Desserts

Fraisier (French strawberry cake)

Step by step recipe:


  1. 1 hourFraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #1Begin by preparing the strawberry syrup:

    Put 300 g strawberries, cut into pieces, in a bowl which can be used in a bain-marie. Add 100 g caster sugar.

    Cover with stretch cooking film to seal the container well and place in a bain-marie over very low heat for one hour.
  2. 3 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #2At the end of this time, you will have a delicious strawberry syrup. Strain through a sieve.

    The pieces of strawberry left will not have much flavour, so you can either eat them or throw them away.

    Note: French chefs call this "clarified strawberries", rather than a syrup.

    Set aside.
  3. 30 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #3Prepare 350 g Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream). When it is made and has cooled a little (wait 15 minutes), incorporate 150 g butter very cold and cut into small pieces, beating thoroughly until the butter is well mixed in.

    This cream is a "crème mousseline".
  4. 5 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #4Prepare 1 Génoise (Genoa sponge). When cooked and cooled, cut this to the shape of your cake, round or square.

    You can see that here I have cut it round using a dessert ring. If you do not have one, you can cut round a small plate laid on the sponge.
  5. 5 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #5Split the genoa sponge in two through the middle.
  6. 2 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #6Place one circle of sponge on the serving plate and place a dessert ring over it.
  7. 5 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #7Soak the the top of this sponge circle with half the strawberry syrup.
  8. 5 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #8Spread a thin layer of crème mousseline over the sponge.
  9. 5 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #9Arrange straberries cut in half around the circle with the cut side towards the outside.
  10. 10 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #10Then fill the circle with whole strawberries, placed upright.
  11. 5 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #11Spread the remaining crème mousseline over the strawberries; ideally, they should be completely covered.

    Tap the plate gently on the worktop to settle the cream.
  12. 5 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #12Lay the other circle of genoa sponge on a wire rack and soak with the remaining strawberry syrup, using a brush.
  13. 5 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #13Then turn this over onto the dessert inside the ring.

    This is a tricky operation, so I advise you to turn it over smartly onto a baking sheet to (along with the rack), then slide it onto the top of the cake.

    Press gently on the top to make sure it is flat and even.
  14. 10 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #14Roll out 150 g Marzipan (almond paste) thinly (see this page on the subject), then use it to cover the top of the strawberry cake and trim off any excess.
  15. 5 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #15Decorate with a half strawberry and brush with an apricot glaze. This is not essential, but adds an attractive finish and prevents the marzipan from drying out.
  16. 3 min.Fraisier (French strawberry cake) : Photo of step #16At the last minute, gently remove the cake from the dessert ring. Your "fraisier" is ready to be served and enjoyed.

Remarks:

If you do not have a dessert ring, use a circle of strong card, lined with a piece of stretch plastic film, held in place with a paper clip.

For a quicker finish, you can simply sprinkle the top of the cake with icing sugar in place of the marzipan.

For Gaston Lenôtre, a strawberry cake should be made with butter cream rather than mousseline, and he called it a "Bagatelle".

Source:

Home made, with Catherine as tester. Her portion is shown in the photo.

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