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Strawberry Savarin
Posted: 03 October 2008 05:21 PM   [ Ignore ]
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This is a Savarin I made back in August, with some of the last good strawberries of the season.  My family likes this cake so much, I made it four times over the summer.  It is more complex and delicious than a strawberry shortcake, but with the same appeal.  It is supposed to have some whipped cream decoration, but I generally pile so much fruit on it there really isn?t room, so the whip cream goes in a bowl on the side. 

The components are:

Brioche
Rose’s Brioche is in all her Bibles, the Savarin is in the Cake Bible on p.79.  I flavored the Brioche dough with the zest of two small oranges and 1 tsp of the browned milk solids left over from clarifying butter.

Syrup
My goal for the syrup is to lightly sweeten the Savarin, without overpowering the basic brioche flavor or tasting too boozy.  I make it with 4T of gold rum and 110g of demerara sugar.  I have tried Limoncello (with blueberries), Grand Marnier (with Strawberries), and Amaretto (with peaches), but we all like the gold rum best, especially with the orange zest and strawberries.

Glaze
Because I wanted a longer-lasting glaze, I made Rose?s cassava glaze (p. 611, PPB) to brush on the outside of the cake and over the fruit.  I like the lemon version best.

Agar-Agar whipped cream
I used agar to stabilize the cream.  I have seen comments that raise questions about shelf life of agar since it is used for petri dishes.  It is not used to feed the bacteria in the dishes, but rather to provide a way of keeping them contained in the dish.  The bacteria don?t feed on the agar, it is an unusual carbohydrate that most microbes can?t digest (says Harold McGee).  It is generally stronger and longer-lasting than gelatin, and once set it doesn?t melt again until 185 degrees.  I use it because I don’t like the smell of simmering gelatin (OK, the source creeps me out a bit, too).

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Posted: 03 October 2008 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A few more casual desserts…  Apple Upside Down Cake, Open-Faced Peach Pie with caramel whipped cream, and Financiers baked in a Madeline mold, to use up extra egg whites.

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Posted: 03 October 2008 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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And, finally, a shot of my nightstand- the subject of many a family joke…

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Posted: 03 October 2008 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Do you ever sleep! LOL

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Posted: 03 October 2008 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Julie, thanks for sharing. The desserts look yummy. Love your collection of books.  smile

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Posted: 03 October 2008 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Julie, you’re quite a baker!

Do you have any links or hints for using agar-agar? I have a place where I can buy it, but am never quite sure how much to use or how to use it.

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Posted: 03 October 2008 11:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Love your photos Julie - your savarin is super yummy looking, and I can taste your apple upside down cake, but my favorite photos is your stack of books!  They look eerily similar to my stack of bedside books.  I don’t have the one on top, and I can’t make out the one under the wedding cake book, but I have all the rest. smile

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Posted: 03 October 2008 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Jeanette, well, I do have a tendency towards insomnia, hence the nightstand…  But seriously, these were baked over the course of a couple of months.  I love the Savarin and thought it was worth posting, the rest are really just family fare.  I had to use up two bags of peaches from my neighbor’s tree, and tried to make Rose’s galette but had to leave the house before I finished rolling the dough and switched to an open-face version (a failed galette doesn’t seem so bad when you call it an open-faced pie!).  And the apple cake is my daughter’s favorite, she requested it after a trip to a local orchard. 

Rozanne, thanks so much!  I hoped I’d find like-minded cookbook lovers here!

Barbara,  I’m still in the learning stages with agar-agar, and if I were attempting one of Rose’s masterpieces for company I’d probably go with the safe and sure option of gelatin.  But I’m happy to pass along what I’ve learned so far. 

My local health food store had the flakes, which take a while to simmer and didn’t always completely dissolve for me.  So I ground mine up in a grinder, and it’s better, but next time I will buy the powdered version online.  I have seen claims that the powdered version can be used directly in whip cream and meringues without being first dissolved, but I haven’t tried this yet because I was not able to achieve a fine enough grind.

Agar needs to simmer longer than gelatin in order to dissolve, maybe 10 minutes.  And it sets at a higher temperature, around 100F.  Once set, it remains firm until 149F and doesn’t totally re-melt until 185F.  The conversions I have seen on various web sites are:  2 cups of liquid needs 1 tsp of powder or 2Tblspn flakes to gel.  Highly acidic or chocolate liquids need 1.5x as much to gel. 

So, for 2 cups of heavy cream, I simmer 1 tsp powder in water until dissolved, then let it cool while I whip the cream to barely soft peaks and add sugar/vanilla.  Then I add the agar, which hopefully has not cooled too much, in a thin stream while whisking by hand.  The warm agar is tricky to add, because it can cause the cream to separate into butter granules very quickly if dumped in all at once.  A bowl of agar whipped cream stored in the ‘fridge doesn’t separate for several days.

I’m really looking forward to trying the finely powdered version just sprinkled in, though I can’t help but wonder if that will have detectable grains.  Anyone tried this?

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Posted: 03 October 2008 11:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Patrincia, thanks so much!  I’m so glad you like the books, it’s nice to be among like-minded people.  The picture is a bit overexposed (oops), but the one under the wedding cake book is “Paris Sweets” by Dorie Greenspan.  I used her financier recipe here, except I toasted the almonds and used caramelized, ground sugar for a burnt-almond flavor.

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Posted: 04 October 2008 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Julie—I use the fine powder sprinkled in—it is a lot easier and completely undetectable. Every time when I cooked it, I found it to be actually noticeable—but maybe I was doing something incorrectly. Anyway, not having the hassle of cooking and watching the temp is a lot easier and faster.

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Posted: 04 October 2008 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Julie - 04 October 2008 02:54 AM

Patrincia, thanks so much!  I’m so glad you like the books, it’s nice to be among like-minded people.  The picture is a bit overexposed (oops), but the one under the wedding cake book is “Paris Sweets” by Dorie Greenspan.  I used her financier recipe here, except I toasted the almonds and used caramelized, ground sugar for a burnt-almond flavor.

Ahhhh…. Paris Sweets!  It’s on my “to get” list.  Don’t you just love Dorie Greenspan???

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Posted: 04 October 2008 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Matthew, did you buy your powdered agar online?  Which brand?  My sense from trying to grind the flakes is that it’s very hard to achieve a fine powder, beyond the reach of my kitchen equipment.  Nice to know it’s undetectable, thanks!

Patrincia, yes, I like the Paris Sweets book, but to tell the truth I was disappointed that there are no photos.  The few recipes I’ve tried have been good, and they all give gram weights, which is great.

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Posted: 05 October 2008 02:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Julie, I’ve been wanting to post but got lost in cyber.  What a great refinement to use brioche as a much tastier cake than plain sponge!  And love your all other desserts.

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Posted: 06 October 2008 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Hector, thanks so much, it means a lot coming from someone as accomplished as you are.  I have tried many variations of the Savarin theme, but this is the one that suits us best.  And it all comes from Rose’s Bibles.

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Posted: 06 October 2008 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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if Rose is Jesus then I am one of the apostoles!

try CR Strawberry conserve, both diluted in the syrup, mixed in the whipped cream, or even as a shiny glaze on the fresh strawberries.  T is the ultimate strawbewrry flavor enhancer!

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Posted: 15 October 2008 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Hector, you are just amazing.

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