Some might call me crazy, but I jumped straight into my first entremet almost a year ago, without any basic knowledge on how to assemble such a dessert. Prior to my first Matcha Opera, I rarely ever bake cakes, mostly sticking to simpler goodies like cookies and cupcakes. I wonder what made me so adventurous to explore the complicated world of french patisserie. Hmmm. Madness perhaps? :)
Once I got started, well, my interest in french patisserie styled cakes increased. Like tenfolds. I am constantly thinking of making entremets. For me, I enjoy the process of baking more than the products I make. Not to say I dislike eating the sweets I make, but it's just that the actual baking is much more interesting than just stuffing your face with the dessert. I wish I can make entremets everyday...but then again, who's gonna eat them up for me? Sigh.
Mini matcha macarons (heh, doesn't that have a nice ring to it!)
I decided to make some mini matcha macarons for decoration, as per the original image of the recipe in 日本人氣糕點師傅創意蛋糕50款. As I wanted only a few shells for decorations, I decided to use only one egg white, and thus used the French method of making macarons. I first started making macarons using the French method, but has since learnt the Italian method and I prefer the Italian method shells as they look prettier. These mini matcha ones made using the French method had quite flat feet.
I had bought the book a while ago, and one of the recipes that caught my attention was the Matcha mousse cake recipe by Japanese Patisserie Kanae Kobayashi. A picture of her Matcha mousse cake can be seen here, where it is known as Matcha Kyoto. A few months ago, Allie made a rendition of the cake, and I managed to sample it when she brought a slice of it into the office. Oh my gosh. It was so matcha-y! I love matcha goodies and vowed that I shall make that. Soon. She did mentioned that she switched the matcha measurements for the whipped cream and mousse so I followed her steps too while making mine.
One of my favourite girlfriend was back in Singapore for her school break and I had always been saying that I will bake something matcha-y for her as she loves matcha. Knowing that she was leaving again soon as her school break is ending, I decided to bake the matcha entremet in early February.
Layers (top to bottom) - Matcha whipped cream, matcha mousse, chocolate sponge, azuki chocolate ganache, chocolate sponge
After slicing the cake into individual portions, I attempted to balance a mini macaron atop a slice. But the matcha whipped cream texture was pretty soft and the tiny macaron actually half sank into it! I was dismayed and disappointed as I really wanted to replicate the macaron atop the cake decor. This was after a night of refrigeration after I made the cake. But another day passed, and when I attempted to balance the macaron again, it worked as the matcha whipped cream had sorta become firmer! Hooray!
Tastewise, I love love love it. I'm biased as I'm generally in love with most things matcha. But my Sis and Dad also gave the thumbs up. Rare. My Sis did mentioned that she didn't like the mousse layer, which was a tad jelly-ish - I think it's my fault. I didn't fold in the whipped cream into the matcha mixture well and the two sorta seperated during the chilling process, thus the jelly-ish texture. The Dad, who isn't a fan of sweets, said it was not bad as it was not overtly sweet (phew as matcha is actually slightly bitter, and thus perhaps toned down the sweetness level of the cake). For now, I judge my creations by the two taste judges in the house. So anything that pleases them, makes me happy for like a day or so. I'm kinda easy to please like that. ;)
Matcha azuki entremet (adapted from Kanae Kobayashi)(makes a 7" square cake - sliced into 14 individual portions)
Chocolate Sponge Cake
160g egg whites
90g castor sugar
80g baking chocolate, chopped
45ml whipping cream
45g cake flour
Beat the egg whites in a standing mixer until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat till stiff peaks. Heat the cream until it boils, remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate. Stir till smooth. Fold in half of the meringue into the chocolate mixture till well-blended. Fold in the sifted cake flour, followed by the rest of the meringue. Pour into two 8"x8" greased and lined pans and bake at 170°C for 12-15 minutes.
80g bittersweet chocolate (I used 70% Valrhona)
125ml whipping cream
homemade chunky azuki bean paste (recipe here, I halved the portion and got about a cup)
Heat the cream until almost boiling and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Stir till smooth.
Matcha Mousse (* start preparing only after step 1 of assembly)
160ml whole milk
10g matcha powder
50g castor sugar
6g gelatin sheets
125ml whipping cream
Soften the gelatin sheets in ice water and set aside. Combine matcha powder and castor sugar and whisk to mix. Heat the milk until it boils, remove from heat and pour over the matcha sugar mixture. Stir till smooth. Add the softened gelatin to the mixture. Stir till the gelatin sheets dissolve. Whip the cream until soft-stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the matcha mixture until combined.
Matcha Whipped Cream (* start preparing only after step 2 of assembly)
200ml whipping cream
20g castor sugar
5g matcha powder
Combine matcha powder and castor sugar. Gradually add the whipping cream and mix with electric mixer on low. When all the cream has been added in, whip on med-high speed until soft-stiff peaks.
1.Place one layer of chocolate sponge into the mousse ring and pour the chocolate ganache over it. Spread a layer of chunky azuki bean paste on top and top with the second chocolate sponge layer. Press down to make sure layers are even and there are no "air gaps". Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
2. Pour the matcha mousse over the set chocolate base. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. Pour the matcha whipped cream over the matcha mousse. Refridgerate overnight. Dust a layer of icing sugar over the cake, before dusting a layer matcha powder. Slice into individual portions and decorate with mini matcha macarons.