Friday, April 2, 2010
Strawberry Bavarian and a Birthday

Strawberry Bavarian adapted from Tartine via No Special Effects

Chiffon Cake

160 g (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
55 g (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
88 g (6 tablespoons) water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
small pinch cream of tartar (1/8 teaspoon if you must)

Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan or ring (at least 2-1/2 inches high) with parchment paper cut to fit exactly; don't grease the pan. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F).

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla, lemon zest, salt, baking powder, and 125g (1 cup and 2 tablespoons) sugar until combined. Sift the flour over this, at the same time whisking until very smooth.

In another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and beat on medium-high speed until it holds soft peaks. Add the remaining 25g (2 tablespoons) sugar slowly while beating on medium-high speed until the whites hold firm, shiny peaks. Add a third of the egg whites and fold into the yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in the rest of the whites until just combined.

Pour the batter into the pan and spin it around to flatten the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once completely cool, run a thin knife around the sides and invert onto your hand (a little crust loss is okay since it'll be covered with cream, but you may also invert onto a sheet of parchment sprayed with baking spray if you wish), then place right-side up on a platter. Measure the height of the cake and split it horizontally into two layers of equal height. Carefully separate the layers.


250 g (1 cup) milk
1/2 vanilla bean
small pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
58 g (4 1/2 tablespoons) sugar
1 large egg
27 g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoons gelatin
1/2 tablespoon water
250 g (1 cup) heavy cream, very cold

Make the pastry cream: In a small saucepan, add the milk and scrape the vanilla caviar into it, then throw the pod and salt in. Heat the milk gently, whisking constantly, until small bubbles start to appear on the sides. Remove from the heat. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and egg until a paste is formed. Pour the milk into the paste in a thin stream, whisking madly all the while. Return this to the saucepan and place over low heat, constantly whisking until the bubbles just disappear, about a minute. Immediately remove from the heat and place into a cool bowl. When it comes down to about 60°C (140°F), whisk in the butter until incorporated. Leave to cool completely, then place cling film flush against the surface and place in the fridge.

In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes. Take 60g (1/4 cup) of the pastry cream and heat it in a microwaveable bowl at LOW in 10-second intervals, or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water until it is hot to the touch. Remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatin water until smooth. Whisk in half the remaining cold pastry cream until well-combined, then the remaining pastry cream.

Whip the cream using a cold bowl and beaters until it holds medium-stiff peaks, then fold in the pastry cream mixture.

Fruit Puree

85g (slightly more than 1/2 cup) berries (I used strawberries)
25g (2 tablespoons) sugar
pinch of salt

Combine the three ingredients in a blender until smooth.


150 g (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) heavy cream, very cold
2 teaspoons sugar
285 g (10 oz or a pint) strawberries

Whip the cream and sugar using a cold bowl and beaters until it hold soft peaks.

Use an 8" cake ring or springform pan to assemble. Line the sides with plastic wrap, or as I did, a strip of food grade acetate. Place a cake board cut to 8" diameter on the bottom, then the bottom layer of cake. Brush this with half the fruit puree. Spoon on half the filling, then arrange the fresh fruit over this (if using strawberries, start with the sides, using halved strawberries). Dump the remaining filling over this, using an offset spatula to go over the surface to make sure there are no large air pockets. Place the top layer of cake over this push lightly over the top to compress the filling. Moisten the top layer with the remaining fruit puree. Frost the top with the sweetened whip cream, taking care not to bleed the color of the puree into it (spoon the cream over the whole surface, then fix it with an offset spatula). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Unmold and remove the plastic wrap or acetate before serving.