No, I am not pathetic, I just like to write before I forget the recipes [read: too lazy to have to look them up].
My culinary life has taken quite a turn. I make that out to be much more dramatic than it actually is, but I am quite excited about it. I've finally joined one of the most revered blogrolls in culinary cyberspace. The Daring Bakers, to be precise.
Towards the end of December, I joined the Daring Bakers, one of two "chapters" of the Daring Kitchen blogroll (the other being the Daring Cooks). At the start of every month, the Daring Bakers reveals a Challenge Recipe that all members of the chapter are to bake and post on their own blogs on the 27th. This month, my first official month as a Daring Baker and my first month participating, the recipe challenge was for biscuit joconde imprimé, which I filled with a mango mousse entrement.
You know those gorgeous little, cylindrical layer cakes you see in pastry shop windows? The ones with decorative "wrappings" around them, designed with intricate patterns and colors? Filled to the brim with mousses, puddings, cheesecakes, Bavarian creams, and the like? Turns out, it's not an impossible feat. A difficult one, yes, but not impossible.
Biscuit joconde imprimé is a light, almond spongecake with a decorative design baked into it. The joconde batter is baked in thin sheets, and its flexibility allows the pâtissier to use it to line the outsides of Charlottes or mousses. [Incidentally, "La Joconde" is the French name of the Mona Lisa]. Entrement, a French term literally meaning "between servings", refers to a small dish served between courses, or more commonly, a dessert dish. As a dessert, entrements are layered cakes alternating numerous layers of spongecake or génoise and pastry cream. So, when put together, the joconde imprimé serves as the outer "wrapper" of the entrement filling.
This recipe has a few components, but is also extremely flexible, insofar as what entrement you choose. There's the joconde paste [or pâte à cigarette, as I've seen it called as well], the joconde sponge, and the entrement [which in my case consisted of a mango mousse and a mango mirror]. I'm not going to lie, there were some...complications when I made this. Long story short, three hours, 20 eggs, two do-overs, and one still somewhat dissatisfied novice baker later, the joconde was done. Just the joconde. The mango mousse, made the day after with the help of my favorite sous baker, Tommy, took another few hours [though this includes chill time]. Overall, though, as unexpectedly time-consuming as this turned out, I'm glad it was the challenge recipe. I would never have learned how to replicate those gorgeous little cakes otherwise.
Not that I have the skill required to replicate those, by any stretch of the imagination, but it at least gives me some direction. And another opportunity to bake with friends. And for my mother to snicker at my culinary inadequacies. Everyone wins!
Hm. I didn't love the way mine turned out. The sponge cake was sloppy, and my technique was off since I wasn't quite sure what to expect. And my imprimé, despite having baked quite well, came out rather shoddy, since the mirror dripped down the sides of the spongecake walls before it was able to set, and consequently the walls stuck to the sides of the pan.
Overall, not one of my best cakes, nor one that I'm super satisfied with, but once those mini springforms come in, I'm positive I will be attempting more of these. I'm feeling a chocolate espresso mousse cake next...
In other news, not quite sure why promises of snow keep failing us here in Cville. It's getting highly distressing. I mean, I just want to curl up with some coconut Oolong and my new mug and not have to go to class. Is that so much to ask?