Welcoming Early Spring with Bright Meyer Lemon Tart

The official spring date is only three weeks away, and even though it has been all rain and cloudy in the past month here in San Jose, we finally get a little sunshine this weekend and a glimpse of Spring! Oh, how I miss the sun and the bright Saturday morning, my favorite time of the week. You know Spring is just around the corner when tulips start showing up everywhere, my favorite flower! I got to take my niece and my nephew to their Chinese school this Saturday morning at 9am. While I was a bit lazy driving up north on Saturday morning without having my coffee first, I was really enjoying the drive. I live in the south area, where you can see the mountains up close and in this time of the year, the mountains look very green, especially with all of the rain we've been having. I always have to take highway if I want to go everywhere and I always go pass a huge empty field which is now filled with yellow weeds, creating the most beautiful yellow carpet you'll ever see on a bed of bright green grass. You can also see cherry blossom tree in half and full blossom everywhere, lemon tree and orange tree are so common here in people's front and backyard.

I almost forgot how enjoyable and amazing it is the beauty around us, that we often take for granted. Little things that put a smile in your face, that make your heart filled with joy, and that brighten your day, just like this meyer lemon tart. My fridge is always full of lemons (meyer lemons in particular) this winter, and I don't even have a lemon tree. I got some from friends at church who have lemon tree in their backyard, from my coworkers, from everywhere that I don't have to worry about this particular citrus whenever I need it. Unfortunately, I haven't been doing them some justice this season; notice that I haven't made anything citrus-y this winter. I do have a long list of lemon desserts I want to make, but it's just so hard to find the time here and there, and if I do have the time, something else always come up last minute.

If there are little things that could bring joy for me, one of them is gotta be the smell of fresh-cut lemons in the kitchen, on Saturday morning when I don't have to rush things. The smell just can't be beaten by anything else, well maybe equally satisfying as the smell of fresh-sliced strawberries and peaches in the summer, but oh, it was so refreshing, nothing like lemon-scented dish soap or air freshener can ever compete with. The first thing that come up to my mind when it comes to lemons, it's Pierre Herme's lemon tart. It was almost exactly a year ago (one week shy) since I made this lemon tart here. Despite the not-so-pretty looking meringue decoration that I did, it tasted wonderful and I'm sure many of you agree with me that PH's lemon tart is indeed extraordinary.

I made the pate sucree two weeks before and I kept it safe in the freezer, thawed and baked just when I need it, a great time saver since the dough needs to be rested for a few hours after making and after rolling. The lemon cream is also pretty straight forward, you will need to whisk it constantly for about 10-15 minutes to prevent the eggs from curdling. After that, the blending of the butter that will make the curd the velvetiest and the smoothest cream ever.

I layered one of them with ganache underneath the lemon cream since I happen to have a little ganache in the fridge. This is the first time I ever paired lemon with chocolate and I'm excited to put this combination in another form!

I use a little more lemon juice than the previous one I made before, just because four lemons gave me this exact amount and I also increased the sugar a bit. Instead of topping it off with Italian meringue like what I did before, I simply pipe some whipped cream on top of it. I don't really prefer the added sweetness from the meringue and I much prefer whipped cream instead, but it all really depends on you. I also brushed some clear glaze on top of it, you can't really see it because of the lighting and the angle probably, but it made the tart shiny!

Have a blessed week! :)

Pierre Herme's Meyer Lemon Tart

Pate Sucree
yield: three 101/2-in crusts or four 8-in crusts

300g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
190g powdered sugar
60g ground almonds
1 vanilla bean, scrapped
2 eggs, room temperature
500g all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
  • Put the butter in a mixer bowl and cream until smooth and creamy using a paddle attachment.
  • Add the sugar, ground almonds, and vanilla bean seeds. Mix until combined.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating the previous one before adding the next one (the dough might look curdled at this point but don't worry, it'll come together once you add the flour)
  • Combine the flour and salt. Add to the dough in about three addition. Mix until just it comes together. Do not overwork! Like Pierre said, "it's better to have lumps of butter rather than to have an overworked dough".
  • Divide the dough in the portions you need. Form each one into a ball and flatten it into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight (you can also freeze the dough at this point and thaw it in the fridge overnight).
  • Remove one disk from the fridge, and roll it either between two sheets of parchment paper, or just well-floured surface. You need to move quickly though. You don't want the dough to be soft and overworked.
  • Line your tart pan with the dough and put it back in the fridge for at least 1-2 hrs to rest.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • When you're ready to bake, put a parchment paper on top of the dough and fill the bottom with either rice or beans.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Take the parchment paper and the beans/rice off, then continue to bake for another 5-10 minutes until it's golden brown.
  • Let cool in the ring.
Lemon Cream

