Friday, 21 September 2012

Fraisier trifle and a master class with Eric Lanlard

(Ridiculously long post with loads pics and info, so feel free to scoot right away)
A few weeks back, some of us food bloggers were invited to a master class with Eric Lanlard featuring Nielsen-Massey Vanilla products at his signature store Cake Boy in London. It was an evening packed with loads of information on vanilla (which was truly an eye opener), yummy canapés and of course Eric Lanlard showcasing his fabulous baking skills by making a gorgeous French Fraisier, a cake so gorgeous to look at, you wont feel like cutting into it. And what a charming patissier he full of energy, clearing our doubts, engaging us in conversation about baking and of course cute!!! :)

The class ended on a fine note with all of us getting goody bags along with the recipe of the fraisier cake and a challenge at hand. We were asked to create something to rival Eric's fraisier and blog about it. I have been breaking my head about it for so long to an extent it started haunting me in my sleep. I finally got around to doing the challenge a couple of days back and here is my take on it.
Since a fraisier cake was slightly out of my league, well mostly because it was just the two of us at home and scared that we would both finish it off in one sitting, I steered away from it. Instead I went ahead with a Fraisier trifle with all the goodness of the cake, but half the effort and oh so pretty they look in a glass and a great dessert idea since individual portions are less messier and storage in refrigerator is easier. 

I had baked a cake the day before for a friend and had some remaining which was on my kitchen counter nicely wrapped in cling film waiting to be assembled. I then set about making the filling of custard butter cream or fancily referred to as crème mousselini which I think is gods gift to bakers, especially to bakers who hate plain butter cream and cant pipe a frosting for nuts. I started off convinced I would screw it up somewhere and end up wasting a whole lot of ingredients, but when I saw it all come together, I knew I'd succeeded. And OMG I couldn't stop licking it from the mixing bowl and when I tried piping it on to a cupcake, it worked out just as fine and for the first time I had managed to pipe it without it it falling flat or it being too stiff it refuses to come out of the nozzle. I can very well say this is going to be my fav frosting as of now and my next experiment would be to try this with custard powder instead of making it from scratch. Yes laziness is my second name, in case you hadn't figured it out by now.
Although Eric's recipe was the base of all this experimenting, I did tweak it a bit here and there to suit my availability of ingredients. Eric's cake was a basic sponge cake, (which I am definitely going to try some day) whereas I used a vanilla buttermilk cake which has provided me with great results. I feel its best on its own as a tea cake, but of course so versatile you can use it as a base for any other fancy stuff, like a Tiramisu cake for example. It is light and airy, and moist at the same time making it impossible to hate. My love for plain cakes and that too vanilla flavoured ones never end, so this is the latest addition to the list, with the French yoghurt cake still topping the list (more so because of how easy it is)

Anyhoo, the final outcome was great and we did enjoy scooping it out and eating mouthfuls. Next time however, I would omit the toasted marzipan, only because I'm not a big fan, not because its bizarre or anything. When I have something to celebrate, I would also try doing the entire cake like the one above so I can share the calorie intake with others and not suffer on my own. In the mean time, I am thoroughly enjoying the Nielsen-Massey Vanilla paste and extract that is making its way through to almost all my cooking expeditions (sweet of course) ;)

For Eric's original recipe, follow this link. I am giving my version here, with Eric's recipe as the base. The measurements given are for the fraisier cake on the whole and not the trifle. I have, however, explained how I went about getting the trifle in order.

Vanilla Buttermilk cake (recipe adapted from here, makes 2- 9 inch cakes or 12 large cupcakes)
Cake flour- 2 cups (make your own by measuring 2 cups of plain flour and taking out 2tbsp of flour from that and replacing it with 2tbsp of cornflour. sift it together. This results in a more tender crumb)
Baking powder- 2 tsp
Baking soda- 1/8th tsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Unsalted butter- 10 tbsp, at room temperature (or 142 gms, 1 1/4 sticks)
Sugar- 1 cup
Eggs- 3 large
Egg yolk- 1 large
Vanilla extract- 1 1/2 tsp (of course I used Nielsen-Massey)
Buttermilk- 3/4th cup

