Monday, July 5, 2010

Strawberry Obsession: Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry Sorbet and Strawberry Lollipop


I'm in some sort of strawberry madness lately, as you can tell by all three strawberry desserts in one post. Everytime I go to farmers' market almost every Sunday, I try so hard not to stop by my favorite strawberry stall, I even try not to stare! But when you see bright red color in the corner of your eyes, you just gotta look, and that's very dangerous as I can hardly contain myself from tasting a sample and ended up buying it. It happens everytime, classic. Does it happen to you too? Please tell me that I'm not weird :(


But anyways, here I am, always overloaded with fresh juicy strawberries almost every week. Ever since we went strawberry picking last time, I kept thinking of how to make the best out of the strawberry season this year, and that's when I started writing my list of things to make this summer. At least now I can be glad and proud that I can cross two out of a hundred items (and still growing) on that list.


Started out with strawberry shortcake. If you notice, I make strawberry shortcake every year at the peak of strawberry season. I think this is one of the best ways to highlight the sweet strawberries at its finest. I'm not talking about the all-American strawberry shortcake which is made with flaky scones, but I'm talking what most people referred to the Japanese-style strawberry shortcake, which uses soft genoise or sponge cake instead of scone. Strawberry plays one of the most important role in this dessert, and that it has to be sweet. There's nothing more horrifying that eating strawberry cake with sour strawberries.


I like to use orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier with my strawberry shortcake as I love the combination of strawberry and slight orange taste in the background. Many people use Kirsch as well, but I am not particularly a fan of it, it's all a matter of taste.

Before I'm moving on the sorbet subject, I have a confession to make. I own some cookbooks (or dessert books), not so many, but there a couple of them (I should take a picture of them sometimes), but I rarely or almost never followed any recipe from them. I don't know, I've always been put off in trying one of their recipes because I'm afraid that I won't like them or the recipe is just too lengthy. Most of the cookbooks that I own (or all of them) are the kinds that have a very long recipes page with multiple different components, a lot of them has some bizarre ingredients that I've never heard before or the ones that would cost me a fortune.


If I have to choose between ice cream or sorbet on a hot summer day, I would probably opt for sorbet. I don't eat frozen stuff that often (I have very sensitive teeth), but when I do, it has to be good. Sorbet is also one of the best ways to bring out the best flavor of the fragrance of the fruit, so simple and so pure.

When I was looking for a sorbet recipe, I have a few recipes I can try with very similar ingredients from French magazine and from one of my cookbooks, but I finally settle on the later, which is from this book. The picture of the sorbet looks so smooth and has a great texture, but it has some unfamiliar ingredients such as atomized glucose and sorbet stabilizer. This is one of my favorite books together with this and this. The book explains what each ingredient is and what their role is in the sorbet, love it! Luckily, one of my favorite baking sites carries it! I had to order it twice because I missed one ingredient the first time, but now that I got them, I'm all set to go.

The resulting sorbet turned out to be so delicious! It's all I've ever wanted in a sorbet, strong flavor, great texture, just perfect! It's like strawberry explosion in your mouth, just pure and intense strawberry flavor. The strawberries you use need to be tasty, I won't recommend making this using winter strawberries, even in California. I had to make two batches of this sorbet because my nephew loves it and he constantly asked for it. He and I share the same preference in frozen stuff, sorbet over ice cream. I was going to save the sorbet for dessert for something else with other sorbets I'm going to make (more on that later), but I just can't say no to my nephew when he "begged" me for it on a really hot California day. So, I decided to make more using my last fresh and frozen strawberries I have, I guess it can be considered as another Spring Cleaning? :)


So, what's up with the strawberry lollipops? Umm... nothing really. I just thought that they look so cute on a stick :), don't they?