4 eggs
175 g fresh Meyer lemon juice
225 g sugar
zest from about 3-4 lemons
300 g unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • Rub the zest with the sugar using your finger until the sugar is moistened with lemon oil.
  • On a double boiler, combine the sugar, eggs and juice .
  • Whisk/stir constantly until the mixture reaches 85-86 C.
  • Strain the mixture and let cool to about 55-60 C and put it in a blender (if you don't have a hand-held blender)
  • Add the butter a couple of pieces at a time, to make an emulsion. The mixture will lighten in color. Continue running the blender for a few minutes after all of the butter has been added to ensure the airy and light cream. Make sure stop and run the blender a few times to avoid over-heating.
  • Pour the mixture into prepared crust and refrigerate.

Silk Pudding With Passion Fruit Sauce

You would never believe what I did last weekend, well, I wouldn't. I did trapeze! It's not because that I know I would get sores in all of my body parts like what I have now, but because it's trapeze! I'm not the most adventurous person, although I won't say that I'm boring either, but I do like to try new things within a reasonable limit :P. Even though it is not a life-threatening experience like sky-diving, but still, everyone's scared of heights, and add some swinging to that while you're holding your body with your hands on a bar. No, I don't regret it at all, it's a different experience, yeah... and maybe unenjoyable too, but I'm proud of myself to be able to have the courage to do it. Although it was really hard and scary climbing what seemed to be a never-ending ladder, I did find myself enjoying it at the end and I was even thinking that I could probably do another swing or two.

It is a great experience, and a cold one too. I wish the weather was a little warmer as it was super cold that day in Sonoma, California. It hasn't been sunny at all around here. Cloud, rain, wind, coldness are what we have been seeing for the past few weeks, very unusual for California I would say. My feet were freezing cold and it didn't help when I climbed the ladder too as I couldn't feel my toes anymore.

I miss the sunny weather so much now and seeing the cherry blossom trees blooming with their soft pink flowers, just blew me away. Cherry blossom season are very quick, about two weeks probably and for me, this is the most beautiful time of the year. They bloom a little faster this year, it was probably caused by all the rains that we got, but I'm not complaining. I'm just waiting patiently for the sun to come up again :)

Now, let's talk about dessert. In the midst of the cloudy weather and rain, I feel like a little sunshine in a dessert won't hurt. Besides, I promised you already that I would post the recipe for the silk pudding I made a few weeks back. I made this dessert for a potluck gathering for another family member. Every year, they have a potluck celebrating the Chinese New Year and have a fellowship together and every year too, I make a dessert for her to bring to the gathering and this year is no exception too. I knew that I would make this pudding again ever since I made it the first time at San San's farewell. It is so easy to make, simple, tastes wonderfully light and soft and I knew that they're gonna like it.

For the syrup, you can actually use different flavor, but it just happen that all Asian grocery stores that I visit, only carry this one flavor. Not that I'm complaining as I love passion fruit flavor, but it's better if I have more options. Mango would be good if it's available. You need to use syrup that's not very thick or sweet, this one I'm using is pretty thin in consistency and this is good since you would use the syrup as the sauce for the pudding. The texture of this pudding is similar of not the same as the almond pudding you would find at Chinese dim sum places, but better (note that I don't like almond flavoring in all kinds of dessert :D). No need to use your teeth to chew as it would just melt in your mouth. Yes, it is soft like that.

The ingredients are very simple, but they might not be familiar for non-asian.

Silk Pudding with Passion Fruit Sauce

1 package (7 grams) agar-agar (Indonesian agar agar)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1800 ml water
Passion fruit syrup

Mix the water, condensed milk and agar2 in a saucepan and bring to a boil over a medium heat. This will take a while, stir often as to prevent the milk mixture to be separated. When it comes to a gentle boil, remove from the heat and pour in a mould. I use 9x13" pyrex glass mould and it fits perfectly.

Let the pudding sit at room temperature until at least the steam has gone. Transfer it to the refrigerator and chill until set, about 3 hours at least. Cut into squares using knife, or if you're using small/mini mould, no need to cut them.

