Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fraisier, or my monthly attempt to do what only pastry chefs should do

I completed my Daring Bakers' challenge on time this month and I'm only a day late in posting! Go me!!


 Blog-checking lines: 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.

Not much is better than fresh strawberries on a hot Houston afternoon. This month's challenge was to create a fraisier - a fancy-pants French pastry with strawberries, pastry cream, and chiffon cake. I followed the recipe almost exactly, only infusing basil in the simple syrup and the pastry cream because I love strawberries and basil, and it's so easy to add to everything when you have it growing in the backyard. Oh, I added some blueberries too.

For a fancy-pants recipe, the process wasn't all that difficult, even for a very non-fancy person like me. It's a lot easier to divide it over 2 days, since there are several 'wait hours for this thing to chill' steps.

The whole recipe can be found here, in pdf form. Here's what I did, in Stacy-speak.

First I baked a chiffon cake in an 8 1/2" springform. Popped it out of the springform and chilled it.

Then I made the base for my pastry cream, up until the part where you add gelatin to stabilize. Chilled it.

And I made some basil simple syrup. Chilled it. The recipe called for 1/3 cup, but of course I made more than that because basil simple syrup means lemon-basil martinis.

The next day, I added gelatin and whipped heavy cream to the pastry cream, sliced the strawberries, lined the springform with plastic wrap, sliced the chiffon cake into 2 layers. The first layer of the chiffon cake went back into the springform and was brushed with simple syrup. The strawberries and blueberries were arranged into what was supposed to be, in theory, a very pleasing design. Added pastry cream, layered a bunch of chopped strawberries and blueberries, added more pastry cream, and slapped the other layer of chiffon cake on top (see why I will never be a fancy person? Fancy people do not slap chiffon cake.). I brushed the rest of the simple syrup on top then spread a tiny bit of pastry cream on. Then I rolled out a little almond paste (dyed with red food coloring) and topped the dessert with that. A couple of strawberries and blueberries and a sprig of basil on the almond paste and some confectioner's sugar sprinkled over, and chilled. At last, we had a delicious fraisier!

The hostess, Jana, had some beautiful examples that she had prepared. There's a lot of other lovelies on the web, and the other Daring Bakers never cease to amaze me with their talent in preparing gorgeous desserts. (Check out the DK website to see their creations - and sign up for Daring Bakers or Daring Cooks while you're there!) Mine, not so much. It was completely delicious but looked, not surprisingly, extremely sloppy. Oh well. I won't quit my day job...

1 comment:

  1. I am really intrigued by the combination of strawberries and basil and I can't wait to try it. I have neither growing in my garden, so it may have to wait till next year, but it's definitely on my list. Great job this month--who knows what pastry-chefy thing we'll be up to next month!

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