Sift together the first 4 ingredients into a bowl and keep aside.
Into the bowl of a free standing mixer with paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on medium speed till soft and creamy.
Add the sugar and continue beating till the mix becomes light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
In goes the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Follow with the egg yolk and beat it in.
Beat in the vanilla. At this point the batter may look curdled, don't panic, just keep doing the good deed.
Now reduce the mixer speed to the lowest and add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternatively, starting and ending with the flour mix.
Scrape down the sides, making sure no traces of flour is seen and everything is mixed well.
Pour into the lined cake pans and bake in an oven pre heated at 176C for about 30 minutes or till golden brown and the skewer test comes out positive.
If making cupcakes, fill liners till about 3/4th full and bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, checking in between.
Cool completely on wire racks and then cling wrap it and leave it at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Creme Mousselini (combination of Eric Lanlard's recipe and from here, makes 1 cup)
Creme patissiere/ pastry cream- 1 cup (recipe below)
Unsalted butter- 150 gms cut into cubes, at room temperature

Creme patissiere
Whole milk- 1 1/4 cups
Sugar- 1/4 cup
Egg yolks- 3 large or 4 small
Plain flour- 2 tbsp
Corn flour- 2 tbsp
Vanilla bean paste- 1 tsp (I used Nielsen Massey)
Kirsch liqueur- 1 tsp (optional)

Into a heat proof bowl throw in the sugar and egg yolks and whisk till you get a smooth mix.
Sift together the plain flour and corn flour and add to the egg, whisking till you get a lump free, smooth mix. Don't let this mixture sit for too long as the sugar will start eating into the eggs, thus making pieces of egg form. (thanks to cake boy for that piece of valuable information)
Meanwhile, pour the milk into a saucepan placed over medium heat, and bring to a gentle boil, just till the milk starts foaming up.
Take it off the flame and add it to the egg mix, bit by bit, whisking continuously till well incorporated. If you find pieces of curdled egg don't panic just run it through a sieve.
Return this mix back to the saucepan placed over medium heat and cook till boiling, whisking continuously to prevent the custard from sticking to the bottom and forming lumps. This takes quite a while, so patience is highly recommended.
When the custard boils and has become thick and silky smooth, continue whisking for about a minute longer and then take it off the flame.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and add half of the butter, whisking well to incorporate it into the custard.
Cover with a cling film and leave to cool in the refrigerator. Or if you have time on the kitchen counter.
Once completely cool, add the vanilla bean paste and liqueur (if using) and whisk it in.
Add the remaining butter bit by bit whisking well after each addition to get a smooth and gorgeous creme mousselini which makes a perfect frosting.

For assembling
Ripe strawberries- 1 kg, hulled
Marzipan- 200 gms, rolled out and cut into 9 inch circle.
Melted chocolate- for decoration
When ready to assemble, unwrap the cake and slice off the top if it has domed.
Then place the cake at the bottom of a cake ring and using a palette knife, spread a thin layer of creme mousselini over it.
Cut some of the strawberries in half and place it around the edge of the ring, cut half facing out.
Fill the centre with the remaining strawberries, making them stand upright. (the trifle version is as below).
Spread the remaining creme mousseline on top of the strawberries, trying to fill in the gaps as much as possible.
Place the second layer of cake on top and press down to settle them all in.
Place the cut out marzipan on top, flute the edges and toast using a blow torch.
Melt the chocolate and use it to write 'Fraisier' on top and decorate the cake a bit. Also use some strawberries dipped in chocolate to adorn the sides.
Chill for a few hours before you unmould to get a gorgeous looking cake.

Fraisier trifle     
Crumble some of the cake roughly and keep ready. You can also cut them into the exact size of the glass, but I didn't have the patience.
Get 3 see through glasses, tumblers, martini glass, pudding mould...anything you fancy and layer the bottom with the crumbled cake...generously and tuck it in lightly.
Melt about 3 tbsp of strawberry jam lightly and mix with 1 tsp water.
Spread a thin layer of jam on top of the cake.
Cut the strawberries as mentioned above and place them inside the glass, cut side outward.
Fill with one large strawberry upright.
Top generously with creme mousselini, filling in the gaps as much possible, but really its no big deal because the messier a trifle looks, the better.
Top with a toasted marzipan and chill till ready to serve.
Notes: I don't own a blow torch so I rolled out the marzipan, cut them into rounds and placed under the grill for about 2 to 3 minutes to lightly toast it. But as you can see I ended up burning most of it. Take extreme care when you do this as one blink of the eye and you can end up with black marzipan.