Pour enough syrup to cover the surface of the pudding. Shake the pan gently to let the syrup to go down in between the cuts. Add more syrup as needed, but don't go overboard as it will be too sweet. Put the pudding back in the fridge and chill for at least another four hours to let the syrup penetrates the pudding. You can scatter some fruits on top. I used raspberry but mango or any fruits should work well. Serve cold.

The Journey To A Perfect Macaron: Dark Chocolate Nutella Ganache and White Chocolate Passion Fruit Macarons

I wrote this post with a big relieve in my heart, knowing that I could finally make a macaron, and not just any macaron, but macaron Pierre Herme style! I've always been shy away from this particular French goodie. When half of the world seems to be very enthusiastic and has been making what appears to be the most popular little snack in France, me on the other hand, are trying to make excuses not to follow the macaron trend.

I first knew about macarons about 2 years ago when I was reading lots of french blogs and all of them have at least posted one macaron post, all colorful and lined up like soldiers in a box. My eyes immediately drawn into these little things and I started to find out more about this jewel. I found so many tutorials on making macarons, temperature, humidity, consistency, aged egg whites, etc, and I thought, what could be so hard making a meringue cookie with only egg whites, sugar, and almond powder? It surely seemed simple enough for me at that time, but oh boy was I wrong. I tried one recipe from one french blog that I followed at that time. Her recipe seemed to be quite popular as many of other blogs followed her recipe, and she's using Italian Meringue method. My first attempt in this cookie was not love at first sight. It surely did not look anything like the picture in her blog, it has no "feet", it cracks, and most importantly, it was REALLY sweet, nothing close to what I was expecting, a wonderful taste that everyone praised for. I dumped all of them in the trash.

This is how I started my journey and curiosity for macarons. I read and read lots more blogs about macarons, and how I know that there are two methods, french meringue (FM) method, and italian meringue (IM) method . I tried a couple different recipes too from trusty blogs, from a japanese cookbook that I own and they're all using the FM method, which is easier. But none of them gave me a satisfactory result. They had feet, but they're not perfect, it didn't give me a straight frilly feet, but I think this because I folded the batter a little too much. The tops were not smooth, but this is because I was too lazy to sift them. I thought it's nearly impossible to sift ground almonds through my flour sifter because they will never go through. On my last attempt, I did pulse my almond powder even more with food processor and sifted it and the tops were smooth. Another problem is that they're too fragile, they have thin shells that cracks easily and still the worst problem, they're still REALLY sweet even after I reduced the sugar. I think I tried making macarons about 6 times and never really got a perfect macaron (that's why you never see them on my dessert table menu :D). Granted that I didn't really know how it supposed to taste like, I didn't know what a perfect macaron is, until I tasted one from Laduree (thanks to my sister in law who graciously shared her macarons with me). It was still sweet but not sickeningly sweet that it would hurt my teeth. They taste none like the ones I got from some French patisserie here, which were very sweet. So, I was determined once again to relive my excitement towards macarons.

When Valentine rolled around, I saw more and more macarons post and my hands were itchy to get into these little precious. Then I saw Veron's post on Pierre Herme's macarons, and bingo! She kindly posted PH original macaron recipe and I was so excited because it's very hard to find original professional pastry chef recipe in the web, especially when that pastry chef is Pierre Herme. I set aside special time for me to make this (which was on President's Day holiday) and not trying to multitask and making different things all at once (although, I did manage to make some pate sucree while waiting for the macarons to dry out :D). I sifted the almond powder 2-3 times and I followed the recipe to the T! I did have a feeling that it will still be super sweet by looking at the amount of sugar but I followed it anyway. I carefully placed the baking pan in the oven and trying not to stuck my nose in the window while it's baking., although I did that anyway on the 7th minutes and I almost jumped out of excitement when I saw that they're all have beautiful feet, the ones I've been looking for, and smooth tops! I tried to redeem my joy while cleaning up although I probably smile the whole time while doing this :D.

I didn't color the batter at all because I didn't know how they're gonna turn out. Now that I know they turned out wonderful, I can use all the color in the rainbow for my macarons. The most important thing is that they don't taste as sweet as the previous 6 batches I made in the past, although I think PH recipe has more sugar total, I'm wondering if this has anything to do with the IM method, hmm.... They're still sweet for my Asian taste, but not painfully sweet, and I think the sweetness it similar if not the same as the ones from Laduree.

