Sunday, January 18, 2009

A mighty Poire D'Eve attempt

My roommate D's birthday was this weekend and I wanted to make her a special cake so I thought of this beautiful concoction that Tartlette posted a while ago. It's a Poire D'Eve, a crispy chocolate feuillantine layer topped by a caramel mousse layer topped by a poached pear bavarian cream layer topped by a pear syrup "glass". It looked light and beautiful.

I started the night before, making the feuillantine and the caramel mousse. Both were delicious and I almost ate all the caramel mousse right away but I exercised great restraint and put it in the fridge instead.

In the morning I made the bavarian cream but used agar agar instead of gelatin. It wasn't the easiest substitution since the two are very different. Next time I think I would boil some agar agar in water to make sure it is completely dissolved and then put 3-4 tablespoons of the liquid into the creme anglaise. Also, you have to be careful with agar since it starts setting earlier than jello. I would keep stirring the agar'ed creme anglaise until it's cooled. Then whip in 1/3 of the whipped cream before folding the rest in.

When I brought out the mold to add the bavarian cream, I noticed that there was caramel liquid leaking out. Maybe I didn't whip the cream stiff enough?

When using agar agar for the mirror, I found it best to simmer the syrup and agar for 10 minutes then keep stirring it until it cools down to just slightly warmer than finger temperature. If you wait longer than that to pour it, it will be too thick and chunky as evidenced by my mirror.

Here's it is before unmolding:

It was quite pretty unmolded but I definitely didn't have a chance to take a picture. Also, I think the bavarian cream and the mousse were too soft so it was hard to cut nice slices. Maybe the cake has to be sliced frozen? Or it could be the agar agar. I think the agar has to be incorporated before it cools down otherwise it doesn't really gel the mixture, just makes clumps of gelled mixture in the whipped cream. I'll try to make a small 4" version of this with gelatin to see what the consistency should be and then see if I can recreate it with agar.

Also D made some pretty awesome matcha cupcakes with pomegranate cream cheese frosting:

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