Building entremets: framboisie, equateur, fruit cheesecake, san marco, soleil indien, opéra
Saturday, November 12, 2011

This past week, we made 6 different types of entremets (large cakes). To complete all the entremets, our mise en place required making over 20 different recipes for the various components of the cakes.

On Monday, we made most of the cake bases and layers for the entremets. The days following, we made variations of mousses, pastry creams, and buttercreams that go inside the cakes. We didn’t get to the finishing touches due to the short week (Armistice Day in France or Remembrance Day for Canadians) so I’ll be posting pictures of the completed entremets next week.

1. Framboise, a pistachio dacquoise (almond cake) with vanilla cream and raspberries.

Ingredients for the dacquoise: almond powder, icing sugar (sitting under the almond powder), egg whites, pistachio paste, and granulated sugar.

To make the dacquoise, we begin by whipping the egg whites with sugar until firm peaks. Then, we add a bit of the beaten whites to the pistachio paste to help dilute and soften its consistency so that it can be incorporated into the whites. After that, we fold in the sifted almond powder and icing sugar (also known as tant pour tant). Then, we pipe this into 18cm diameter circles.

We use this same recipe to make both the base (called dacquoise) and the border (called joconde) of the framboisie cake. For the joconde, we spread it into an even, thin layer on a baking tray to bake.

Then we cut the joconde into strips to line our cake rings and place the dacquoise inside.

Afterwards, we make a suprême vanille which is a made with whipping cream folded into a crème anglaise. The procedure for making a crème anglaise is similar to that of pastry cream but without the use of custard powder or cornstarch. It has a thick, liquid consistency versus a custard consistency for pastry cream.

Then we plant fresh raspberries into the suprême vanille.

Then, we fill with more suprême vanille and then freeze it so that the cream is set. After, we make a pistachio french buttercream (made with eggs, cooked sugar syrup, butter) to cover the cake.

To decorate, we paint a little raspberry jam on the pistachio buttercream, and cover the entire cake with a thin layer of clear glaze. Now it's complete!

We cut up Chef's framboisie in the afternoon to taste. Ours will be used for the school's restaurant next week.

2. Equateur, a coffee cake with coffee cream and crème brûlée inside.

The Equateur begins with a coffee dacquoise base, made just like the pistachio one above, except flavoured with coffee extract and orange zest. But, there is also a coffee genoise (sponge cake) layer which we have to make separately.

Coffee dacquoise (almond cake) on the left and coffee genoise (sponge cake) on the right.

Then, we make a coffee Saint-honoré cream. There are two components to the cream, a crème pâtissière (pastry cream) and egg whites whipped to firm peaks.

The crème pâtissière (pastry cream or custard) is made by whisking hot milk into the eggs, sugar, custard powder, and then cooking until thickened.

Then you add the gelatin, and fold in egg whites whipped with sugar to firm peaks.

To assemble the equateur, we place the coffee dacquoise at the base, brushed with coffee syrup. Then, we spread a layer of the Saint-honoré cream, and on top of that goes a frozen disk of crème brûlée made earlier.

On top of the crème brûlée goes more Saint-honoré cream, and then a layer of coffee syrup-soaked genoise.

We cover with the remaining Saint-honoré cream and freeze until next week when we will be adding the finishing touches.

3. Fruit cheesecake; it’s made of an almond biscuit base, with a fruit jam, and a cream cheese fromage blanc cream.

Here's the almond biscuit base we make first. It's made with egg whites whipped with sugar until firm peaks. Then, finely chopped nuts (almond, hazelnut, pistachio) are folded in and it's spread on a large baking tray and baked.

Our fruit jam centre is made with cranberries, pears, oranges, apricots, and currents. We were all thinking about packing some of this leftover jam to keep for Turkey weekend next week.

Fruit jam spread evenly on top of the almond biscuit.

Finally, we make the top cream layer by folding fromage blanc into a crème anglaise. Fromage blanc is a creamy french cheese that has the consistency of sour cream. Chef taught us to pour the cream onto the back of a large ladle to prevent the (not yet set) flat layer of jam from being disturbed.

4. Soleil indien, an almond biscuit, suprême caramel with and cognac-soaked pears, and Saint-honoré cream.

It begins just like the fruit cream cheese cake, with an almond biscuit cake base.

The suprême caramel is made just like the suprême vanille above. We make a crème anglaise flavoured with caramel, fold in whipped cream and italian meringue (made with egg whites and cooked sugar syrup) as well in this case. Then, we fold in diced and drained cognac-soaked pears. We put a little mountain of the suprême caramel on top of the almond biscuit.

Then, we make a Saint-honoré cream to cover the suprême caramel and pears.

5. San Marco, a pistachio and chocolate mousse cake.

The San Marco begins with another pistachio dacquoise, made the same way as in the Framboisie. You can see in the picture that the cake base is a bit smaller than the ring. The reason for this is so that mousse can fill the spaces and your finished cake will be cleaner and easier to glaze.

On top of the pistachio dacquoise is a chocolate mousse made from melted dark chocolate (at 55°C), pâté à bombe (cooked and whisked mixture of egg yolks and sugar), and cream (whipped to soft peaks). Although a simple recipe, the temperature and consistency of each component is very important as you can easily get a slightly curdled mousse.

To assemble the chocolate mousse, we whisk a little (1/2 cup) of the whipped cream into the dark chocolate, then whisk in the remaining whipped cream. If we whisk in the cream all at once, the big temperature difference will cause some of the chocolate to set too early and you will get a slightly curdled mousse. After the cream, we fold in the the pâté à bombe. The pâté à bombe is made by heating a mixture of egg yolks and sugar to 80°C, and then whisking until light and foamy.

On top of the chocolate mousse is a pistachio bavarois. This is made by folding whipped cream into a crème anglaise flavoured with pistachio.

Then, on top of the pistachio bavarois, we make another chocolate mousse and spread on top to decorate.

We use a patterned ruler to make lines on half the cake, and then make a chocolate glaze to cover the other half. The glaze is made with a cooked sugar syrup, combined with a mixture of cream, glucose, red food colouring (intensifies the dark brown), cocoa powder, and added to chopped chocolate and gelatin.

We removed the ring after and froze the cake for next week when we will be adding the finishing touches.

6. Opéra, a classic layered cake of almond cake, coffee buttercream, and chocolate ganache.

The opéra begins with a joconde (almond cake) base, brushed with coffee syrup.

Then, we cover with a layer of coffee-flavoured french buttercream.

Then, another layer of joconde brushed with coffee syrup.

Then, a layer of dark chocolate ganache which forms the centre. After that, we repeat with another layer of joconde, and buttercream.

The finished cake should have 7 layers in total: joconde, buttercream, joconde, ganache, joconde, buttercream, chocolate glaze. It's not all visible because our joconde layers in the centre didn't reach the edges. We will be trimming and coating the cake with a final layer of ganache next week.

As you can see by now, French pastry chefs don’t take shortcuts anywhere. All their cakes are complicated and require lots of separate recipes made from real, qaulity ingredients. This is why I and most of the French population can justify spending 6 Euros for a small pastry the size of my palm. French pastries are truly an art and skill that takes decades to master.

One Glorious Comment
  • Ja (
    November 22, 2011
    wow, love this so much, very detail ! thanks :)