Strawberry Shortcake

Sponge Cake:
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
100 g sugar
80 g cake flour, sifted
60 g melted butter

Filling:
100 g mascarpone cheese, room temperature
50 g sugar
250 g heavy cream
Cointreau or Grand Marnier (or Kirsch)
fresh sweet strawberries, sliced (set aside some whole ones for decoration)
  • To make the sponge cake: Preheat the oven to 350F and lined two 8" square pan with parchment paper
  • Beat the eggs (whole and yolks) with the sugar on a med-high speed until the mixture is very thick and pale (ribbon-stage)
  • Incorporate the flour in three addition and fold carefully as not to lose too much air
  • Fold in the melted butter until well-mixed
  • Divide the batter between two prepared pans and bake it for about 20 minutes or until done.
  • Let cool on a wire rack
  • To make the filling: Combine the mascarpone cheese, sugar, heavy cream, and liqueur, and beat until it forms a semi-stiff peak but still has its shine. Use it immediately
  • To assemble: Put one layer of cake on a base and spread the filling on top.
  • Arrange the strawberry slices and top it with the other cake.
  • Spread another thin layer of filling on top and decorate all you want
  • If you don't have enough filling for the top layer or to decorate it with, just simply whip fresh whipped cream with a little sugar (you can add liqueur if you want).

Strawberry Sorbet
adapted from Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries

750 g strawberry puree
60 g atomized glucose
120 g sugar
80 ml water
3/4 tsp sorbet stabilizer
  • Put the water and atomized glucose in a sacepan and bring it to a gentle boil.
  • Mix the sugar and the sorbet stabilizer, and add it to the water mixture and bring it back to a boil.
  • Let cool completely (you can put this mixture in a fridge overnight)
  • Mix the cool syrup with strawberry puree and let it the mixture "mature" in the fridge for 24 hrs
  • Churn it in an ice cream machine
Note:
  • The book says to mix everything (except the strawberry puree) without boiling them first. I boiled mine to dissolved the sugar.
  • The book also suggests another alternative, which is to boil all ingredients to a certain temperature, and cool it for 24 hrs before churning.
  • The mixture needs to sit for a long time to let the stabilizer develop its role, but I also read a few other recipes (not from the book) which only matures the sugar syrup overnight and churn it immediately after being mixed with the puree. Some doesn't even require maturing, just mix and churn.

31 comments:

Kaitlin said...

Incredible photos.

I am so sad strawberry season is over here... I used to stock up on them, too!

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... said...

The sorbet really looks good.

I didn't know what was atomized glucose and googled, ah-ha! It's powdered glucose. It's a pretty common ingredient then. BTW, if I omit the sorbet stabilizer, will it be ok, I don't think I can find that here.

Amanda said...

Everything looks so beautiful and colorful. I really like how you iced the cake too, so pretty.

ajcabuang04 said...

This looks beyond great!! So professional looking and your pictures are great!! I love strawberry shortcake but I love it with a cake, not a scone, like this one!!
Would you mind checking out my blog? :D http://ajscookingsecrets.blogspot.com/

sana said...

How nice your work!!
every thing look perfeck

Bertha said...

Kaitlin: I'm thinking of buying a freezer just to stock up on summer fruits :)

Wendy: yes, it is powdered glucose. It's sweetening power is 1/2 of regular sugar and it provides stickiness and frothiness. The stabilizer is to absorb or jellying the water container in the fruit puree to prevent forming flakes in the sorbet. You can omit this, most regular sorbet recipes don't even have these two ingredients, but it provides better texture

Amanda: Thank you!

ajcabuang04: Love your blog! everything looks so good :)

Sana: Thank you :)

Ειρήνη said...

beautiful and yummy!

Jess @ Bakericious said...

all look so beautiful especially the cake and sorbet, yummy

HADİYE said...

offfff.
Harika görüntü.Nefiss.

Sevgiler*

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

These look fantastic!! Love the way you did the top! Please do some tutorials :)

Bertha said...

Thanks again Ειρήνη, Jess, and Hadiye! btw, I had to google Hadiye's comment to understand it :), thank you :)

Avanika: It's really easy to pipe the top that I don't think tutorial is needed :). I simply pipe some cream using round plain tip with approx 1cm diameter diagonally.

DG said...

I love strawberry, so .... everything in here I love it too :)
Too bad I cannot straigh away taste it :D

I've got 2 awards for you, please feel free to get it from my blog.

ovenhaven said...

Beautiful photos :) I don't know why I haven't found your blog before this, but I'll be sure to drop by more often!

michelle said...

Very impressive. The diagonal piping really makes it over the top! In a good way. Great work.

ann ann said...

