STRAWBERRY SAVOIR CAKE-- Biscuit de Savoie aux fraises
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I haven’t gone to wild strawberry picking but I have been tasted and enjoyed their elegant (subtle) sweetness and mild flavor. However, a friend of great organic farmer Curt and his family have been growing petite strawberries like wild strawberries for many years. His strawberries are normally coming late to the market, around the middle of June and it is now at the best time of their short season. They are very popular among local admires, everyone knows it. So if I am coming late in Sunday morning to the market, they are gone for sure, perhaps till next week.
I usually just eat them, or making simple tartlet (small tart with crème fraîche like Savoir people do) or place top on vanilla ice cream or plain yogurt. I also enjoy making this rustic but classic Savoir cake when I have a bit of time, and I enjoy it with wine from Savoir whenever I can find it. They are interesting pale yellow color white wine or pale rose sparkling wine such as Cerdon du Bugey (I feel this wine is almost perfectly made for the pastry). You should try to taste it, and you will find new jolly discovery.
Savoir is a beautiful mountain region eastern France, neighbor to Swiss Alps and northwest of Italy. Food is very delicious; berries, milk, cheese, sausage, mushroom, potatoes etc. in all seasons. I once had a great experience there tasting milk that cows produce different taste and bouquet of milk everyday as they walking up eating different grasses and wildflowers on the mountains. I was told that their milk even taste different from morning and evening, and some cheese makers need to decide which milk they use for their cheese particularly.
I love the countryside, especially beautiful and pristine place like Savoir where air smells so good. I was born and raised in the big city, so visiting Savoir was more than memorable experience and also learned their hard work; 365 days a year working for the sake of nature and need to tend animals everyday. They don’t give you days off even you are very tired.
This cake is a perfect one to learn and practice baking and pastry making. Because you need to make light and delicacy cake, basic pastry custard cream and fruit syrup, and choosing good ingredients to use for a greater result (important fundamental. Everything stars from good ingredients!), but it is not difficult to make. And you would impress to all your friends.
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- I pound (450g) small organic strawberries (include 4 ounces for strawberry syrup)
- 5 large eggs (250g), separated
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- fine zest of one lemon and juice of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 4 ounces (110g) powdered sugar
- 3 ounces (90g) all-purpose flour or cake flour, sifted
- 4 tablespoons (30g) cornstarch, sifted
- For mold
- 20 grams unsalted butter, soft
- 4 tablespoons caster sugar or raw sugar
- ½ cup (100ml) strawberry syrup**
- Pastry cream
- 1¼ cups (300ml) whole milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 2.5 ounces (75g) powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons (30g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 tablespoons (25g) unsalted butter
- ½ vanilla pod (split) or 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- Strawberry syrup
- 4 ounces (120g) strawberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ juice of one lemon (optional)
- Position a rack in center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (170°c). Butter the mold and dust with caster sugar. Tap out the excess. Set aside.
- Place the egg whites with the salt in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat until they hold firm but not too thick. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolk, lemon zest, juice and powdered sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Whisk in the vanilla extract if you are using.
- Scoop about ¼ cup of the white mix in the yolk mixture, and then the flour and cornstarch holding in with a rubber spatula. Add another ¼ cup of the white fold in to lighten the mixture. Finally scrape all remaining whites into the bowl and gently hold them in with a spatula.
- Pour cake batter into the mold and place onto a baking sheet. Bake the cake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted deep in the center comes out clean.
- Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake sit for 5 minutes, then use a table knife to pry the cake away from the sides of the pan. Turn the cake over onto a rack and cool completely.
- Heat up the milk and vanilla pod and seeds in a medium size saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and flour in a medium size mixing bowl. Pour slowly ⅓ hot milk into the eggs flour mixture mix well, and then transfer to the saucepan. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir constantly over medium low heat until custard become thick about 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the custard strain through a fine sieve over a clean bowl. Combine the butter, cover directly over to the custard and refrigerate it until
- In a small saucepan, strawberries, sugar and water bring to boil, and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add the lemon juice if you are using. Strain through a sieve. Set aside.
- Cut the strawberries in a half (or quarter if they are big). Place in the bowl and toss with some strawberry syrup.
- Cut the cake horizontally in middle; brush both cut-sides of cakes with strawberry syrup.
- Spread pastry cream on top of bottom side of the cake. Spread the strawberries over pastry cream and place other cake on it.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar on top of cake and decorate with remaining strawberries.