To mark the start of September, I am going to post the third of my dessert bakes. This came from a technical challenge in the 3rd series of the Great British Bake Off – remember to see why the Great British Bake Off is my obsession @ https://andrewinthekitchen.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/why-am-i-obsessed-with-the-great-british-bake-off/ – It is called a Fraisier.
A Fraisier is traditionally made up of Genoise sponge which has pastry cream sandwiched between the two cakes. Strawberries help to keep the structure of the cake. There is a round of marzipan on top, and usually some piped chocolate decorations. The name comes from the French for strawberry, fraises, and therefore is usually only made during the summer.
To make the recipe easier, I am using a normal whisked sponge, the type that is used for a Swiss Roll. This recipe is enough for one large cake (23cm/9in) or 6 individual cakes (use 2 Swiss Roll tins to bake the sponge and then a food ring to cut out the discs). If doing 6 small cakes, make just half of the pastry cream and use half the ingredients needed for assembly.
600ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
180g caster sugar
150g butter (one of the only times I use butter)
- Make the pastry cream by warming the milk in a pan gently. Sift the sugar and cornflour into a large bowl. Whisk until just combined. Sift onto the eggs, in a heatproof bowl.
- When the milk is warmed, pour onto the egg mix, whisking and returning to a medium heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps.
- Unlike a tart filling, we need to take the pastry cream to full thickness so that it holds its shape and can be piped. When thickened, add the butter and stir.
- Pour into a bowl and chill. Make this a day ahead so it has time to fully cool. Put the chilled pastry cream into a piping bag.
Whisked Sponge and Lemon Syrup
4 whole eggs
125g caster sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
125g self-raising flour
75ml caster sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. If you are making one large cake, grease and line the 23cm springform tin. If you are using Swiss Roll tins, line the tin. A good tip is to take a large piece of baking parchment (larger than the tin) and place the tin on top. Cut out a piece that has a good inch on each side. This way, you have enough for the base and the sides. Scrunch up the paper and then push into the tin.
- Crack the 4 eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the caster sugar. Whisk the eggs and sugar together on full speed (full speed is important otherwise the eggs and sugar will not whisk up to full volume, which is essential for the texture) until pale and thick. It will reach a stage known as the ribboning stage. You can test this by lifting out the whisk and drawing a figure of eight onto the surface of the mix. The shape should be visible on the surface and eventually sink back. When this occurs, you know it is mixed enough.
- Add the lemon zest. Sift over the flour about one-third at a time. If you do it all at once, you may find the flour will all clump together, and you will lose a lot more volume as you have to overmix to incorporate all the flour. Fold in the flour gently. Repeat with the rest of the flour.
- When mixed, pour into the tin. Remember to pour close to the base of the tin so the air bubbles you created do not burst. If on the off chance there are still some pockets of flour, use a spatula to sir it in. If using the 23cm tin, bake for 25 – 30 minutes. If using the Swiss Roll tin, check the doneness after 10 minutes. It should be slightly golden and springy.
- Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before flipping out onto a wire rack to cool completely. If doing a large cake, cut the sponge in half. If doing individual cakes, take your food ring (alternatively a pastry cutter the same size) and cut out 12 discs of sponge. Meanwhile make the syrup.
- Place the ingredients for the syrup into a pan. Stir together and heat until the sugar dissolves. When the sugar dissolves, boil rapidly for two minutes. Do not allow to reduce. Set aside to cool.
Ready for Assembly:
200g plain chocolate (which has a better set)
- Roll out the marzipan on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to a thickness of 5mm. Use the base of a 23cm tin to cut a circle or cut out discs the same size as the sponge. Place on a tray and put into the fridge.
- Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water. Pour into a piping bag, cut the tip off and pipe squiggles onto a sheet of baking parchment. Going backwards and forwards looks good. Piping names of people who you are going to serve them to is very effective. Writing ‘Fraisier’ makes a large cake look incredibly professional. Remember to make the lines quite thick so they retain their shape.
- Cut the tops of some of the strawberries and halve. Set aside.
- Line the edges of another 23cm springform tin with greaseproof paper.
- Brush one half of the sponge with half of the syrup. Put into the tin. Line the edges with the halved strawberries so the cut side touches the paper.
- Pipe a spiral of pastry cream in the middle so it covers the sponge. Use the bag to pipe between the strawberries. Top the pastry cream with some chopped strawberries and then the remaining pastry cream.
- Top with the marzipan. Release the tin and transfer the cake to a serving dish. Remove the paper and top with the chocolate. The cake must remain in the fridge.
- Line a food ring with greaseproof paper. Brush the discs with the syrup.
- Take one disc and place into the ring. Line the edges with the halved strawberries so the cut side touches the paper.
- Pipe some pastry cream up to the strawberries and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Top with another disc of sponge and the disc of marzipan.
- Transfer to the serving plate and remove the ring and paper. Top with a halved strawberry and the chocolate. Keep chilled in the fridge.
You can see that the dessert is a bit stagey but it is quite cheap to make (I calculated using prices from Tesco in August, £0.62 to make for an individual portion) and is a lot cheaper than going to a patisserie and buying a dessert. A large cake is a great showstopper and an individual cake is a great present. I really loved making this dessert and it will definitely be a part of future celebrations.
Remember to share your views and tips in the comments below.