This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe (Rose Fraisier, p 103) was a perfect way to celebrate the arrival (finally!) of local strawberries. The Fraisier is a traditional French dessert – “it’s always a layer cake and the layers are never covered, because you’re meant to see the berries, cut, so their beautiful centers are clearly in sight, standing up tall and nestled in a thick cushion of cream,” according to Dorie. The image in the book is intimidating (it’s a large cake meant to serve 12 people) and because I knew that I didn’t need a huge cake all to myself last weekend (well, maybe I might have liked one amongst the marking and report cards but hey…), I chose to – shocker, I know, minify this, halving the recipe and making three 4″ fraisiers (so, in theory serving 6 people but at least two of those were eaten as single serves….) and it was the perfect entry point into this sometimes-difficult-to-construct dessert.
It’s an easy enough recipe – just divided into lots of parts. First you make a yoghurt cake for the base (this is Dorie’s twist on what is normally a genoise), then some pastry cream into which you fold some whipped cream (thickened with gelatin) at the last minute. You construct your cake by cutting it in half, putting a thin spread of the cream on the bottom layer, standing strawberries up across the base (the outer layer facing out), then topping them with a thick layer of the cream. Once that’s done all that remains is to pop the top layer on, glaze the top cake layer with a little jam or jelly, then top with whipped cream. Sounds simple, huh? This cake is freeform so no need for a ring mold (though I suspect it might have been much easier had I used some parchment to line my tins – like when I made mini entremets) so it really is meant to be accessible to and do-able by most home bakers.
I did find my pastry cream impossibly runny (the whipped cream never really thickened significantly despite the addition of the gelatin) so I had to proceed with caution most of the way when I was assembling. I noticed, though that the leftover pastry cream thickened beautifully in the fridge after a few hours (hello lovely report card writing snack!) so next time I might let the pastry cream set once I’ve added the whipped cream (it was lovely and thick before I did) before I try to assemble the cake. My cakes sat in the fridge for a few hours before we ate them and by then the pastry cream was holding the cake together beautifully.
This cake has notes of lime, ginger and rose which, to be quite honest, I couldn’t really taste. I might bump those flavours up next time. The whipped cream on top tasted very much like the rose extract it’s flavoured with and I think I would have liked that to come through in the cake a little more. No matter, despite some hairy moments assembling this, it came out beautifully. And for those of you tempted, 1/2 the recipe makes the perfect amount for three 4″ cakes with a nice amount of pastry cream left over for you to pair with fruit later in the week (someone should sell this stuff!).
Get the recipe for Dorie’s Rose Fraisier here or on p 103 of Baking Chez Moi.
Tuesdays with Dorie participants don’t publish the recipes on our blogs, so you’re encouraged to purchase Baking Chez Moi for yourself which you can do on Amazon (this link should bring you to the Amazon store in your country) or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository. Then join us, baking our way through the book!
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