Pastry nostalgia

December 9th, 2010 § 2 comments

For a couple of weeks already, my sweet tooth is aching out of excitement… Yep, definitely, the winter celebrations’ season has begun!

It all started on a rainy Sunday morning at my favorite ‘patisserie’ in town when my 20 minutes of patient queuing were rewarded with warm fresh croissants, a couple of newly designed macarons and a taste of Chef Philippe’s Christmas creation: an elegant and delicate entremet layered with genoise, champagne mousse and peach… And there I was, down memory lane: Christmas 2007 and my first fancy pastry creation ever, an entremet with a thin almond biscuit, champagne sabayon mousse and a heart of white peach and lavender coulis!!! My presentation skills were far from Philippe’s back then, but still I couldn’t help but blushing with pride.

Since then Morpheus is filling my dreams with extravagant combinations of textures and shapes and tastes and spices and fruits while I am contemplating which fabulous deserts I could put together for Christmas. And this year, I get to make two: one for Christmas eve and one for Christmas day… What a thrill! Papa would be proud of me.

Until then, to feed the other sweet teeth around, I’ve digged out my White peach/lavender/Champagne Entremet recipe which I never dared sharing up to now because of the very poor photo I took back then… Please note that the technical aspects are more than largely inspired from the amazing website of French pastry queen Flore, and more precisely her ‘Le Festif’ recipe. Enjoy!


Clearly I was still more than a novice qua presentation and photography
and already a bit tipsy from the Christmas celebrations!
One of my worst food photo ever!!!


Champagne, white peach and lavendel cake – Step by step:
Entremet champagne, peche blanche et lavende – pas a pas
Serves 8 to 10 p. Yields one circular cake (⌀ 22 cm).
At least 24 hours ahead.

Minimum recommended equipment:
2 metallic or homemade cardboard/aluminium circular rinds: ⌀ 22 cm and ⌀ 20cm ;*
1 electric mixer (a hand whisk and a lot of patience can work too);
1 baking tray;
1 large circular serving dish;
A couple of large bowls and rubber or silicone spatulas;
1 small pan;
Baking paper and plastic foil.

See each steps for ingredients, and method.

Step 1: prepare the Joconde cake layer (⌀ 22 cm). time to complete: 40 minutes. At least 24 hours before service and up to a week ahead .

Step 2: prepare the white peach/lavender coulis. Time to complete: 15 minutes; at least 1 hour ahead step 3, and 8 hours before service.

Step 3: prepare the Champagne Sabayon mousse and assemble the cake. Time to complete: 40 minutes; at least 6 hours ahead.

Step 4: prepare and assemble the top mirror layer. Time to complete: 20 minutes; at least two hours ahead.

Final touch – Time to complete: 5 to 10 minutes; right before service.



Step 1: Joconde cake layer
Biscuit joconde

Yields 2 round cake layers ⌀ 22 cm.**
prep: 20 to 30 min. cook: 2x 8 to 10 min

150 g whole eggs (3, medium sized);
100 g almond meal;
100 g icing sugar;
20g butter, melted;
30g flour, sieved;
1 pinch of salt;
90 g eggwhites (2);
20 g sugar.

1. Preheat the oven at 200 deg. C. Prepare 2 sheets of baking paper on each of which which you’ll trace a ⌀ 22 cm circle with a pencil. Lay one of them on a baking tray.

2. Beat the eggs with the icing sugar with an electric mixer until thick an pale. Add the almond meal, flour and melted butter (cooled but still liquid), stir gently using a spatula until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Reserve.

2. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks are formed. Gradually add the 20 g sugar until firm peaks hold.

3. Fold the eggs whites gently into the egg/almond mixture using a spatula.

4. On the prepared baking tray, evenly spread half of the batter in a slightly larger round surface than the one traced. You can just use a spatula or pipe the batter using a pastry bag fitted with a large round top. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Do not overbake or the edges will be hard and breakable. Cut of the edges with a sharp knife or the metal rind that will be used to assemble the cake to adjust to the cake size. Repeat the operation with the second half of the batter and the remaining baking sheet***.

