At last I am a Daring Baker! I subscribed to Daring Bakers towards the end of December which is why I missed the January challenge. For those who have never heard of Daring Bakers before, it is a community of food bloggers who come together once a month to bake a new recipe chose by one of the members.

The challenge is announced by the host at the start of the month on the Daring Bakers private forum and has to be kept secret right uptill the reveal date. A Daring Baker has to bake, photograph and write about the monthly challenge on his/her blog on or after the designated date, plus he/she is expected to complete at least 8 out of 12 within a calendar year.

The January 2011 challenge was hosted by Astheroshe. She chose to challenge everyone to make a biscuit joconde imprime to wrap around an entremet dessert. While making the joconde imprime from scratch was mandatory, Daring Bakers were allowed to pick any filling for their entremets.

A joconde imprime is a decorative design baked into a light sponge cake providing an elegant finish to desserts, tortes or entremets. I had never come across this technique before and the process of putting together this dessert was not an effortless one.

While not being as pretty as the entremets designed by my fellow Daring Bakers, I was quite pleased with its intense chocolatey interior and topped my finished entremet with an assortment of Lindt’s chocolates from their detectable classic praline selection.

JOCONDE SPONGE

 

Ingredients:

¾ cup [85g] almond meal

½ cup + 2 tbs [75g] confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup [25g] cake flour

3 large eggs [150g]

3 large egg whites [90g]

2½ tsp [10g] white granulated or caster sugar

2 tbs [30g] unsalted butter, melted

Method:

  • In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks.
  • Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour.
  • On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light.

 

  • If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand.
  • Fold in 1/3 reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining egg whites.
  • Fold in melted butter. Reserve batter to be used later. Makes two ½ size sheet pans or a 13″ x 18″  jelly roll pan.

PATTERNED DECOR PASTE

 

Ingredients:

14 tbs [200g] unsalted butter, softened

1½ cups + 1½ tbs [200g] Confectioners’ sugar

7 large egg whites [200g]

1¾ cup [220g] cake flour

Food coloring gel, paste or liquid

 

Method:

  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand).
  • Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
  • Fold in sifted flour. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

 

  • Makes two ½ size sheet pans or a 13″ x 18″ jelly roll pan.
  • For cocoa décor paste, reduce cake flour to 170g and add 60g cocoa.
  • Sift flour and cocoa together before adding to creamed mixture.

Preparing the Joconde

How to make the pattern:

  • Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4″ or 5 mm thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula.
  • Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.

 

  • Pattern the décor paste. Make horizontal or vertical lines or squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. 
  • Or use a piping bag to pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer.
  • Freeze hard for approximately 15 minutes.

 

  • Remove from freezer. Quickly pour Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern.
  • Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. It is a very quick bake, so watch carefully. Cool but do not leave too long.

  • Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing.
  • Powdered sugar prevents cake from sticking when cut.

Preparing the Moulds for Entremets:

  • Start with a large piece of parchment paper laid on a baking sheet, then a large piece of cling wrap over parchment.
  • Springform Pan – Place pan ring, with base removed, over cling wrap and pull cling wrap tightly up on the outside of mould. Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping top edge by ½”.

 

  • Cut the parchment paper to the top of the mould. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.
  • Biscuit or Cookie Cutter – using cling wrap pulled tightly as the base and the cling covering the outside of the mold, placed on a parchment lined baking sheet. Line the inside with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping.

 

  • PVC Pipe – These can be cut into any height you wish. Cling wrap and parchment line, as outlined above.
  • Glass Trifle Bowl – You will not have a free standing dessert, but you will have a nice pattern for this layered dessert.

 

Preparing the Joconde for Moulding:

  • Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangular shape.
  • Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”.

  • Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown.
  • Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length.

 

  • Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler. Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight.
  • Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out and ends overlapping slightly.

  • You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake.

 

  • The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place.
  • You can use more than one piece if the cut piece is not long enough. 
  • If not ready to use, wrap in parchment and several layers of cling wrap and freeze.

Entremet- Filling Options:

  • Fill with anything you desire. It needs to be something cold that will not fall apart when unmolded.
  • Suggestions would be mousse, pastry cream, Bavarian cream, cheesecake, puddings, curds, jam, cookie base, nuts, dacquoise, fresh fruit, chocolate and gelee.
  • My filling was chocolate ganache – 200g dark chocolate [80% cocoa] + 1 cup heavy cream, whipped till smooth.

Wishing you lotsa love on Valentine’s Day!

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