My last two posts were perhaps a bit heady, admittedly. And speaking of heady, my head has been spinning from all this talk about the psychology and science of food. So I thought I’d lighten things up with a cake to celebrate Spring: green tea sponge cake, yuzu mousse, lavender creme brulee, white chocolate caramel ganache, pistachio white chocolate crisp, white chocolate glaze with green tea and “lavender” macarons.
While this cake was intended for an Easter gathering, I wanted to avoid using any symbols specifically associated with the holiday. It was also for a family gathering, for which I tend to be more experimental – to their benefit or not – because they’ve tried it all, because I know they will still love me and because they will be brutally honest in their critique.
The main flavor combination of green tea and yuzu was inspired by my recent class with Michael Laiskonis. I used his flavorful green tea biscuit recipe as a base (though in his blog, he doesn’t recommend this cake for an entremet). His recipe calls for the use of trimoline, an invert sugar used for stability and also to retain moistness. Honey is an invert sugar, so I used that instead, also to see what effect it would have. There did seem to be some disparity in the structure and stability of the cake between my cake and the one made in class. Not that the cake I made didn’t hold together well; it also seemed lighter.
Yuzu is an East Asian fruit that’s not commonly found in the US. It’s more commonly found in bottled form as a juice in some Japanese grocery stores. To me it smells sweetly of clementines, yet has the sharp tang of lemons. Little did I realize that I actually grew up on this stuff in yuzu tea form called Yujacha (a Korean marmalade that is mixed with hot water, mainly used to nurse a cold – I could go for some now as I feel a bit under this ‘glorious’ April weather). At any rate, I made a yuzu mousse filling by modifying a lemon mousse recipe found here on Jen Yu’s blog. I also flavored a creme brulee insert with lavender, which also served as an excuse to introduce the lavender color in the final presentation. For a crispy texture, I made a pistachio white chocolate feuillette. There’s also a caramel white chocolate ganache insert. In the end, the cake was covered with a white chocolate glaze, and decorated with green tea and “lavender” macarons, and dried lavender.
Due to time constraints, I wasn’t going to include the caramel white chocolate ganache. I wasn’t sure about the yield of the yuzu mousse, and quickly realized after layering the creme brulee insert that I wouldn’t have enough, so I decided to make the ganache after all (I would have preferred more mousse between the pistachio white chocolate feuillette and the biscuit – it really bothers me as I look at the cross-section!). I was wary of the use of the white chocolate ganache recipe, but in the end I thought the caramely flavor didn’t compete with the flavors. I was concerned there was too much going on, but ultimately, I think the components worked together and the cake was really enjoyed by all, including an unexpected visitor – a precocious 8 year old who I wasn’t sure would appreciate the cake, but was able identify various flavors and even requested a second serving.
(I substituted powdered gelatin with gelatin sheets and lemon juice with yuzu juice.)
Pistachio White Chocolate Feuillete
50g white chocolate, chopped
15g pistachio paste
30g rice krispies, crushed
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. Add the pistachio paste and crushed rice krispies, mixing quickly and thoroughly. Spread in a thin layer onto wax paper to a size appropriate for your mold. Refrigerate until hard. Cut to desired shape (slightly smaller than your mold).
The following components were from December’s Daring Baker’s challenge, original recipes available on Saffron & Blueberry
White Chocolate Ganache Insert
25g granulated sugar
68g white chocolate, finely chopped
68g heavy cream (35% fat content)
Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small sauce pan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color.
While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil. Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
Lavender Crème Brulée
Replace vanilla with dried lavender
White Chocolate Icing (not posted on Saffron & Blueberry’s site, but available as an option in the original challenge)
1.5 gelatin sheets
3.5 oz (100g) white chocolate
2 Tbsp (30g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (90 g) whole milk
1 2/3 Tbsp (30g) glucose or thick corn syrup
Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes. Coarsely chop the chocolate and butter together. Bring the milk and glucose syrup to a boil. Add the gelatin. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until smooth.
Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.
Apologies if this recipe is confusing to follow. I just want to give proper credit to those whose recipes I’ve borrowed from!