|Jacode Entremets.. not perfect, but pretty good for my first try!|
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.
When I saw the challenge for this month's Daring Bakers, I was at the same time both excited and terrified. I first joined the group so that I could learn new skills and recipes that I had never tried. For the most part, that's exactly what it's done for me - aside from the odd one here and there. But this challenge, to make an entremets complete with a biscuit jaconde. Well, let's just say that this seemed to be way beyond my range of skills. Like, way, WAY beyond...
One of my recent cookbook acquisitions is a book that I found in Paris a couple of years ago; La Pâtisserie de Pierre Hermé. It is a large, beautiful book that details many of Pierre's creations from the Fauchon days - long before he had his own shops. Like most cookbooks (the good ones at least), it has stunning pictures of the dessert, but then it goes deeper. In this book, Pierre also has illustrations detailing the actual construction of the dessert, as well as every single step you will need to do to create the gorgeous finished product (or something close to it). And, he offers all of this in both Français and English. When I first found this book at Mora, a great little cookware supply shop near les Halles, I fawned over it and carried it around with me while I perused the rest of the store. You see, at almost $200 CAD, it was just a tad over my cookbook budget. But it was so amazing and so pretty, and it held all of Pierre's secrets, I couldn't just put it down and walk away. Nor could I justify spending that much money on a cookbook. In then end, I reluctantly put it back on the shelf and left the store without it. I never forgot about that book, and from time to time, would search the internet for a copy of it. I was able to find plenty of copies of the French/German version, as well as the French/Japanese version, but the French/English copy always eluded me until I recently received it as a birthday gift from my brother-in-law and his wife (assisted by friends who were visiting Paris). Now, with this month's DB Challenge, I had my chance to really put it to use!
Immediately, but not surprisingly, I learned a couple of things about la biscuit jaconde; that it's important to prep your silpat sheet so the biscuit does not stick like mine did, and that this is not a dessert that can be made in a hurry. To properly make this dessert, you need time, and planning. I started in the morning and served it that evening for dessert, and I can tell you, it definitely needed more time to properly set. While it looked pretty spectacular (especially for my first and somewhat hurried attempt), and it tasted fabulous, as soon as we cut into the entremet, it became nothing more than a tasty mess. Another piece of advice I have for any of you brave enough to give this dessert a try: make only a half- or even quarter-recipe for the jaconde pattern. I ended up with a ridiculous amount left over, and unless you plan on making a whole bunch of these, it's an awful waste.
The inspiration for the entremet came from a trip to the grocery store. I found a jar of Peach-Passionfruit Curd that I had never seen or tasted before. I picked up a jar of that, some canned peaches (since fresh ones are long out of season), and some cream for a mousse. Using La Pâstisserie de Pierre Hermé for inspiration, and the recipes that Astheroshe gave us for the biscuit jaconde, I was able to create a dessert that tasted fabulous and was a huge hit with our friends at dinner. Next time I attempt this dessert, however, I will definitely give myself an extra day for proper chilling and setting, so the dessert can turn out as anticipated, and hold up to a knife.
Below is the recipe and instructions, as posted by Astheroshe for this challenge:
YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan
¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal - *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners' (icing) sugar
¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
3 large eggs - about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
3 large egg whites - about 3 oz/ 90g
2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted
*Note: How to make cake flour: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/
In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
Fold in melted butter.
Reserve batter to be used later.
Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste
YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan
14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners' (icing) sugar
7 large egg whites - about 7 oz / 200g
1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
Food coloring gel, paste or liquid
COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
Fold in sifted flour.
Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.
Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:
Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.
Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)
Preparing the MOLD for entremets:
You can use any type of mold. I would suggest a springform pan, a trifle bowl, or any open-ended cylinder in whatever size you choose
Start with a large piece of parchment paper laid on a very flat baking sheet. Then a large piece of cling wrap over the parchment paper. Place a spring form pan ring, with the base removed, over the cling wrap and pull the cling wrap tightly up on the outside of the mold. Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping top edge by ½ inch. CUT the parchment paper to the TOP OF THE MOLD. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.
A biscuit cutter/ cookie cutter- using cling wrap pulled tightly as the base and the cling covering the outside of the mold, placed on a parchment lined very flat baking sheet. Line the inside with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping.
Cut PVC pipe from your local hardware store. Very cheap! These can be cut into any height you wish to make a mold. 2 to 3 inches is good. My store will cut them for me, ask an employee at your store. You can get several for matching individual desserts. Cling wrap and parchment line, as outlined above.
Glass Trifle bowl. You will not have a free standing dessert, but you will have a nice pattern to see your joconde for this layered dessert.
Preparing the Jaconde for Molding:
Video: MUST WATCH THIS. This is a very good demo of the joconde and filling the entremets:
Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.
Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.
Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)
Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.
The mold is done, and ready to fill.
*Note: If not ready to use. Lay cake kept whole or already cut into strips, on a flat surface, wrap in parchment and several layers of cling wrap and freeze.
Entremet- Filling Options:
It is nice to have a completed dessert so you can unmold and see the Joconde working. Fill with anything you desire. Layers of different flavors and textures! However, it needs to be something cold that will not fall apart when unmolded.
Mousses, pastry creams, Bavarian creams, cheesecakes, puddings, curds, jams, cookie bases, more cake (bake off the remaining sponge and cut to layer inside), nuts, Dacquoise, fresh fruit, chocolates, gelee.