Guess what I was doing on the 27th? If you’d guessed “just starting my challenge”, then you would be right.
Luckily, this month’s challenge looks tricky but is actually very simple to make as promised by our host. And with that, let’s cue the blog-checking lines.
The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.
A jo-what? An entre-why?
If, like me, your French is a little rusty, here’s what the challenge means (as explained by our lovely host.
“A joconde imprime (French Baking term) is a decorative design baked into a light sponge cake providing an elegant finish to desserts/torts/entremets/ formed in ring molds. A joconde batter is used because it bakes into a moist, flexible cake. The cake batter may be tinted or marbleized for a further decorative effect.
Entremets (French baking term)- an ornate dessert with many different layers of cake and pastry creams in a mold, usually served cold.”
Ah, sponge cake I could do. And as mentioned earlier, it takes hardly any time to whip up. This sponge cake has an added decorative "layer" that eventually forms the base for the finished dessert.
Decor paste : Piped onto baking paper
Slightly wrinkled finished sponge
Check out the recipe either at accro, or at the Daring Kitchen. A few modifications I made to the recipe:
1) I used 3oz of each ingredient/ 3 eggwhites for the decor paste, instead of 7 eggwhites. This still yielded a LOT of decor paste for my purposes.
2)I used baking paper as I don’t own a silpat, and it worked fine but looked a little “wrinkled”. Hardly noticeable in the finished dessert though.
3) The recommended baking time seems very long, especially at that high temperature. I only needed about 8 minutes for my sponge, but I did spread the batter really thinly.
(edit) 4) I made the decor paste first, then made the sponge batter while the decor layer was chilling in the freezer.
The decor paste ready to go.
Once the spongy outside is made, we needed to mould it and fill it. I decided to make 3 mini cakes, and since I was pressed for time, I went with a really simple filling using super-stabilised whipped cream (300 ml thick cream with liquid gelatin added, then whipped), a raspberry puree, mango puree and pistachio nut “paste”. For the fruit purees, I smooshed some fruit through a sieve and cooked over low heat with a bit of sugar until a thick jammy puree happened. (I was cooking on the fly here, so no measurements, sorry).
As for the pistachios, I was aiming for pistachio butter, but could only find salted pistachios which are quite expensive. So I bought only a small bag, painstakingly peeled each one, then bunged the lot in the food processor, and added a couple of tablespoons of honey to loosen. There weren’t quite enough nuts to be blended properly, so the resulting nutty paste wasn’t very smooth. But it was very yummy!
In fact, the whole cake was very delish and it’s something I would definitely do again especially if I wanted an impressive make-ahead dessert.
My last minute effort was kind of cute but hardly what I would term elegant. For beautiful versions of the challenge, do check out the other Daring Bakers, who started their challenge at a much more sensible time.
Have a great weekend! I’ll be using the time to procrastinate harder. Or maybe I'll just eat more cake :)