Time management: The Joconde cake layers can be prepared several days in advance, wrapped in plastic foil and frozen. Remove one of the cake layers from the freezer a couple of hours before assembling the cake and leave to thaw at room temperature.



Step 2: White peach and lavender coulis
Coulis peche blanche et lavende

yields ~ 600 g.
prep: 15 min. cook: 5 min. freeze. 45 min

75 cl whipping cream;
550g white peach pulp****;
25 g sugar;
1/2 tsp lavender flowers, crushed with the sugar;
2 Tsp. peach liquor (optional);
3 gelatine sheets (~6 g).

1. Prepare a 20 cm ⌀ rind or cake mold. If you use a rind, place it on a plate. Cover with plastic foil. Put the gelatine sheets to soften in a bowl of cold water for at least 10 minutes.

2. Warm up the peach pulp, lavender/sugar mixture and liquor together in a small pan over low heat for a couple of minutes (it should be warm enough to allow the sugar and gelatine to melt, but not too warm so that the fruits do not loose their flavors). Reserve.

3. Press the gelatine sheets in your hands to drain the water and incorporate to the peach/lavender coulis, mix well.

4. Pour the coulis in the cake rind/dish in an even layer. Leave to cool completely. Cover well with plastic foil and reserve in the freezer for at least 45 min. until it sets and hardens.

Time management: Prepare the coulis at least one hour before the champagne sabayon mousse (step 3). At least 6 to 8 hours and up to 24 hours before service.



Step 3: Champagne sabayon mousse and assemblage
Mousse sabayon au champagne et assemblage

yields ~ 750 g of mousse
prep: 25 min. cook: 2 to 5 min

~ 1 ⌀ 22cm Joconde cake layer (see Step 1)
~ 1 ⌀ 20cm disk of white peach/lavender coulis (see Step 2; keep in the freezer until needed)
~ For the Mousse:
200 g Champagne;
20 g lemon juice;
3 sheets gelatine (~6 g);
90 g egg yolks (6);
60 g sugar;
1/4 tsp lavender flowers crushed with the sugar;
350 g whipping cream.
Prepare the mousse:

1. Put the gelatine sheets to soften in a bowl of cold water for at least 10 minutes. Prepare a ‘bain-marie’***** on the stove, keeping it on low heat, ready to use.

2. Warm up the champagne and lemon juice over low heat for a couple of minutes. Reserve.

3. Whip the egg whites and sugar/lavender mixture with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Whisk in gently 1/3rd of the warm liquids.

4. Transfer the egg mixture into a pan and set the pan in the simmering ‘bain-marie’. Pour in the rest of the liquid and cook for 5 to 10minutes, whisking constantly until thickened into a fluffy cream (this is called a Sabayon). Remove from the heat.

5. Melt the softened gelatine with 1 tsp water in a small pan on low heat (or for a couple of seconds in the micro wave). Whisk the melted gelatin into the still slightly warm Champagne Sabayon cream until incorporated.

6. Whip the whipping cream with an electric mixer until thick and stiff, taking care not to overbeat it. Fold gently one third of the whipped cream into the Champagne sabayon cream. Once incorporated, fold in gently the rest of the whipped cream. Set aside to cool completely.

Assemble the cake:

7. Prepare a serving dish large enough to accommodate a 22 cm ⌀ cake, set the Joconde layer cake in the middle and adjust the metal or carton square rind around it.

8. Spread part of the cooled Champagne Sabayon mousse evenly on the Joconde cake layer up to half way the rind using a rubber spatula.

9. Take out the ⌀ 20cm disk of white peach/lavender coulis from the freezer. Remove the plastic foil and cake rind and adjust the disk on the center of the cake.