The next challenge is making the perfect filling. I first tried making Pierre Herme's milk chocolate and passion fruit ganache but it didn't turn out quite well. I felt like the flavor of milk chocolate and passion fruit are fighting to overpower each other. So I decided to use more neutral flavor with white chocolate and make white chocolate passion fruit ganache. I also have dark chocolate nutella ganache that had been sitting in the fridge and they're perfect for macarons fillings! The slight bitterness from the dark choc ganache and the slight tartness from white chocolate passion fruit ganache balanced out and cut the sweetness of the macaron shell. I can't decide which one I like better, I think I like them both equally. They each have different characteristic, dark deep chocolate with slight hazelnut flavor versus sweet and tangy tropical passion fruit, hmmm......

My macarons may not be perfect yet, I still have a lot to learn and experiment but I consider this a milestone in my macaron journey! I'm excited to try different flavor and color combination and I'm already thinking deep purple blackcurrant, chocolate-mango, rose, pistachio, hazelnut, coffee, green tea, lemon, ahhh.. so many possibilities :)

Pierre Herme Macarons
Taken from www.kitchenmusing.com

150 grams almond powder
150 grams confectioners' sugar
56 grams fresh egg whites, room temperature
150 grams granulated sugar
38 grams water
56 grams old egg whites, room temperature

Sift the almond powder and confectioners' sugar together. Set aside.

Combine the granulated sugar and the water in a saucepan and cook until it reaches 245F. Don't stir the syrup as you will end up with crystallized mass.

Meanwhile, while the sugar is cooking, start whipping the aged egg white on medium speed until it forms a soft peak. When the sugar is ready, pour the cooked syrup in a steady stream over the meringue with the mixer running on slow. It will splatter, but don't try to scrape them into the meringue as you would get lumps. Increase the speed to high and continue beating until you have a stiff glossy meringue.

Mix the fresh egg white with the almond-sugar mixture and blend together. Fold in the meringue into this almond mixture in addition. Add about a third of the meringue and fold progressively, then proceed with another third of the meringue and fold it in. Don't overfold the batter as you would have a gloppy mess. Consistency is really important at this point, some people say that it should flow like a lava (I don't know how lava flows though). If you're not sure, try piping a little dollop and see if it leaves a peak that will not spread or if it spreads too fast. You should still see a little peak after you pipe, but the peak should disappear or almost disappear after you pipe a row of them.

Put the batter in a piping bag with round tip (I used a tip with approximately 9mm in diameter) and pipe the macaron batter on top of silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325F for about 14-15 minutes. Once baked, slide the silpat or parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Peel each macaron shell carefully.

You can fill them with ganache or flavored buttercream. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften up before consuming.

Mini Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Cake for Your Valentine!

First of all, I want to wish you a Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Valentine's Day! I used to have a big family gathering every year on Chinese new year with my dad's side of the family, then we started to go house to house to my mom's side of family. It was a tradition that was never skipped, until the last few years before I moved here to the States. So, I don't get to celebrate it the big way like it used to be anymore, especially since now my parents are so far away in Indonesia. But I never fail to call them each year and wish them a happy new year and good health. Oh, how I miss them so badly :(.

On the other hand, I was never big on Valentine. I'm still happy whenever Valentine comes around because I got to see some cute and romantic decoration everywhere. I also love to check out what other people in the blogsphere world made to celebrate this love day. Most of them involved lots of chocolate, raspberries, strawberries, rose, and it's very interesting to see what they made to show their love to the significant other. I did have LOTS of ideas of Valentine's dessert, not that I celebrate it or anything but it's just interesting to participate in the season :), but of course ideas don't just come to reality just like that. I only had time to make this one mini cake. I'll save the other dessert ideas for next time :)

