Here is a classic dessert that I decided to take a stab at.  It really is a delicious dessert in the height of summer when the strawberries are extra sweet.  This is normally made in individual servings in pastry shops.  I had a large cake ring and decided to use that instead of making several individual ones.  Because of the size and the weight of what I added on top it was a little top heavy, as you can see slightly in the picture, but that didn't effect the taste and flavor.  This is french pastry 101, if you go to any patisserie in the summertime you bound to find these in their pastry case.  Here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it!

Strawberry Fraiser 

Sponge Cake
9 eggs separated
1 cup of sugar plus 3 tbsp
1 tbsp of vanilla bean
1 cup of cake flour
3 tbsp of corn starch
pinch of salt

Pastry cream
2 cups of milk  
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp of butter
2 tsp of gelatin

1 cup of heavy cream
1 tsp of vanilla bean
1/4 cup of powder sugar

strawberry gel
1 lb strawberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
2 tsp agar

Butter cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp of half and half 

1 pint of strawberries sliced , I pint of blueberries and raspberries and mint

For the Sponge Cake, Preheat oven to 425 degrees 

Place egg yolks, vanilla, and 1 cup of sugar into a stand mixer.  Whisk until thick and pale yellow about 5 minutes.  Then add the cake flour and corn starch to the egg mixture and mix well.  Then pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl.  Clean out the mixing bowl and then place egg whites into the bowl.  Whisk egg whites until triple in volume and then add the 3 tbsp of sugar.  Whisk until stiff peaks.  Then fold the egg whites into the egg-flour mixture in 3 parts.  Pour the batter onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and smooth surface with offset spatula.  Place in the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean.  

For the Pastry Cream,

Scald the milk with vanilla bean in a medium sauce pot. Turn off the heat when the milk starts to a boil.  Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a stand mixer set to high, until the eggs and sugar form pale white ribbons.  Add the corn starch to the eggs and beat for 30 seconds.  Temper the eggs by whisking in one ladle of milk at a time until all the milk is incorporated with the egg mixture.  Place the egg mixture back onto medium low heat and whisk continually until it thickens.  Allow about 10 minutes, but don't boil.  In a large bowl mix 2 tbsp of water and powdered gelatin together to bloom. Once the pastry cream has thickened incorporate butter then pour the pudding into a bowl with the gelatin ( the gelatin should melt, and whisk to incorporate well ).  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding so it doesn't form a skin, and place in the refrigerator.  Cool completely.

For the Whipped cream

Meanwhile place heavy cream in a mixing bowl and whip on high.  After 45 seconds add the powder sugar and vanilla.  Whip until medium peaks.   Then fold the whipped cream in to the pastry cream in 3 intervals to make what is called a diplomat cream.  Place back in the refrigerator to cool completely

For the strawberry gel,

Puree strawberries with water in a vita mix.  Strain out and put the rest of the ingredients in a  small sauce pot.  Bring to a boil stirring consistently and cook for 5-7 minutes.  Then pour gel into a half sheet pan or baking dish.  Place in the refrigerator until the agar has set.  Then take a cake ring and cut a round the same size as the cake ring.  Take the rest of the gel and place it all into a vita mix and puree until smooth.  Pour into a squeeze bottle and set aside until ready to use.

For the Buttercream, If you want a real recipe for buttercream go here

This is a quick version of buttercream.  Place butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer and whip until smooth.  Add vanilla and a splash of half and half.  

To Finish,

On a half sheet lined with parchment, use a large cake ring (if desired you can make individual fraisier use a small cake rings) and cut out 2 large sponge cakes.  Place one of the sponge cakes inside the cake ring.  Take sliced strawberries and place on the inside of the cake ring wall standing up on the bottom layer of the sponge cake.  Then fill the center of the cake with the diplomat cream.  Then place the second sponge cake on top of the cream and strawberries.  Place on top of the second layer of sponge the thin layer of strawberry gel (optional).  Then add a small layer of the buttercream on top of the strawberry gel.  Place in the refrigerator overnight preferably to help set.  Then before serving add the rest of fruit on top with dots of the strawberry gel.  Add some fresh mint serve and enjoy!

strawberry fraiser .JPG

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