Sunday, May 15, 2016

Le Fraisier - a French Strawberry Cake

My absolute *favorite* French dessert is Le Fraisier.  You might have all thought it would be macarons by the way I talk about them, but it is actually Le Fraisier.  You just haven't heard about it because it's very difficult to bake yourself!  

Since I'm not headed to Paris anytime soon, I figured I might as well start learning how to make my own. 
This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.
And here is the result:
Le Fraisier - a French Strawberry Cake with recipe!


This recipe was  challenging such that there were so many different things to make: the cake, the pastry cream, the kirsch syrup, the marzipan.  Then there's the assembly.
Le Fraisier - a French Strawberry Cake with recipe!

This recipe took about five hours. Everywhere I read says "only two hours" but there's resting time.  It was not easy to bake and is not for a beginner baker! Next time I will be preparing things in steps.
Le Fraisier - a French Strawberry Cake with recipe!
Oh, it occurred to me that you may not know how to say "Fraisier".  It's "Freh-zee-YAY", or, here's the link to google and just hit the microphone button. 
Le Fraisier - a French Strawberry Cake with recipe!
When we were in Paris last year, the Fraisiers just started arriving in the patisseries.  Everyone was so excited about them as they are a seasonal offering - and now I appreciate them even more since making my own.

Le Fraisier - a French Strawberry Cake with recipe!

On to the recipe - adapted from Laduree and Cakelets and Doilies. 
This recipes makes either one 9" cake or eight 3" cakes.  This recipe has to chill overnight so you need to make it ahead of time.

Almond Génoise Cake
50 g (3 1/2 tbsp) butter , unsalted 
200g (1 2/3 cup) cake flour   
  6 eggs
200g (1 cup) granulated sugar 
50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds or almond flour
1 1/2 tbsp butter

Making the Génoise cake
  1. Melt the 1 1/2 tbsp butter and using a pastry brush, butter your cake pan.   Place the cake pan in the fridge to allow the butter to harden.(notes - if you are making mini cakes, you will want to bake your cake in a 12x8 rectangular cake pan)
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the 50g of butter over low heat.
  3. In a large heatproof mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar.  
  4. Preheat oven to 340F.  Place your heatproof mixing bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk until the mixture is warm, thick and pale, and the mixture has tripled in volume (approximately 122F).  Then remove from the heat and keep mixing until the mixture is cool (notes - I could not get this thing to triple over the simmering water. So I just heated it, while stirring constantly, until it was 122F and then attached it to my kitchenaid mixer and let it whisk until it tripled in volume and the mixture was  completely cool).
  5. Once completely cooled down, fold in the sifted flour into the mixture.  Then fold in the ground almonds.  And then the melted butter. 
  6. Lightly flour your cake pan and tap out an excess. Then immediately fill with batter and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. 


Kirsch Syrup
100mL (1/2 cup - 1tbsp) water 
100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar 
40mL (2 1/2 tbsp) kirsch liqueur (see notes below about kirsch)

Making the syrup
Combine the sugar and water into a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow to boil for just 5 seconds. Remove from the heat, let it cool, then stir in the kirsch liqueur.

Crème Mousseline
350g whole milk
100g granulated sugar
1/2 a vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped for inside beans/seeds
4 egg yolks
35g plain flour
200g unsalted butter, softened
1tbsp cherry liqueur (optional)

Making the creme
  1. Place milk, vanilla bean and scraped seeds into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Then remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until mixture is pale yellow.  Mix int the flour until well combined.  
  3. Remove vanilla bean pod from milk mixture.  Then pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, constantly whisking to combine.
  4. Then pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and place over high heat.  Whisk constantly until it is thickened, smooth, and glossy.  Then remove from heat and transfer pastry cream to a plate. Immediately cover with plastic cling wrap and place into the freezer to cool but only for 10 minutes.  Do not allow it to freeze (If you don't put the cling wrap on immediately, the pastry cream will get a film on it that's lumpy and gross and you will have to strain it out later, so don't miss this step)
  5. While the cream is in the freezer, beat your butter until creamy.  Then when the pastry cream is about room temperature, add the cream to the butter and mix until while combined.   Add the liqueur.
  6. Spoon the mousseline into a piping bag with 1cm piping tip.


Marzipan Top
store-made marzipan 
food coloring (either pink or light green, and don't use the cheap store bought ones, you need a higher grade version)

Making the marzipan
Working the marzipan with your fingers to warm it up.  Using a rolling pin, spread the marzipan into a thin layer.  Then either place it on top of the 9" cake pan and take off the sides or you can use an extra cake mold and cut it out. (You may use cornflour on the kitchen worktop to keep it from sticking.  I also recommend wearing some gloves as the food coloring will get all over you

Assembly
1 pound of strawberries, cut in half and with the green tops removed.  (Save your cutest strawberries for the top and set them aside.  Also, smaller strawberries look cuter in the cake and are more sweet.  When you cut the berries, you want them to all be the same height).
Cake mold(s)

Assembling the cakes
Cut out the sponge cake with your cake rings.  Then, inside the cake ring, place a circle of plastic cake wrap.  Then put the sponge cake.  Brush the cake with the kirsch syrup.  Arrange the strawberries around the edge of the cake ring with the flat edge facing the outside.  Pipe or spread the creme mousseline over the strawberries.  Then place another layer of sponge cake on top.  Put the marzipan on top.  Place in the fridge overnight. The following day, dip a strawberry into the kirsch syrup and put on top just before serving.

