Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daring Bakers' July Challenge - Fresh Fraisiers!

July brought me my most intimidating and exciting challeng to date! Wow... we have a new favorite dessert here in our house. We are now completely in love with 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.

I knew exactly where I wanted to go with this challenge. I saw the coconut option and ran with it. But, I must admit that I went a little coconut loco. I was able to incorporate coconut oil, extract, coconut cream as well as unsweetened shredded coconut. Unfortunately our strawberries are done, so I used fresh and local blueberries and kiwi instead.

 Let's start with the coconut chiffon cake, shall we?

You Will Need:
1 c. + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c.  sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. coconut oil
3 large egg yolks
1/8 c.  water
1/3 c. coconut cream
1 tsp. coconut extract
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. lemon zest, grated
5 large egg whites
¼ tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Line the bottom of 2 small heart-shaped spring form pans. Don't grease the sides. 

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, extract, coconut cream 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.

Okay, now make the Pastry Cream...

You Will Need:
1 c. whole milk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 tsp. gelatin
1/2 Tbsp. water
1 c. 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.
  9. In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes to soften.
  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. Remove from the water bath, and whisk the remaining cold pastry cream in to incorporate in two batches.
  13. 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.
Now make a simple syrup to keep the cake moist, then you will be ready to assemble the cake!

You Will Need:
1/3 c. water
1/3 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. unsweeted coconut flakes

Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. When all the sugar has dissolved completely, take it off the heat and pour it through a strainer to catch the bits of coconut. Let the syrup cool and store in an airtight container until you are ready to use it.

....And now it is cake time

Line the sides of your spring form pan with wrap. Don't wrap the bottom. Cut your cakes in half to make 2 layers, or you can cut out shapes from a larger cake.

Fit your first layer in the bottom of a spring form pan.

Take the simple syrup and spoon it over the cake. It will absorb a lot!! It will resemble a squishy sponge.

Now take your fruit and cut and assemble it around the edges. I chose kiwi and blueberries for this one.

Then with a pastry bag and large tip, pipe the pastry cream in around the fruit. Add additional fruit in the center of the cake and add more pastry cream.

Then add the top cake layer. Spoon more syrup over it and add a thin layer of the pastry cream. Then add a thin layer of almond paste. I made my own for this (recipe to come soon!) and then used the spring form bottom to cut out the shape.

Then I dusted the top with powdered sugar and a little extra unsweetened shredded coconut. Yum!!

This recipe ended up being my favorite so far and I can't wait to make it again. Be sure to check out The Daring Bakers if you want to get in on the baking action for next month.
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