Le Fraisier (Strawberry Cake)

The strawberries I’ve eaten in France might be the best I’ve ever had.  They’re tiny, almost entirely red on the inside, and incredibly flavorful.  Luckily, strawberry season starts in late March and seems to continue well through June.  I’ve been eating a bushel of strawberries every couple of days for months, so I was overjoyed when Labo & Gato listed a class for Le Fraisier.  I signed up almost immediately, as I was keen to learn how to make this tasty dessert.

I think everyone loves a good Strawberry Shortcake.  The best one I’d ever had was a few years ago at Boulevard in San Francisco.  I never thought I’d be able to recreate that tasty treat at home (or even come close) until I took the first bite of my completed cake.  All strawberry desserts should come with mousseline.  That is a fact.

The only sad part is that strawberry season is quickly coming to a close, and it’ll be tricky to try to make this cake again before the season is completely behind us.  Nevertheless, this recipe will be stored for future eating/enjoyment.

Le Fraisier

(3 pieces – 14cm/5in (3 people)

(1 piece – 24 cm/9in (8 people)

Biscuit Joconde Ingredients

110g d’oeuf (whole eggs)

85g de poudre d’amande

85g de sucre glace (powdered sugar)

20g de farine

150g de blancs d’oeuf (egg whites)

30g de sucre semoule (castor sugar)

Mousseline vanille Ingredients

500g de lait entier (whole milk)

1 gousse de vanilla grattee (1 vanilla bean = 2 t vanilla extract)

QS arome vanilla

100g de faunes d’oeufs (5 jaunes)

100g de sucre

40g de poudre a crème

100g de beurre (1)

125g de beurre tempere en parcelles (2)

Sirop au Kirsch Ingredients

20g de sucre

40g d’eau

10g de Kirsch

Montage Ingredients

600g de fraises

250g de pate d’amande rouge

Make the biscuit

In a bowl, add the eggs, almond powder, and powdered sugar.  Mix into a thick paste.  In a stand mixer, add the egg whites with the sugar (add in 2 batches) Once the meringue has been whipped, gently mix in 1/3 of the egg whites into the almond/egg paste using a large rubber spatula.  Mix until no clumps of egg whites are visible and batter is a pale yellow.  Grease tins, place on parchment paper on top of baking sheet.  Spoon mixture evenly, touching all sides.  Bake at 180 degrees C for 12 to 15 min.    Remove from oven, leave on the rack and allow to cool.

Start the vanilla mousseline

In a saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla.  In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cream powder.  When the milk comes to a boil, pour a small amount over the eggs, then pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the cream.  Mix well.  Remove the pan from the heat, then put the pan on low heat. When the cream comes to a boil, add the butter (1). Mix well with the whisk (in figure 8 motions).  Wrap in cellophane (touching the mousseline) and cool at 20-25 C.

Make the Kirsch Syrup

Make the syrup: boil the sugar and water. Cool. Add the Kirsch.

Prepare the Montage

Prepare the strawberries: remove and trim the strawberries at the same height (4 cm). Cut in 2. Keep trimmings for strawberry inside.  Spread between two sheets of almond paste shaped circle.

Finish the mousseline vanilla

When pastry is below 25 C, add butter (2) and whisk until smooth and airy.

Montage

Take a pan, add a cellophane ring, add one of the biscuits to the bottom (soak it in the syrup).  Take strawberry halves around the perimeter.   Add a dab of the cream to the center, using a spatula, move the mousseline around at an angle, fully covering the strawberries.  Then add additional mousseline on the bottom.  Spread evenly.   Add sliced strawberries.  Add more mousseline and spread evenly.  Add second biscuit (soaked in syrup) and press gently into the mousseline mixture.  Then add more mousseline to the top (more than you think you’ll need).  Using the side of your (metal) spatula, pull and push until you have a smooth texture (right to the top).  Chill.  Then take your almond paste and roll it out to a thing sphere.  Place almond paste on top, use a rolling pin to slice of the edges/sides.  Then decorate the top with strawberries.  Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Enjoy with someone you love!

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