Since I knew I had a long journey ahead of me, I had no choice but to be organized and get a head start on this month's challenge. Quite the change from my usual last minute mad dash to get my Daring Dessert together! I'm glad I got a head start on this challenge, and I managed to squeeze it in before I left for Asia. Of course, I did not get the post written in advance. Surprise, surprise.... I'm writing to you from an airport. It's a good thing that a Daring Baker can find Wi-Fi in all sorts of places! Plus, all the airport shops are closed because it's the middle of the night so, sadly, no late night airport shopping for me, and therefore no distractions!
We Daring Bakers went all fancy this month as we dressed up our cakes with pretty cake wraps of biscuit joconde imprimé. The joconde is an almond-based, light cake that is very pliable, and therefore is useful for rolled cakes; it can be wrapped around desserts to form a border of cake around ice cream and mousse.
The only criteria we had was that our dessert had to include the joconde cake in it. I had played with joconde recipes before, so this wasn't a new technique for me. Instead, I dared myself to fill my joconde cake with gelatin-based mousses since I had never experimented with gelatin before. I adore mousse cakes because they are so light and yet so flavorful. I went for a traditional raspberry mousse for my first layer (brought to you by Nick Malgieri). And, inspired by my pending trip to South East Asia, I decided to make a matcha (green tea) mousse for the top of the cake. I'm pretty sure matcha powder is from Japan (far from South East Asia), but let's pretend...
I came up with the following recipe for the matcha mousse. I based my techniques on Nick Malgieri's raspberry mousse.
- 150 mL 1% milk
- 70 grams granulated sugar
- 2 tsp matcha powder
- 1 packet Knox gelatin
- 4 tbsp water
- 250 mL whipping cream
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, and matcha powder over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is heated through, stirring constantly. Don't allow it to boil, just gentlly heat it until it's steamy. Then, set the pan aside, off the heat.
- Strain any undissolved matcha and collec the matcha milk in a separate bowl. Set aside.
- In a small, stainless steel bowl, pour the Knox powdered gelatin over the cold water. Let stand for 5 minutes to bloom.
- While the gelatin is blooming, heat a saucepan of water to a gentle simmer, then place the bowl of bloomed gelatin over the simmering water to gently melt the gelatin, stirring constantly. The solution will go from cloudy to clear.
- Take the bowl of gelatin off the heat and whisk it into the milk mixture. Set aside to cool slighlty.
- Whip the cream to stiff peaks, but not granular (don't make butter!).
- Carefully pour the tepid matcha milk into the whipped cream, and fold to incorporate it. (Don't be afraid to really mix it well and get out all the lumps.)
- Your mousse is ready to be poured over a cake base and chilled overnight (remember to prepare the cake base before making the mousse!).
I guess the word to describe the color contrast between the raspberry and the matcha would be tacky, if you ask me! I feel the average French pastry chef would shake their heads at my pink and green creation. Actually, they'd probably point and laugh. That's okay. I was proud of my first mousse cake, and it tasted amazing, even if the color combination was a little odd.
The left-overs were just as good, though I was a little surprised to find that the raspberry color faded a little at the edges of the raspberry layer.
I think next time, I might try my hand at a mousse with tangy yogurt or sour cream to pair with the lightly sweetened, matcha green tea mousse, and thus avoid the unsightly color combo.
The joconde recipe, as well as the other Daring Bakers' creations, can be found at The Daring Kitchen.