I must admit, I have been slack with the Daring Baker’s Challenge in the last few months. Upon discovering what the challenge would be at the start of the month I would often say “What a great challenge! I can’t wait!” Then only to find that it’s almost the end of the month and I haven’t even started making it yet as my dear old friend procrastination drops by for a visit! Old habits die hard…
This month was the same. I was super excited about the challenge but left it to the very last minute to make it. I’m so glad that my baking gods answered my prays as pretty much everything turned out fine. The challenge was to make a biscuit joconde imprime to wrap around an entrement dessert. A joconde imprime is a decorative designed baked onto a sponge which is used to wrap around desserts. What I loved about this month’s challenge was the fact that I got to learn a new technique and have the freedom to be creative with this.
For the joconde, I kept it simple and opt for a chocolate paste and strokes (but you could also step up the creativity levels by piping out the design to have the sponge as a background instead). I had read on the forums earlier that a few people were having some problems with the recipe; temperature was too high and baking time was too long, and hence people burnt their joconde to a crisp. So I decided to lower the temperature and keep an eye the joconde as it baked.
I couldn’t believe how many egg whites were used for this recipe. With the leftover egg yolks, I froze them according to this so I can make some icecream and creme caramel as it would seem like a waste to throw all those yolks out. And for something that looks this impressive I was extremely surprised how easy it was to make.
Salted caramel. The only thoughts going through my mind during this month when I was trying to figure out what filling I should make to be wrapped up with the biscuit joconde imprime. I had also wanted to create more layers/components but due to time constraints and procrastination I didn’t. This was the first time that I had made caramel using the dry method as I had always been afraid that I would end up burning the sugar and having hot caramel splatter on me. I am quite happy with how the mousse turned out, the chocolate provided a sweetness to combat the slightly burnt, salty flavours of the caramel.
The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a biscuit joconde imprime to wrap around an entremets dessert.
NB – The recipe for the biscuit joconde was sourced from Chef John O. while Astheroshe was attending The International Culinary School in Atlanta, Georgia USA. As I was making the biscuit joconde, I found that the amount of paste from the given recipe was way too much for the sponge. I’ve adjusted the recipe so that it makes two 25x38cm (10″x15″) sheet of joconde, which is more than plenty to cover a 20cm cake.
Biscuit joconde imprime
Chocolate joconde-décor paste
115g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups (115g) icing sugar
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup (95g) cake flour (a link on how to make cake flour – for the entire joconde)
35g cocoa powder
[NB - For a tinted paste, increase the cake flour to 1 cup (125g) and exclude the cocoa powder and tint batter with food colouring until desired colour is reached]
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Gradually add egg whites and beat continuously.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder together in a bowl.
- Fold in sifted flour mixture.
3/4 cup (85g) almond meal
1/2 cup (75g) icing sugar
1/4 cup (25g) cake flour
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
2 1/2 tsp (10g) caster sugar
2 tbs (30g) unsalted butter, melted
- In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and caster sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve for later use.
- Sift almond flour, icing sugar and cake flour in a bowl.
- Add the eggs a little at a time, mix well after each addition until smooth and light.
- Fold in one third of whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
- Fold in melted butter.
To make the patterned joconde
- Place silicone baking mat or baking paper on an upside down baking tray (to make it easy to spread). Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 5mm (1/4 inch) thick onto lined baking tray.
- Design your pattern.
- Place the baking tray in the freezer for approx 15mins until frozen.
- Preheat the oven to 200C (390F).
- Pour the joconde sponge batter over the design and spread evenly to completely cover.
- Bake in oven for about 10mins or until joconde springs back when lightly pressed. Cool.
Salted caramel mousse
Adapted from Pastry Pal
1/3 cup (80) granulated sugar
3tbs unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups cream; divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup
1/2 tsp table salt
- Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar in a lightly colored-pan set over medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle in more sugar once the sugar has melted; keep adding the sugar until all in.
- Swirling the pan around to help the sugar caramelising more evenly.
- Working quickly (to avoid burning the sugar), add butter cubes and whisk them in.
- Add the 1/2 cup of cream graduallyRADUALLY, and continue to whisk (even if the cream sputters and rolls and the sugar seizes and hardens) until smooth. Remove from heat.
- Add salt and mix until completely dissolved.
- Meanwhile, take the remaining 1 cup of cream, and whip it to soft peaks. Chill until required.
- Melt chocolate in a separate bowl then stir in caramel.
- Whisk caramel mixture in a rapid motion to create a slightly thick emulsion. Set aside to cool to lukewarm (if you try to fold in the cream while the caramel mixture is warm, the mousse will all turn soupy).
- Gently fold in about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the bowl.
- Gently fold the rest of the whipped cream until all the cream is incorporated.
- Pour it into ramekins or glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow it to set up.
Assembling the cake (here’s a video demonstrating this step)
- Place spring form pan ring (with base removed) on serving plate and line the inside of the ring with a rolled up piece of baking paper or acetate sheets.
- Trim the joconde of any dark crispy edges and cut into strips of desired height and length and also base for the ring.
- Place the base in the ring and press the cake strips inside of the ring, decorative side facing outward; overlaping the ends slightly. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. (The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place and you can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough).
- Joconde is ready to be filled.