Monday, October 23, 2006

If I had the time...

It seems there are a couple of visitors to this blog who are blessed with quite a bit of spare time on their hands; how I envy them because if I had the time I'd really like to indulge in making this amazing cake which Keiko of Nordljus featured sometime ago. She didn't post an English recipe so I had to back it out with some guesswork involved.

Well, I've been swamped with work lately so I'll just share the recipe. The cake is quite elaborate therefore perfect for those with the luxury of time, I hope they can use their time constructively to create something as rewarding and beautiful as this piece of edible art.

The bergamot (see photo) in Earl Grey tea goes very well with the citrus flavour of kumquat(kinotto). It is an elegant dessert, perfect for the summer. It is made up of three parts: an almond sponge base, then the tea mousse and finally a wafer thin layer of caramelised kumquat flavoured meringue.

Kumquat and Earl Grey Tea Mousse Cake

Almond Sponge:
1/3 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for tins
3 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

Reduce oven temperature to 190º. Place the almonds and the cornstarch in bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

Butter and line Swiss roll tin with parchment and butter again, then dust with flour, and set aside to cool, to room temperature. This won't take that long because the chocolate took a lot of the heat out when it melted.

Beat egg whites till they begin to stiffen, then add sugar and beat till they hold soft peaks.
Fold 1/3 the egg whites into the chocolate custard, then fold in the rest. Fold in the whipped cream (the mixture will be quite liquid at this point). Pour into molds or cups, and chill.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together egg yolks and vanilla. With mixer on high speed, gradually add 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until pale, thick, and light, about 5 minutes. Transfer egg-yolk mixture to a large bowl; set aside. Wash and dry mixer bowl and attachment.

Place egg whites and salt in the clean mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high, and gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until stiff and glossy, about 4 minutes.

Fold the egg-white mixture into the egg-yolk mixture. In three additions, fold the reserved ground-almond mixture into this new mixture. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans, and smooth the tops with an offset spatula.

Bake cakes until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool, about 25 minutes. Turn out cakes, and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Earl Grey Tea Mousse:
1 tbsp candied kumquats, finely chopped
370ml milk
3 egg yolks
90g caster sugar
10ml corn flour
120ml double cream
4 tsp Earl Grey tea

Place tea leaves in a saucepan, add the milk and bring to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about half an hour. Remove the leaves.
Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and corn flour until pale. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly.
Return to the saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat, strain into a clean bowl and leave to cool.
Whisk cream and fold in the custard. Chill.

2 egg whites
50g sugar
1 tsp kumquat zest
icing sugar for caramelisation
Whisk egg white until foamy, add sugar and continue whisking until soft peak stage. Fold in zest. Set aside.

To Assemble:
Lay out the sponge in a round or square cake ring (bottomless) on top of a board or platter. Pile the chilled mousse on top of the sponge and then smooth the top of the mousse. Return to fridge to chill. When you are ready to serve, spread a thin layer of meringue on top of the mousse and caramelise with a chef's blowtorch. Take off the ring and serve. If the ring is stuck, lightly torch around the ring once.

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