Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fraisier Gateau



           
          The name “Fraisier” comes from a French word which means “a strawberry bush”. Indeed, this classical gateau is all about these bright and juicy fruits. And since the strawberry season is at full swing in India now I’ve got a strong resolution to make the most of it by cooking as many yummy and versatile dishes as possible, making “Fraisier” seems to be more than logical (I would even say “inevitable” in this case!).

            Actually this cake has always appealed to me: not because of any complicated technique involved in its preparation but because of its simple yet elegant look. In fact, it’s quite an easy cake to make since there are only two elements: a sponge and a mousse – and it is possible to squeeze the preparation even into the busiest schedule. The result is a stunning dessert: a “crown” of ruby strawberry halves embracing an airy mousse, with the layers of light, orange-scented sponge on the bottom and on the top. Gorgeous, isn’t it? A piece of delight with a true French flair!




Ingredients:

Orange sponge
3 eggs
75 gm castor sugar
80 gm flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp orange zest

Mousse filling
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp castor sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
175 ml milk
12 gm gelatine
60 ml cold water
375 ml heavy cream
  
Assembling
100 ml orange juice
2 tbsp Cointreau
300 gm strawberries, hulled
30 gm pistachios, shelled and crushed


Method :

  1. For orange sponge, preheat the oven to 180C. Line and grease 18-cm round cake tin. Place eggs with sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat till pale and creamy (start at low speed and gradually increase it); stir in the zest. Sift flour over the egg mixture and fold it with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into a prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and quite firm to touch. Allow to cool on a wire rack, then cut horizontally into two rounds.
  2. For mousse filling, soak the gelatine in cold water, dissolve the cornflour in 2 tbsp milk. Heat the remaining milk till it almost boils. Beat the egg with vanilla and castor sugar, add the cornflour mixture, then add the hot milk in a thin but steady stream, whisking vigorously. Pour the egg mixture into a pan and cook over low heat, stirring, till it thickens. Heat the gelatine till it dissolves, then add it to the custard. Push the custard through a sieve and allow to cool. Whisk the cream till firm peaks, then gently fold it into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula.
  3. To assemble the cake, put one round of a sponge cake on a bottom of a 18 cm spring from tin. Combine orange juice and Cointreau and brush the sponge with ½ of this mixture. Arrange the strawberry pieces around the edge of the tin, cut side outwards. Pour 1/3 of the mousse, evenly arrange the remaining strawberry pieces (you can chop them finely) and cover with the same amount of the mousse. Top with the second sponge round, brushed with the juice and the liquor. Spread the remaining mousse, sprinkle with pistachios and push them gently into the mousse. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or until the mousse sets.
  4. To serve, remove the cake from the spring form. Use a sharp knife, dipped into hot water, to cut it into slices.





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