Monday, August 05, 2013

Berry Mousse Toasted Coconut Charlotte

There was a short period a few months back where I would just bake a cake every weekend. Just because. No special reason. Well, one merit of being single is that I have plenty of spare time on hand when I'm not out brunch-ing (for once!) and when all my (attached) friends are hanging out with their other halves. I get to indulge in my favourite self-activity. Baking.
 Berry Mousse Toasted Coconut Charlotte

I love raspberries, and I would love to bake with them at every opportunity if possible...if only if it didn't have a hefty price tag attached. Berries are expensive in Singapore, as we only do imports, and the priciest of them all has gotta be the raspberries (which are my fave).

I was in the mood for a fruity cake. And lucky for me, I had a few punnets of fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries and blueberries) stashed away in the freezer when they were slightly cheaper a while back. I decided that a berry cake was in order.

Flavour-wise, the cake was actually not bad. Textural-wise, it was just a tad bland. It was a very creamy cake in the sense that the components were all soft - mousse, cream and sponge. I'd recommend adding an additional layer of sponge in the middle, or something with a crunch factor somewhere inside.

I was at a loss of how to decorate the cake because I rarely decorate whole cakes. Thus, the kinda simple decor of fresh raspberries atop the cake. That reminds me. It's been almost a year or so since I last made an entremet. Oh those days. There's a long weekend coming right up, I should start searching for entremet recipes to play around with!

Berry Mousse Toasted Coconut Charlotte (adapted from Helene at Tartelette)
(makes one 6 inch charlotte)

Toasted coconut ladyfingers
43g cake flour
2 large eggs yolks
67g sugar, divided
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/3 cup coconut (I ran out of dessicated, so I used finely chopped unsweetened coconut flakes)

Preheat the oven to 175C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment and beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar until thick and pale yellow at high speed for about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and give the mixer another quick whirl to combine.
Transfer the batter to a bowl, and sift the cake flour over it but do not fold it in yet.
In a separate clean bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the pinch of salt and increase the speed and whip until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar and whip until stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture in three additions, mixing just until incorporated. Do not over fold or you will loose air and the cookies will turn flat.
Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitting with narrow tip and pipe the batter into one 7 inch circle first, then continue with the remaining batter to make 2.5 inch long ladyfingers, keeping one inch space in between them.
Sprinkle coconut on the ladyfingers and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the ladyfingers are firm but only slightly browned and are spongy when pressed with a finger. Remove them from the oven and let the baking sheets cool on wire rack for a few minutes.
Let the cookies cool completely before using them.

Berry Mousse
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
55g sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tsp Chambord
2 tsp powdered gelatin + 1/4 cup cold water
1.5 cups frozen berries (I used blackberries and raspberries), thawed and mashed with a fork
3/4 cup whipping cream

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow.
Heat the milk in saucepan till just boiling. Gradually pour some of the milk over the egg yolks to temper. Add the remaining milk in a stream, whisking well.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and cook over medium low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat, pour in a bowl, add Chambord, mashed berries and gelatin and mix well to combine. Place bowl in ice bath to hasten the cooling down process.
In a large bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to soft peaks.
Fold the berry base in two additions into the cream. Use immediately.

Line a 6 inch cake ring with parchment paper, cut and place the 7 inch ladyfinger disc cookie to fit at the bottom (leave some space for the ladyfingers at the sides) and line the sides with as many ladyfingers to fit. Pour the mousse into the ring. Refrigerate for two hours or until completely set.
When ready to serve, unmold the charlotte and top with whipped cream and fresh berries.

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