Now I'm gonna say a lil prayer and hope I become the competition winner :)

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend Eric Lanlard's masterclass


Happy Cook / Finla said...

Lucky you for getting a chance for a master class like this. I am so going to try that cream for the cupcakes. And love that trifle too.

Noemi said...

Wonderlful!!! :)
I love Eric, he is a very baker <3
Bye! Have a nice weekend

Vimitha Anand said...

Oh you got to see him bake.. awesome... Love his recipes... And that trifle looks too good

Suchi said...

Wow Nisha the trifle looks awesome :-) Am all worried now :-)

Suja Manoj said...

Wow that is great dear,lucky u :)
trifle is awesome dear,great pics.

Amina Khaleel said...

wonderful post.. looks like you had a great time at the master class... and your trifle looks simply superb....

Turmeric n Spice said...

Am i allowed to cry here....i love and want this.

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Glad to see that you had an excellent class with the Master Chef. Trifle looks so delicious and tempting.

Nithya said...

All the best buddy. It sure looks fantastic :)

Kajal, Pavan and Oreo (previously known as Non stick, Nutty and Sous chef) said...

I'd swoon if i met Eric Lanlard in person. honest! :) i dont like butter cream myself and Crème mousseline sounds divine, but i always had a question about its consistency. as in,always wondered if it wouldn't get runny with the add of butter. but your piped cupcake is proof and it looks so pretty! and i sure hope you win the competition! :)
P.S: those trifles look gorgeous!

Indu said...

Absolutely love it. I love trifles, but I would never say no to a huge slice of Eric's cake either. The pics are bright and cheerful.

The chef looks a bit like Saif ALi Khan?


Anonymous said...

Gorgeous! Im hearing about creme mousselini for the first time. Maybe condensed milk would also go well, in place of whole milk?

Nagalakshmi V said...

i am not sure if we have connected before but i must say i was quite thrilled to see a comment from you on my latest post :)

i have been silently reading you for a long time now and went and bought this vanilla extract after seeing your post. it's insanely expensive in singapore but i am sure it will be worth it. the smell is so heady, to begin with!

Vijitha said...

Hello girl,
Wow, you attended a session with Eric. Yes he does look like Saifu to me :-) I recently received three bottles of Magagascar Vanilla extract and I must they were so flavorful and little was more than enough to flavor my cakes. I love your pictures as always.

Thanks for your comments on my MIL's briyani. Glad you liked it. Thanks for pointing out the missing steps. You know with my son around, I write so fast that I don't read the contents slowly. :-(

Poornima Nair said...

I love the trifle idea, really hope you win! The class sounds so much fun and Eric does look super cute. The frosted cupcake looks fabulous, have to try the frosting soon!

dishesfrommykitchen said...

I am way toooooooooo tempted Nisha... I love fraisier and in a glass..nice idea and its easy to serve as individual portions.... Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

i have always loved mini desserts, something in a cup or fancy wine glass. It looks pretty and you know when to stop.

Reflections said...

These pics are gorgeous Nisha!!!
Did u win????

And tht tip abt cutting strawberries and placing them sideways is going to be useful;-D

p.s: ur header is beautiful:-))

Anonymous said...

They are brilliant - what a great idea. I just made mine and was wondering what everyone else had done. I did a winter-frasier using plums and cinnamon. I'm so glad we had the masterclass!

Shibi Thomas said...

Looks yummy!!! I think I will try the cup ones!!! said...

What a cute version of my recipe!! I love it, it’s the perfect dessert for a large family and there’s no cutting of the cake to get stressed about. You kept all the different parts of the recipe like the sponge, sliced strawberry and even the little disc of toasted marzipan …. great work.
Glad you enjoyed the vanilla masterclass and that it inspired you.
Keep up the good work!
Happy baking