Materials I used to bake Le Fraisier (affiliate links)
Hand Mixer (I did not use it this time, but I will next time!)
Le Fraisier - a French Strawberry Cake with recipe!
Now, making the kirsch syrup was kind of funny. It calls for cherry liqueur.  As I don't drink, a stroll into the alcohol beverage store was quite the adventure.  After wandering around for quite some time and googling on my phone, I learned this: cherry schnapps is *not* the same thing.  You need to use cherry liqueur and the brand that apparently all the French chefs use is Heering Cherry Liqueur. You're welcome. I just saved you an hour on the internet and wandering around the market.

Le Fraisier - a French Strawberry Cake with recipe!
As you can see, they are highly photogenic.  I had fun photographing them as well as eating them.  
Le Fraisier - a French Strawberry Cake with recipe!
This chef also has a nice picture tutorial with each step.  The recipe is a little different and he uses a rectangular large cake pan, but the idea is the same.  
Le Fraisier - a French Strawberry Cake with recipe!
What do you all think? Do you think you're going to be brave and make the recipe or stick to just eating them??!

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Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com/

28 comments:

  1. You win the prize! I admire your enthusiasm for trying these French pastry recipes. These le fraisier look gorgouse, and there is absolutely no question in my mind that they are exquisite to the taste buds. Your photography is stunning as well! Oh, and those berry dishes are too! Thanks for the encouragement to make these myself. Will let you know.

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    1. Thanks so much Sarah! They are so good... I am trying to craft a way to make the recipe easier. If you are in a baking mood, these are worthwhile to make, but they will take time... but the result is a feast for the eyes and the mouth!

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  2. Wow this is the most beautiful dessert and you did a great making it! Thanks for sharing the recipe to make it. I love your pretty new blog look too. I hope you will share this at our Monday Cooking and Crafting with J & J Link Up. Thanks and have a wonderful week.
    Julie xo

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    1. Thanks very much Julie! I also love my new blog look - made it more Frenchy! Of course I linked up!

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  3. Oh my, these look beautiful and delicious. I so admire your bravery in making such a complex dessert. My preference would be to buy them. I enjoy cooking, but just wouldn't have the patience for all the steps. Good for you!

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    1. Well, I think I would prefer to buy them too but no one seems to make them the French way! The bakeries always seem to have strawberry chiffon cake which is not the same thing! Thank you! I will make them again... in a while...

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  4. This looks so pretty and I bet it's so delicious!

    I would love for you to share this with my Recipes, Crafts, Tips and Tricks Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and I will check out your FB group

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  5. This is such an exquisite and beautiful dessert. Truly perfect for special celebrations, I can just imagine serving this at a Ladies luncheon.
    I have pinned this beauty to a couple of boards and want to say thank you so much for sharing it with us at TOHOT!
    Jemma

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    1. Thank you! It was not easy to make but I think worth the effort in the end! Thanks for sharing on Pinterest too and hosting your lovely link party!

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  6. Oh my goodness. They are beautiful! I know they must be delicious, but I'd hesitate to eat such a lovely creation. I'd force myself though.

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    1. I hesitated at first too... Then I had a bite. Hesitation gone!

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  7. Oh la la! I do not have the patience for this, but I certainly appreciate your dedication to making these beautiful desserts! Beautiful!
    Jenna

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    1. Yes this took a lot of patience... More than I had but I had already started and couldn't quit!

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  8. This beautiful dessert will be featured at TOHOT this week.
    Thank you again for sharing.
    Jemma

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  9. We are happy to inform you that we featured this at our Monday Cooking & Crafting with J & J. Thanks and hope you have a nice week. :)
    Julie xo

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  10. Be still my heart Angelina. You are indeed very brave to give this incredible dessert a go. They look gorgeous and I am sure they taste amazing too. Those are a lot of steps but one cannot rush a masterpiece.

    I don't if I am that brave but I am going to pin the recipe anyway just in case. I have a few great French bakeries by me that sell the Le Fraisier so I treat myself when I want something special. It is one of my favorites along with creme caramel IKA flan.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful Le Fraisier. Your photos are spectacular.

    Janet

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    1. Thank you for the kind words! I have found with the more I study French baking the more the saying "You cannot rush a masterpiece" fits! No wonder all of the French desserts taste so good... they take *forever* to make!! I have not found a bakery nearby that makes them. I am sure if I headed over to San Francisco I could find a patisserie that does, but that is several hours away and maybe by the time I got there I could have just made my own! (actually, no San Francisco would be faster! ha!)

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  11. These are fabulous! You did a marvelous job.

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  12. My grandparents had a bottle of Cherry Heering under the sink for a good 30 or 40 years. I tried it once, hated it - probably everyone else did too, or it wouldn't have been under the sink. Never thought to ask about it - but thanks for a wonderful memory!

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    1. oh, how funny! I read a French chef had his bottle for 20 years or so - used only for desserts!

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  13. I will feature today at Home Sweet Home!

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  14. So pretty & fancy! Pinning for a special occasion. Visiting from Best of the Weekend.

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