It's cool today and I'm a day late, but who cares. It's the perfect day for addressing this month's Daring Bakers' Challenge.
lime and kiwi meet blueberries
Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers' host and she challenges us to make Fresh Fraisiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.
Her versions stressed fresh strawberries, but our season has gone by, so I am concentrating on a lime chiffon cake that has kiwi and blueberry fruit accents and a lime citrus tang to the sweet syrup used to flavour the chiffon cake. I have also made blueberry jam that will get a bit of a showcase in the layers of the cake and pastry cream. I am opting out of topping the Fraisier with the almond paste, as our family does not tolerate that thick concentrated confection... sorry, Jana! Instead, there is another very thin layer of blueberry jam, pastry cream, and then a dusting of confectioner's sugar to create the topping.
simple syrup flavoured with lime strips
In reflecting on this challenge, I have to say that Jana's directions were stellar. Her advice to assemble the Fraisier on the presentation plate was good advice, as we were planning to eat it for dessert on the same day that it was assembled. It would not have transferred well, otherwise. The fun part of the assembly was deciding on the design of the fruits and jam. Once I figured out assembling two part fruit designs on the cutting board and then placing and quickly backfilling the cake with the pastry cream, I was a much happier assembler. Of course, I was a bit nervous when it came to taking the form off and removing the plastic wrap , but it looked okay and it didn't fall apart! HOWEVER, it didn't look like Jana's!
chilled and dusted
The proof, though, is in the taste. Hmmm ... light fluffy cake with a light lime flavour, rich smooth pastry cream, and tangy fruit ! It's a nice combo! Jana was right when she said you leave this project thinking about future takes on the theme!
getting ready to assemble
Fresh Fruit Fraisiers
with Lime, Kiwi, and Blueberries
Lime Chiffon Cake
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ c. canola oil
3 large egg yolks (reserve the whites for later use)
¼ c. water
Zest of one lime
5 large egg whites
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
Making the Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 325° F and line the bottom of an 8-inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the pan sides.
2. Whisk together the flour and baking powder together in a mixing bowl.
3. Add all but 3 tbsp. of the sugar and all the salt. Whisk in.
4. In another bowl, mix together the oil, egg yolks, water, lime juice, and lime zest. Whisk briskly.
5. Add the egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until very smooth – about a minute.
6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in the remaining 3 tbsp. of sugar to make a stiff meringue.
7. Scoop ⅓ of the meringue into the batter and mix in gently. Add the rest of the meringue and gently fold in just until incorporated.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes … until a cake tester comes clean when inserted in the center of the cake.
9. Remove the cake and cool in the pan on a rack.
10. To unmold, run a knife around the edge to loosen the pan. Flip the clip on the spring form pan and gently lift the ring off the cake.
11. Continue to cool and then invert the cake, remove the pan base, and gently peel the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake.
12. Turn the cake onto its serving plate and finish cooling.
Simple Syrup with Lime
⅓ c. sugar
⅓ c. water
3 good-sized strips of lime zest
Bring the ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir the syrup occasionally, as it warms and comes to a boil.
Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Store in a closed jar for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Pastry Cream Filling
1 c. whole milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
⅛ tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ tsp. gelatin powder
1 tbsp. warm water
1 c. heavy cream
Making the Pastry Cream:
1. Warm the milk, vanilla, and salt in a heavy saucepan until it is scaled and just about to begin to boil, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile in a deep bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch until smooth and there are not clots of cornstarch.
3. Add the gg and beat until very smooth.
4. When the milk is ready, dribble it down the sides of the bowl, as you beat the mixture. Add the hot milk slowly, beating continuously to combine.
5. Turn the mixture back into the warm pan and place over medium heat, stirring until it is thickened and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and cool, whisking to remove any clots and clumps.
6. Let the custard cool for 5 – 10 minutes.
7. Cut the butter into four chunks and whisk into the custard one chunk at a time until it is melted and incorporated.
8. Place the custard in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap (put the wrap right onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming). Chill.
9. Place a bowl over (and not in) simmering water. Place ⅓ of the cooled custard in the bowl and warm to 120° F.
10. While the custard warms, mix the gelatin powder and the warm water in a small cup.
11. Turn it into the warm custard and beat to combine. Remove from the heat, add the rest of the custard and whisk.
12. In another deep bowl, whip the heavy cream until peaks form. Immediately fold in the cooled custard and gelatin mixture. Fold together and chill until ready to assemble the Frasier.
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 jar blueberry jam
Peel and slice the kiwi into ¼ inch slices. Cut to your design – zig zag, center circles, whatever.
Wash and spin dry fresh blueberries.
Assembling the Fraisier:
1. Place the cake on a turn table and split the cake into two layers, using a sharp serrated knife.
2. Place the lower layer cut side up on the serving plate and brush with the simple syrup until the cake resembles a wet sponge.
3. Wrap the spring form pan ring with plastic wrap so that the inner ring is completely covered.
4. Lower the form over the lower layer and clamp it shut. Adjust the plastic wrap so that it is smooth on the inner side.
5. Spread a thin layer of blueberry jam over the lower cake layer.
6. Assemble the fruit design on a clean cutting board and press the fruit up against the inner ring/plastic wrap.
7. Quickly, backfill with most of the pastry cream, mounding some in the center and layering more blueberries atop the pastry cream.
8. Place the top layer on (depressed side down over the mound of cream and berries).
9. Spread another thin layer of blueberry jam and the rest of the pastry cream atop the Frasier.
10. Decorate with the last of the blueberries.
11. Chill the dessert for at least four hours.
12. Remove from the fridge, release the outer spring form ring. Gently peel off the plastic wrap and dust the top of the Frasier generously with confectioner’s sugar … just before slicing.
13. Store any leftover cake closely covered in the refrigerator.
a pastry bag insert was used to cut small circles from the kiwi
the depressed top of the chiffon cake is inverted over the filling when assembling the Frasier