Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fresh Fruit Fraisier

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

Daring Bakers brings cooks from across the world together once a month to create a common dish and try out recipes they might not have dared attempt on their own. The thing about Daring Bakers is that you never quite know what your challenge will be. Last month, bakers were challenged to make baklava by making their own phyllo dough. When I saw Jana's choice this month, I considered myself lucky.

A fresh fruit fraisier.

The fraisier Jana challenged us to make had a chiffon cake base, split into two parts, soaked with simple syrup to create a sponge, and then filled with homemade pastry cream. The finished cake could be topped anyway we desired (I opted for hulled, halved strawberries glazed with a cherry-orange marmalade) and had to stand without any supports. A trio of fruits--strawberries, blueberries and fresh picked black raspberries--finished the cake off perfectly. 

Not only was the Fresh Fruit Fraisier she challenged us to make adorable, it was also the perfect dessert to serve at the shower my mom and I threw earlier this month.

Fresh Fruit Fraisier
adapted from Tartine

The components of this cake can be made in advance and assembled the day before or the morning you wish to serve this cake. The cake needs at least four hours to firm up in the fridge before serving. 

Chiffon Cake

1 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
5 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a spring-form pan with parchment paper (Jana suggested an 8-inch pan. I used a 10-inch pan to much success, but I had to increase the amount of pastry cream). Do not grease the sides of the pan. 

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all ut 3 tablespoons of sugar and all of the salt. Stir to combine. 

In a small bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about 1 minute, or until very smooth. 

Put the egg whites in a medium bowl. Beat on medium speed using a whisk attachment, until froth. Add the cream of tartar and beat on medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat on medium-high speed until the whites form firm, shiny peaks. 

Using a grease-free rubber spatula, scoop about 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture and fold in gently. Gently fold in the remaining whites until just combined. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan on a wire rack. 

To unmold the cake, run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake from the pan, and remove the spring-form sides. Invert the cake on a plate and peel of the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to four days.

Pastry Cream

1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon gelatin
1/2 tablespoon water
1 cup heavy cream 

Combine the milk, vanilla and salt in a heavy saucepan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and scald it, bringing it to near its boiling point. Stir occasionally. 

At the same time, add the cornstarch and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine, using the whisk attachment on your mixer. Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch, whisking until smooth. 

When the milk is ready, gently and slowly pour the milk mixture into the cornstarch/sugar/egg mixture, whisking constantly (I found it best to have someone help me pour while I beat the mixture). 

Pour the mixture back into the warm pot and continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick, just about to boil and coats the back of a spoon.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. All the mixture to cool for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Cut the cold butter into four pieces, and whisk it into the pastry cream one piece at a time. 

Cove the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the top of the cream mixture so that there is no air trapped between the plastic wrap and the cream. This will prevent a skin from forming on the cream. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and let it stand for a few minutes. 

Put two inches of water in a small saucepan, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Measure 1/4 cup of the chilled pastry cream into a small stainless steel bowl, and place the bowl into the small saucepan with simmering water, without it touching the water. 

Heat the cream until it measures 120 degrees. Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth. Remove the mixture from the water bath, and whisk the remaining cold pastry cream into the hot mixture in two matches. 

In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator until needed.

Simple Syrup: 

1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water

Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and let the sugar dissolve. Stirring is not necessary. Remove the syrup from the heat and let cool slightly. 

Transfer the syrup to a jar, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. 

Fraisier Assembly:

1 baked chiffon cake
1 recipe pastry cream illing
1/3 cup simple syrup
2 pounds fruit (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries), plus extra strawberries for decorating the cake
Cherry-Orange Marmalade 

Line the sides of a spring form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan

Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers. Fit the bottom layer into the prepared spring form pan. Moisten the layer evenly with the simple syrup. When the cake has absorbed enough syrup to resemble a squishy sponge, you have enough.

Hull and slice in half enough strawberries to arrange around the sides of the cake pan. Place the cut side of the strawberry against the sides of the pan, point side up forming a ring.

Pipe cream in-between strawberries and a thin layer across the top of the cake. Place the remaining strawberries, blueberries and blackberries in the center of the cake. Cover the berries entirely with all of the pastry cream. If you run out of pastry cream, whip cream with a bit of powdered sugar and vanilla and fill in the remaining space. 

Place the second cake layer on top and moisten with the simple syrup. Top with halved, hulled strawberries. Brush cherry-orange marmalade over the top of the strawberries. 

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. To serve release the sides of the spring form pan and peel away the plastic wrap. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  1. wow yours turned out amazing! I love that there are a mix of berries inside it

  2. this looks AMAZING!!! how long did it you take to make it?

  3. The cake probably took 4 hours of active time (it was definitely a labor of love). There was also the baking time and the cooling time. I was lucky to have help with dishes. I wouldn't make this cake too often, but it was definitely worth it for a special treat!

  4. Welcome to the Daring Bakers! Your fraisier is beautiful. I love the cream bursting with different types of fruit. I've never come across black raspberries before. I must hunt some down.

    Definitely wishing I'd made a big fraisier now!

  5. This came out really, really well (and I know just how hard it is to get this to look right!). Great job.

  6. Thank you, Suzler! I got so lucky to be home visiting by family where we have a black raspberry patch. My mom and my dad both picked some for me!

  7. That is the most delicious looking cake I have ever seen!! I must have a slice of that!

  8. Thank you, Peggy! I wish there was a way to share a piece with you (and that I still had pieces left!).

  9. I love the pattern that the strawberries made. It is such a pretty cake!

  10. Great job on the challenge! I like how you have the mixed berries hidden on the inside when one would expect to bite into strawberries. Best, Sandie

  11. Wow, Katie, that is so fabulous! You did such a wonderful's just beautiful. I wish I could have a piece, all my favorite things in a dessert!

  12. Thats wonderfully done how well you got it to stay. It's beautiful!

  13. That first photo of your Fraisier is gorgeous! It looks so delicious. Fresh picked fruits just make it so special... lucky you!

  14. Looks gorgeous. I love how many strawberries you managed to fit into each slice. Yum

  15. Thanks for visiting my blog. This looks great, specially with such a packful of fuits.

    Event: Salad Spread

  16. Ah! Gorgeous! It looks like each bite would be absolutely heavenly!

  17. I love your arrangement of berries on top. Looks delicious!

  18. THAT is beautiful!! LOVE the side view. Great job!

  19. wow! nicely done! looks delicious! perfect for a shower :)

  20. Oh my GOSH!! That looks delicious, amazing!! Thanks for posting on my blog so I could see your blog and this yummo!! )

  21. Katie, this looks so fantastic — I had to write a blog post about it! You are cookin' girl!

  22. Thank you Nancy! What a beautiful entry! I really enjoyed reading it!