10. Cover with the rest of the champagne Sabayon using a rubber spatula cream. Make sure to leave ~ 1/2 cm until the top of the rind so that you can spread the mirror layer easily in step 4. Cover well with plastic foil and refrigerate at least 2 hours before assembling the top mirror layer.

Time management: Prepare the Champagne Sabayon mousse just before assembling the cake, at least one hour after you’ve prepared the peach/lavender coulis and minimum 3 hours before adding the top mirror layer. All in all: at least 6 to 8 hours and up to 24 hours before service.



Step 4: Mirror glazing layer ******
Glacage mirroir

prep: 15 min. cook: 5 to 10 min

50 ml pomegranate juice;
150 ml water
juice of a 1/2 lemon;
90 g sugar;
2 sheets gelatine (~4g).

1. Put the gelatine sheets to soften in a bowl of cold water for at least 10 minutes.

2. Bring the pomegranate juice, lemon juice, water and sugar to a boil. Leave to reduce over medium heat into a light syrup or until the temperature reaches 101 deg C.

3. Press the gelatine sheets in your hands to drain the water and incorporate into the warm syrup. Whisk well until homogeneous.

4. Take out the cake of the fridge. If necessary, extend the rind top with plastic foil so that the mirror layer will not leak.

5. Slightly raise one side of the cake dish and pour the still warm pomegranate syrup on top of the cake. Wave the cake dish gently from side to side to distribute the mirror layer evenly.

6. Cover with plastic foil, taking care that the foil doesn’t touch the top layer (or it might stick to it). Refrigerate.

Time management: Prepare and assemble the top mirror layer at least 3 hours after assembling the cake so that it has time to set.


Final touch
Derniere touche

prep: 5 to 10 min.

seeds of 1/2 pomegranate;
1/2 tsp lavender flowers.
1. Take the cake out of the fridge and remove the plastic foil.

2. Remove the cake rind gently (If necessary, you can use a hairdryer to shortly warm up the cake rind so that the reind will slide more easily or slide the blade of a sharp knife gently between the rind and the cake).

3. Decorate the cake with the pomegranate seeds and lavender flowers and that’s it… time to enjoy the cake and the amazed expressions on the faces of your guests!

Bon appétit!


More fancy pastry ideas for Christmas? You might like these too…
Apple 'Tarte Tatin'


* I used 2 circular metallic rinds, but you can also make you own rinds using cardboard and aluminium foil if you want to have a first try before making an investment.
** You will need only one biscuit layer for this cake, but the dough is easier to realize in these amounts. Let say you’ll have an emergency layer that you can freeze and use up later.
*** Of course, it would be better to proceed at once with the two cake layers, but although I have plenty of baking trays, my oven can only accomodate one at a time.
**** Since peaches are not exactly in season at Christmas, I used frozen pulp. If you use fresh fruits, you will need ~ 1kg ripe peaches: puree the peeled and stoned peaches with an electric blender. Strain the pulp and make sure to season it with the juice of a 1/2 lemon to avoid browning.
***** “Au bain marie” is a french cooking term meaning hot water bath: Put the pan or baking dish in a larger one, partly filled with hot or boiling water over low heat on the stove or in the oven. It’s often used to bake terrines, mousses or creme brulees.
****** I was a novice when I prepared this cake and didn’t know better but to use a ready made glazing… The result was a bit lumpy, too thick and far from elegant as you might have seen on the picture (This picture is the reason I never dared sharing this recipe with you up to now). I have since learned how to prepare a proper mirror glaze , which is the recipe I propose you here.

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§ 2 Responses to Pastry nostalgia"

  • jetty says:

    Dear Myriam, Do not make too much goodies otherwise I feel so stupid not to be able to make all these fantastic things. But anyway it is not a cooking competition. I was looking for the recipe of cranberrsauce. I do not get the same taste as yours. love Jetty

  • Sophie says:

    Non mais y a de bons macarons chez toi ??? :”'(
    La vie est injuste !!! ici ils ne savent faire que les glaaaaaaces :'(

    Snog snog

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