I've made this dessert a few times now and every time I do I get rave reviews. I think part of it is because of the presentation. The fruit and the layers of cake, pastry cream, and whipped cream visually presented triggers delight. You can pretty much use any fruit you like. I've made this with strawberries and peaches before but this time opted for blueberries. The contrasting color and shape of the fruits add a little more excitement to the presentation.
The last thing I'll say about this dessert is that I used pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. What a difference in the texture of the crumb! What you get is lighter, softer and more delicate than what you would get with all-purpose flour. I was quite happy with the resulting cake and am likely going to move towards using pastry flour on an on-going basis.
If you ever want to buy me a cake for any reason - this would be it. It’s the princess cake–a sponge or genoise cake, soaked in a syrup, layered with raspberry jam, pastry cream, and whipped cream, then wrapped with care in a thin layer of marzipan. It’s what love would look like it if were a cake. I’ve made this three times since March. For three different occasions. To celebrate. To share. To create memorable moments with people I love.
Taste: Light and creamy
Ease of recipe: Hard - This will take time, but I break up the tasks over two days.
Time: 1 hour for the creams, 1 hour for the cake, 1 hour for assembly
Total calories* per recipe : TBD :) <--highlight this area with your cursor to see the calories
We were talking about the 10,000 hour rule in the office last week so I thought it would be interesting to calculate how far away I was from that goal. If I say I’ve been baking every weekend since January and that on average spend 3 hours each time, it means that I am .0078% of the way there and that I would be exactly 100 years old before I reach Expert status! This either makes me want to quit my day job and go to culinary school, or give up this baking nonsense entirely.
But I’d like to look at this another way. I spent 3 hours last week prepping my Summer Fruit Trifle (click for link to recipe). I brought this to a picnic that served 12 adults and a handful of kids. We all spent 4 hours together shooting the breeze over a beautiful day in the park, enjoying good food and conversation. If any of my time spent baking contributed to the overall good spirits that day, I’ve hit my mark. Because I realize as I’m getting older that time is scarce. And the 3 hours I spend baking is really 3 hours I’ve contributed to making the time spent with friends and family memorable.
I made mini-versions of Tartine’s two lemon tart recipes and brought them into work this week to share with the office. I watched a coworker take the first bite and caught sight of her enjoying the moment. That suspended moment in time when you’re taking something in, reflecting on it, and thinking wow, that was something special. Something to savor, let linger, and perhaps tuck away into memory as the best damn thing you’ve tasted in awhile.
I’m really impressed with the lemon-based desserts so far. The Lemon Bars, Lemon Meringue Cake, and both the Lemon Cream and Lemon Chiffon Tarts have all been nothing short of spectacular.
My husband gave me the best compliment on this one — that he could eat the whole thing himself. What made the dessert unique for him was that the crust was lined with chocolate and caramel. It was a nice, unexpected touch. Little did he know that there's roughly ~500-700 calories a slice...
My only notes for this recipe is that you don’t really need to use that much chocolate to line the bottom of crust, nor whipped cream for the topping (in case you’re keeping score on calories). I would also thin the chocolate out a bit more. Once the chocolate hardens, it’s tough to cut through the pie – though part of that may have been my failure to make the pie crust correctly. It was crispy, almost feeling like I fried the crust in butter. Anyone else have this issue with the crust?
Lastly, I just want to say that there’s something empowering about getting good compliments on your work. It fuels you to want to be better at something and to do more of it.
Taste: Good – but crust was really hard
Ease of recipe: Medium - assembly is easy, it's the crust that needs fine-tuning
Time: 30 minutes assembly, assuming you have the pastry cream, crust, and caramel pre-made
Total calories* per recipe: 6095 (8-12 servings) <--highlight this area with your cursor to see the calories
* Calories based on recipe calculator from MyFitnessPal.com