Hi there,this cake looks so nice..
I was trying to bake this yesterday for my cousin sister,she is one of the strawberry lover!
However, the cake taste kinda dry,
just wondering is it actually taste like this?

SUE

Bertha said...

Hi Sue,
the cake shouldn't be dry as it uses quite a bit of butter and more fat from the yolk. I don't know why yours is dry, I can only guess that your oven temperature is hotter than mine? or did you bake it longer? did you use smaller pan size?
If you think it's still dry, you can increase the amount of the melted butter by 20g

Anonymous said...

Hey Your cake looks really awesome~ i'm bought to bake one tomorrow for a friend would just like to ask if you're using large or medium eggs and whether i can sub the pan wit an 8 inch round pan?

Teoh

Bertha said...

Teoh: round pan has smaller surface area than square one, so your cake would be higher, which is fine if you're ok with it. 8" square is similar to 9" round, so you could use that too, or just convert the recipe from 8" sq to 8" round by multiplying everything to 0.8 (I just did the conversion :D).

I always use large eggs, or extra-large eggs sometimes.

garnette said...

Oooo cool! oh you just times by 0.8? Haaa really like to learn from ya~ okay another thing how do you pipe those diagonal cream on top wad tip did you use? =) yea probably higher is alrite right? HAHAHA for the round pan~

Thanks a lot!

-Teoh-

Bertha said...

Teoh: yeah, just calculate the ratio based on the surface area (assuming the height is the same). I used regular round tip, i think mine is about 9mm in diameter. happy baking :)

Patricia L said...

so I was thinking of making this for my hubby for dessert in a few days. i was wondering if you could translate the "g"'s into like cups, teaspoons, etc. please let me know at eenique@ yahoo.com as soon as possible!! its for the 1 year anniversary lol
WISH ME LUCK!!
(referring to the strawberry shortcake)

Bertha said...

Patricia, you can go to online conversion website to convert the measurement from gram to cup, but here it is (approximately):

Cake:
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup cake flour
4 Tbs. melted butter

Filling:
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (this is a bit more than 100g but it only makes it better :) )
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Have fun baking :)

YDANIS said...

Hi...This strawberry shortcake looks amazing and am in the middle of attempting to make one. How long do you beat the eggs and sugar for before it comes to the ribbon stage. I've been beating mine for 5 minutes but that just seems like a little too long for me. Do you use a wisk or the paddle attachment? Thank you!

Bertha said...

YDanis: I don't time the beating time, but i guess it was probably around 15mnts or so. Always use whisk attachment when trying to incorporate air into the batter. Have fun baking :)

YDANIS said...

Thank you so much! I hope my turns out as pretty as yours! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, love the picture of your strawberry cake! it looks amazing.
i just tried making it, added some gelatin into the cream. However, it did not come out as smooth as Id have liked it to. Is it cuz I overbeat the cream?
How do I get nice diagonal patterns on the cream like you did?

Bertha said...

Anonymous: It's hard to say what could be wrong with the cream without seeing any picture. If it's not smooth, it's probably because you overbeat the cream. To get the diagonal pattern, I just put the cream into a piping bag with round piping tip, and just pipe diagonal pattern on top of the cake

Eleonor Cosenza said...

This looks awesome, I just saw in this post what books you have as a reference. I asked you in the lemon tarts blog about the books. I definitely want the Alain Ducasse book but will have to wait for my birthday (which is coming soon, November ;). ) or for Christmas. The Pierre Hermes book looks awesome too. Will check it out.
Love your presentations and the flavor combinations. Enjoying reading your blog and eating one of the lemon tarts I made from your lemon tart blog. It's very velvety and perfect sweetness and tartness ;)

Bertha said...

Eleonor: Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I baked sponge cake in two eight inch square pans but cake did not rise. It's about half the height of cake in your photos. What did I do wrong?

Bertha said...

Anonymous: It is difficult for me to say what went wrong without actually knowing how you did it or how the end result looks like.
When the cake doesn't rise, there a couple of things that could go wrong. You might loose a lot of air from the eggs when folding in the flour and butter so the batter deflate. Another reason might be because the melted butter is not folded properly and would sink in the bottom of the cake when baked.

Hope this helps