This cake wasn't one of my original ideas, in fact, this wasn't planned at all. I was going to Trader Joe's to pick up a mascarpone cheese for the previous cake and at that time, they were distributing a cake sample. It was their vanilla bean butter cake mix, topped with raspberry mascarpone (mascarpone mixed with raspberry jam), and guess what, vanilla bean, mascarpone, raspberry, my favorite!!! the cake was really simple to make but it reminds me once again how much I love mascarpone and raspberry together. So, after making the previous cake, I had a little mascarpone mousse leftover and I immediately remembered the previous cake sample I had. So, I took one chocolate sponge in the freezer and cut it up with a cake ring, layered it with thin layer of raspberry jam, put some fresh raspberry on the edges, mixed the leftover mascarpone mousse with raspberry jam and layered it on the cake. I also had some mascarpone cheesecake in the freezer already cut up to fit the inside of my mini cake ring, so I put it inside the raspberry mascarpone. Fortunately, I also had a little raspberry glaze left too in the freezer to put on top of the cake. Yes, I have A LOT of little goodies here and there in the freezer in case you're wondering :). I found gorgeous raspberries when I shopped for the previous cake too. It was expensive for a little box, but I had to buy it. It turned out to be organic raspberries and they were like little gems, bright red, plump, fresh, and I just have to take a pic.

I guess all these coincident (or more like all these leftovers) are meant for Valentine theme. It has chocolate, raspberries, red color, I just love the color of this . One thing I didn't have as leftover was the red rose petal. I thought it would look super pretty with it underneath the raspberries, don't you think? :D

Black Raspberry, White Peach Jelly and Mascarpone Mousse Cake

This is the third cake in a row last week, out of four (not counting the mini cakes). I almost officially feel like I want to take a break from baking for a week, but of course that'll never happen. There are so many delicious things to try and since time is very precious to me, I won't be wasting it :).

To be honest, I was completely exhausted before starting this cake but there's no way that I would buy a cake for Lawrence, one of our close co-worker friends :). Not having the time to do a full shopping, I tried to use what I had at home. Besides, I almost always have heavy cream, assorted frozen fruits purees, different type of chocolates, gelatin, eggs readily available at home, so I'm good. I had some white peach puree that I froze last summer and also a little frozen black raspberry left in the bag. Remember my depression when I found that Trader Joe's no longer had black raspberry? I was completely devastated, and I saved the last half-full bag in the freezer until now. I figured that sooner or later, it had to be used, it can't stay in the ferezer forever. I did some research and there is two or three farms that sells them frozen, the problem is just that I have to buy it in bulk quantity and there's no way I could use up 10lbs of black raspberry by myself.

Okay, back to the cake. I baked vanilla bean cotton sponge cake and layered it with white peach gelee, black raspberry gelee, and mascarpone mousse. I didn't have enough puree for the black raspberry jelly and I had to add a little red raspberry puree to it. The taste of the white peach is barely noticeable, the subtle taste was completely overpowered by the other flavors. So I probably won't be using it in mousse or jelly form in the future, as a cut-up fruit inside of the cake might be nice. I was using my 8" square cake ring for the first time. It was a little too short, only 2" high, so the cake looked short (or was short). I was going to trim all four edges so that it showed the different layers, but I cancelled that idea since it will make the cake smaller considering the short height. I was completely blank for the decor, I think I came up with this super simple decor about 20 minutes before I had to leave for work.

Although I wasn't too happy with the decor, the most important thing is that everybody loved the cake!! It was indeed a very light cake, far from fulfilling. We are all Asians afterall, so we have the same taste in cake, not too sweet, light as feather, and refreshing :D

More Tiramisu

Just when the world doesn't need another tiramisu post, here I present you with two tiramisu. They're similar in design but for two different occasions. The mould is yet another collection of mine that I haven't got a chance to use. The design is also similar to the previous tiramisu here, except that this one is square instead of round. Since I think I made enough tiramisu already, this one is gonna be a short post. I just want to share this new look of tiramisu with you :)

These two tiramisu's are for different birthdays. One is for my coworker and the other one is for another coworker's girlfriend. The size is pretty small, about 4x8", enough for 6 people I think. I still like to use gold dragees to decorate the top, and I think I will be using them for my tiramisu :). I don't know which design I like better, the first or the second one. I think the first one is neater, although I used chocolate fence+ribbon combination pretty often already. The second one is simpler. Hmm..... decision decision.....

Anyways, since this is gonna be a short post, I'll just leave it at that. I hope you enjoy the pics. Have a blessed week everyone!

San-San's Farewell Party and Desserts

Goodbye is never my thing, I don't think it's everyone's thing anyway. I don't like airports and I really don't like the feeling when I'm seeing that person leaving and walking away to the airport security check-in and I had to say good bye for the last time. It is sad, but I always thankful at the same time that I got the chance to know them for a while. It's San-San's turn this time, she's going back to Indonesia for good and starting her own business there. She's been a really good friend for the three years she spent here in bay area, and I'm very blessed to know her. It really make me sad to see her leave but I'm also happy and wish her for the best for her future. I'm definitely gonna miss her but hopefully I can get to meet her whenever I'm in Indonesia :).

