Hello again, I’m quite excited about this post because I just had my first practical assessment week and I could do a little review (YAYY!!). One major part of this week’s assessment is making French puff pastry, which was needed to make vol-au-vent, bouchee, and palmier. Learning to make puff pastry myself was quite a journey; yes, it is a long and technical process but hey, it’s actually very fun and rewarding when you see the result. Although I still panicked everytime I used the dough sheeter ( the chance of dropping the pastry on the ground is so high, well at least for me, if you don’t pay enough attention), I successfully produced puff pastry products that rose beautifully and were flaky and buttery :). Sorry that I didn’t take any pictures of them as I was too preoccupied that day.
Other assessment items for the week include linzer torte, baklava, coffee eclairs and fruit flan. I didn’t get to practise on linzer torte because I got sick last week; luckily, it was a rather straightforward dessert with an elegant look. Also, we had to make baklava, a rich buttery dessert made of layers of filo pastry filled with grinded nuts soaked with syrup. I wasn’t a big fan of baklava as I found it too heavy when I first tasted it a few weeks back then, but I realised that it tasted so much better when served cool/cold.
Coffee eclairs and fruit flan were the last assessment items for this week. As we did a lot of mise en place the day before (i.e. pastry cream and sweet pastry dough), it was the most relaxing day among all. When I made my eclairs yesterday, my choux pastry got too liquidy as I added too much egg. So I had to quickly make another choux pastry without falling behind my schedule too much. Luckily I got back on track and got to finish and present my items on time. What a relief!
At this point, you may wonder what we will be mainly making for our final assessment next monday. It’s Zuger Kirschtorte. Zuger Kirschtorte is a traditional layer cake from Switzerland with layered with japonaise (almond-meringue), kirschwasser flavoured génoise sponge, and buttercream. Normally, the outer layer of the cake is coated with flaked almond as well. I absolutely love this cake because of its intricate complexity – it is layered with various elements working together to create beautiful textures and flavour combinations.
For the recipe I am sharing here*, it holds the essence of the cake with a raspberry twist. I decided to incorporate raspberry to the cake for three reasons. Firstly, the buttercream has to be pink for the final assessment, maybe for aesthetic reasons (?), so I reckon raspberry would be a good choice to fit the color. Secondly, the tangy and sweet flavours of raspberry would complement the richness of buttercream perfectly. Thirdly, they look so damn good as decoration no? This cake is perfect for celebration, especially when it’s in this ridiculously adorable pink color haha. Finger crossed that I can successfully finish making this cake next monday! Enjoy the weekend 🙂
*Recipe and Instructions given are adapted from those provided by Le Cordon Bleu.
- 100g whole eggs, room temperature
- 65g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 65g plain flour
- 20g melted butter
- Preheat oven at 190C.
- Grease and line a 6 inch pan.
- Using an electric mixter, mix eggs, vanilla, and sugar on medium speed until thick and pale (or ribbon stage is reached).
- Fold in sifted flour and melted butter alternatively. Gently mix until no flour is visible.
- Pour batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Bake at 190C for 15-18 mins until golden brown, or when a skewer inserted into the cake’s centre comes out clean. Let cool and unmold the cake. Cut a slice of the cake (around 2 cm thick) with a serrated knife; set aside.
- 95g egg whites
- 60g caster sugar
- pinch of cream of tar tar
- 20g corn flour, sifted
- 95g ground almond
- 70g caster sugar
- Preheat oven at 170C.
- Using an electric mixer (make sure the whisk and bowl are oil-free), beat egg whites and cream of tar tar on high speed until stiff. Gradually add in sugar and mix for another 2 mins.
- Mix corn flour, ground almond, and caster sugar in a bowl. These are your dry ingredients; set aside.
- Fold in half of the egg white mix to the dry ingredients. Mix gently.
- Add the remaining egg white mix and gently blend until just incorporated. Important: be as gentle as you can in this step. Don’t overmix to avoid the mixture from becoming too thin.Put the batter into a piping bag with a plain round nozzle. Pipe two 6 inch discs onto silicone paper.
- Bake at 170C for 20-25 mins until golden brown.
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g water
- 30ml kirsch
- Bring the sugar and water to the boil.
- When cooled, add the Kirsch.
Raspberry vanilla italian buttercream
- 160g caster sugar
- 40ml water
- 100g egg white
- 250g unsalted butter, room temperature and chopped to small cubes
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 tbsp raspberry jam
- few drops of red food coloring
- In a medium pot, boil sugar and water.
- When syrup reaches 110 C, start whisking egg whites with an electic mixer on high speed.
- When syrup reaches 118C, add syrup in a fast stream (be careful with the hot syrup!) to the egg whites. Continue whisking until the mixture is light and cooled to room temperature.
- Add butter to the italian meringue piece by piece. Add raspberry jam. Continue mixing until no butter cubes are visible, and the buttercream is smooth and creamy.
- Set aside for frosting.
Homemade raspberry jam (can substitute store-bought jam):
- 125g fresh raspberry
- 125g sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Bring sugar and raspberries in a saucepan on high heat for around 2 mins until all sugar has dissolved. Mash raspberries with a fork as you go.
- Turn to medium heat, continue to cook the jam until it’s thickened enough to your liking.
- Turn off heat. Add lemon juice and mix well.
- Transfer the jam into airtight jar for later use.
- Assemble gateau using two discs of japonaise sandwiched with raspberry jam, buttercream and Genoise sponge soaked with kirsch syrup.
In other words,
- Firstly put a disc of japonaise as the cake base.
- Then, pipe 1 cm thick of italian buttercream. Spread raspberry jam on top of italian buttercream.
- Add the sponge cake. Generously brush the kirsch syrup onto the sponge cake until it’s well soaked.
- Repeat step 2.
- Put the 2nd disc of japonaise on top of the sponge cake.
- Frost the cake with italian buttercream and decorate it with garnishes to your liking.
Choice of garnish
- Flaked almond
- Fresh raspberry
- Chopped roasted pistachios