saucepan heat the heavy cream on medium. Remove it from heat just before it boils.
Sprinkle the gelatin in a dish over water and keep it aside to soften.

Add the butter little by little and whisk for 1 min.
To this add the gelatin and mix well. Keep it aside.

Assembly of the Fraisier

1 pound fresh Strawberries
1 Chiffon Cake
Pastry Cream
Simple Syrup
Chocolate Mirror
1/2 cup White Chocolate

The 1st step is to prepare the spring form pan. Line the 8' pan with parchment paper on the sides. You can also use the plastic wrap.
Cut the Chiffon cake into half horizontally. Place the bottom layer of the cake on the prepared pan.
Moisten the cake with simple syrup evenly.
Cut the strawberries in half. Place the them on the sides of the pan, with the cut side facing the pan and the point side up forming a ring. You may arrange the strawberries close to each other. I decided to have spacing between each strawberry.
Now pipe the pastry cream between these strawberries and a thin layer on the cake.
Place the remaining strawberries on the cream. If you have the cream left, pipe it on top of the strawberries filling the gap and smoothing it out.

Place the 2nd half of the Chiffon cake on top. Moist with the simple syrup evenly. The fraisier is ready. You have to refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.  But I wanted it to look beautiful. So the Chocolate mirror is my version added.
Pour a thin layer of Chocolate mirror on top of the cake. Refrigerate the fraisier for 1 hour.
Pour another layer of the Chocolate mirror and refrigerate for another 4 hours. Cover the fraisier with plastic wrap while refrigerating.
Before serving remove the spring form and parchment paper.

I melted white chocolate chips and pipped it on the chocolate mirror once set. This was just for the decoration. It is purely optional.

Things I did wrong:
- Using frozen strawberries. Never use frozen fruits unless mentioned in the recipe.
- Rather than refrigerating the fraisier, I froze it. It was my first attempt with the chocolate mirror. For speedy setting, I kept the fraisier in the freezer. Which didnt help the chocolate mirror to set. So never try that.

But finally I did get a beautiful and tasty fraisier treat. Even though this recipe is lengthy, its easy to make. So guys try it out. I had great fun with this challenge of DB. Excited and looking forward for the next one.