Thursday, 27 January 2011

Daring Bakers - Entremets with Biscuit Joconde Imprime

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.

I have to admit that when I first read the title of this challenge I was a bit intimidated. I had no idea what "joconde", "imprime", and "entremets" meant and I really didn't like digging deep and doing research to figure it out. After a few days passed and I read further, I began to get a more clear idea of what this challenge was about. Basically we were to make a spongecake that served as the decorative wrapper for fillings like a mousse or pudding. We could make whatever pattern we wanted for the spongecake wrapper and we could make whatever fillings we wanted for the inside dessert. Very open ended, but almost too much so in my case.

Since this dessert was going to be the first dessert since I began my sugar fast I had a very hard time deciding on the flavors to use. I really, really wanted something chocolate, but since I have made a lot of chocolate desserts I thought maybe I should let my husband pick the flavors. Chocolate with caramel cream or lemon and raspberry? Being that he is not a big fan of chocolate you can probably imagine what he chose. I decided to use the spongecake as the base of the dessert, layer it with raspberry mousse, crushed almond cookies, lemon mousse, wrap it up with the spongecake collar and have it sit in a pool of raspberry coulis.

I first made the almond cookies. Cookies are kind of my thing so I thought I'd start out with a project that I knew I could handle. Break it down into smaller pieces and the project doesn't seem so insurmountable. (I will post the almond cookie recipe at a later date.)

Once the cookies were done and cooled (and frozen because I decided to wait a few days to make the dessert), I then made the lemon mousse. It was fairly straight forward and even though I thought for sure it was never going to set up it turned out to be just fine. The raspberry mousse came next and what a chore it was! Every other time I've made raspberry cheesecake I haven't taken the time to use a sieve to catch the seeds. Now I know why. It takes forever! I also decided to make the raspberry coulis ahead of time and have all the cool components resting in the fridge for the final stages. All of these steps went fairly well . . . up until this point.

Fast forward to it now being about 8:00pm which is getting dangerously close to my bedtime, having waited until my son went to bed so I could have some quiet time in the kitchen while my husband worked on schoolwork. My thoughts were to make a spongecake that mirrored the rare snowy weather we have experienced this winter. My muse was actually the pajamas on my son's Abominable Snowmonster stuffed animal that he got for Christmas, light blue with darker blue and white snowflakes. So cute! However, what I envisioned is not what I saw when it came out of the oven!

First off, I made the amount of paste and batter that the recipe stated, and while I had plenty of paste I didn't have near enough batter. I practiced the snowflake designs I wanted to execute, realized that they were too detailed, scaled them back, and then just squirted the paste on in a snowflake-"ish" pattern when I realized that I wasn't getting what I wanted. I also ended up just doing the snowflakes in "white" because I knew to try them in white and dark blue would probably be a disaster.

So, back to the batter. I made the amount stated in the recipe and knew that it was not going to be enough to cover the pan. In my genius, I decided to color the batter blue to be like the cute little pajamas on Abominable. I guess that even though I teach elementary school the elementary concept of the color wheel escaped my attention. Class, what happens when you add blue food coloring to an off-white/beige batter? Yes, that is correct, you get a greenish color not the periwinkle blue you were going for. Well, drat, now I'm zero for two. At this point I seriously felt like just scraping everything in to the garbage and calling it good, but I managed to persevere and get it into the oven. Yes, you see that right, the blue food coloring failed to completely blend into the batter leaving these beautiful streaks. Oh, I mean that was intentional. I meant to have a cool, modern art piece.

It baked up fairly quickly, I sprinkled a towel with powdered sugar, and when the cake was slightly cooled I flipped it onto the towel. At this point I was still hoping that I had something I could work with. I mean, just a few minutes before I was ready to scrape the swirly pattern batter it in the garbage so now that it baked up it should be all better, right?

Um, no. Now I had big blotches of food coloring (yikes, where did those come from), wrinkles from the parchment paper, and some of my beautiful white snowflakes were browned. It was all I could do to not curl my fingers into the spongecake and rip it into little pieces. Did I mention that I was baking this really close to my bedtime? I think the only thing that stopped me from tearing this into little pieces was the fact that I used 13 eggs in this batter. Yes, 13 eggs, people! Never again will I make something that uses that much of our fridge contents when I'm kind of ho-hum on the idea of baking it.

I managed to trim off the bottom browned edge and cut right above the bottom strip of snowflakes so that I missed any food coloring blotches. Amazingly the spongecake collar fit in the pan, and by this point I was so defeated that I just decided to slap the raspberry mousse, almond cookies, and lemon mousse in before sticking in the freezer so it could harden up for me to get a picture. Imagine my surprise the next morning when it came out looking relatively close to what the finished product should look like. Albeit, the execution of the spongecake was not what I had envisioned, but it miraculously made it through to the other side of the challenge in the form it was supposed to be in.

Sadly, this dessert is still sitting in my freezer. I may take it out someday soon but I also feel an apathy toward it. Is it because it wasn't chocolate? Is it because it turned out a greenish hue? Who knows. I did end up taking the raspberry and lemon mousses and the almond cookies and made a trifle with them for a dessert at our friend's house so I can verify that they are delicious. (I'll be posting the trifle recipe in a few days.)

In the meantime, I hope if you try this challenge that the vision you have in your head is the one that ends up on your plate. Enjoy!

Lemon Mousse recipe - click here
Raspberry Mousse recipe - click here
Raspberry Coulis recipe - click here
Spongecake recipe - email me

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