OK, a departure from my usual blog snarkiness (although, only a little…I will save it for the demonic French bakers who invented this insufferably inscrutable dessert!). I started participating in the Daring Kitchen‘s monthly Daring Bakers Challenge, a non-competitive collaborative effort to push us novice bakers out of our comfort zones and create something new. Every month, literally hundreds of intrepid bakers take on a new dessert, one that has foiled many. This month, I totally failed at this month’s dessert: the entremet with biscuit joconde imprimé. (See the pictures below if you don’t believe me)
The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.
So here’s what this dessert is: a multi-layer dessert cake, usually round, with soft layer fillings held in by a “jovially-imprinted biscuit” that wraps around the dessert. This is what they’re supposed to look like:
Now, look at mine:
So this was my entremet:
- chocolate biscuit joconde imprime (base & sides)
- vanilla bavarois (Bavarian cream) – this came out delicious; I used a real vanilla bean and I think this gave it a much better flavor than extract
- a pretzel/chocolate “croustillant” layer – this came out nice, too
- a hazelnut mousse – tasted delicious, but would not set, even after chilling in the refrigerator for 2 hours
- a chocolate mirror glaze – couldn’t really see it reflect, since it plunged past the soft mousse
I had really wanted to make a hazelnut mousse, but there was only one recipe I was able to find that also didn’t include chocolate. I had never made an egg-based mousse before, so I suppose I didn’t know how to troubleshoot any oddness in the texture.
It was an amusing afternoon, though. My thoughts as I was composing this thing:
- Man, the French love eggs! I swear I used about 15 eggs making the damn thing. Every single item except the two chocolate layers—tellingly, the recipes were by Americans—involved lots and lots and lots of eggs.
- There were so, so many steps involved. I was working furiously for about 3 1/2 hours to make everything. Patisserie chefs clearly have created items that are not easy to duplicate at home, ensuring themselves plenty of work even when the economy goes soft. (Maybe not when people opt for low-carb diets, though)
- Making macarons (French macaroons) is far easier.
Just the same, I look forward to destroying the kitchen and wiping batter off the ceiling in next month’s challenge!