We were planning a farewell for her before she leaves. We don't want to call it a party because it certainly wasn't something that needs celebration. But we want to show her how much we love her and how much we're gonna miss her. So we bought some of San-San's favorite food here in the bay, invite some close friends, which turned out to be 50+ people (see San, we love you so much), and what gathering without some dessert? I certainly didn't want to make it over-the-top as again, this is not a bridal shower, baby shower, or a birthday, it's a farewell. I know she likes mascarpone cheesecake that I made so that one is definitely on the menu. Tiramisu was also in the menu as it is easy to make and fast, it is one of my go-to dessert whenever I need to make something good in a fairly limited time, although it might not be the cheapest dessert selection menu :)

Since tiramisu can be made ahead of time (and recommended too as the lady fingers need some time to absorb the moisture and to blend all the flavors), I decided to make the third dessert, which is a passion fruit silk pudding. The texture is very soft, similar to those asian almond pudding texture without the almond flavor (yes, I dislike almond extract) and you don't even need to use your teeth to bite into it. I used passion fruit syrup for the sauce as this is the only flavor available in a couple of different asian grocery store. I was actually looking for mango syrup, but since passion fruit is the only one they have, that'll do then, besides, I'm all for passion fruit anyway. I don't have a closer picture of the pudding as I wasn't taking these pictures, but I will be making it again next week for another event and will take a better close-up picture so that you can see it better and I'll make sure to post the recipe too.

For the cheesecake, I put some raspberries I froze in summer and put a good doze of meyer lemon zest too, these two makes a great pair. I drizzled the top with nutella dark chocolate ganache and put fresh raspberries on top. I was so glad that I could find beautiful red plump raspberries in this time of the year, although it is true that I live in California where berries are available all year long, but they don't always look like these ones. The ganache was delicious on its own, you can't really tell the hazelnut flavor when biting into the cheesecake though but since I kept licking my finger (and continuously wash them with soap and water afterward), the hazelnut flavor was definitely there. I'll probably add more nutella next time, it's good for glaze or filling or just as a spread on a toast.

(the pudding is the yellow one in the back)

We had a good time together, it's not a celebration but it's not a sad party as well. We certainly didn't want to send her off with a bad feeling, we want to send her off with cheerful feeling :). We set up a photo booth in the corner of the room and we had some funky props too to take pictures with San-San. It was a good night and I'll just leave it at that.

It's not a goodbye San, but it's an "I'll see you again next time". I wish you the best in Indonesia and we miss you :)

Strawberry and Pistachio Mousse Cake

This cake followed a few days after the previous cake, which was for another friend's birthday, Annette. This was one of those time that I had no clue of what cake I would make. I guess all my energy was spent on thinking the different components of the previous passion fruit cake :D. I just bought heavy cream on Friday night after work thinking that 99% chance I will need it for whatever it is I will decide to make the day after.

I was hoping that I could use some of the precious stuff I had in the freezer so that I won't have to buy something. I still have a large ziploc bag full of very ripe summer strawberries that I kept since summer and since summer this year is only a few months away, I decided to put them to use. The cake consists of two layer of sponge cake (already available), strawberry mousse for the bottom layer, a layer of cream cheese mousse layer hidden inside the strawberry mousse, and pistachio mousse for the top layer. I made strawberry gelee for the top layer too to brighten the color. The kitchen smells really good when I cut up the strawberries and pureed it, I felt like summer already. And the strawberry tasted exactly just when I bought it in summer, very ripe, juicy, tasty and sweet. The pistachio mousse itself was from pistachio mousseline that I lightened up with some whipped cream and I added more pistachio paste to it.

The end result looked a bit too tall for me, especially for 8" round cake that's not too big. I think the decoration for this cake is very different than my other cakes. I usually like simple, elegant decor, but surprisingly this time, it turned out so bright and cheerful, hahaha.... I did decide to put some red ribbon to match the red gelee and the strawberries on top, making it look even brighter :D. Oh well, in this middle of winter, we all can use some bright color to brighten up our life, don't we? :) Have a blessed week everyone!