Oooh la la… French Pastry

We had this past weekend off… no weddings, no photo shoots, just relaxing and hanging out with friends. So of course, I baked something. Originally, I had planned to bake a Genoise sheet and make a multi-layered chocolate ganache filled cake (aka Petit Four). Then, when I took it out of the oven, I thought, oooh… what about a lovely swiss roll? Vat to do, Vat to do??? So I made both. I split up the cake and made half of it into the Petit Fours, and the other half into the Swiss roll. You will have to come back tomorrow to see pictures of the Swiss Roll, though! :)

Genoise Sponge Recipe

1/2 c plus 1 tbsp sifted cake flour
1/2 c plus 1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 450 and place rack in the center of the oven. Prepare a 13 x 18 sheet pan with a light coating of butter and top with a piece of parchment that is slightly (2 inches) longer than the pan. The parchment needs to overlap on the short sides so you can remove it easily after baked.

2. Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and the salt in a sieve and sift ingredients onto a piece of parchment paper or into a small bowl.

3. Place eggs, yolks, and the remaining sugar into the bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whip ingredients on medium speed until airy, pale and about tripled in volume. It will be similar in consistency to softly whipped cream, about 4 to 5 minutes. The eggs will be properly whipped when you lift the whisk and the mixture falls back into the bowl in a ribbon that rests on the surface for about 10 seconds. If the ribbon immediately sinks in the mixture, continue whipping for a few more minutes. Pour in the vanilla in the last few moments of whipping.

4. While the eggs are whipping, melt the butter and pour into a medium sized bowl and set aside.

5. Detach bowl from mixer and pour about one third of the flour mixture over the batter. Fold in the flour with a rubber spatula, just until incorporated. Repeat twice with the remaining flour. Do not over mix, or you will deflate the eggs.

6. Gently spoon about one cup of the mixture into the bowl with the melted butter and fold it in with the rubber spatula. Fold this mixture back into the original batter. Be very gently with this mixing, as this is when the batter is at its most fragile state.

7. Pour mixture out on the prepared sheet pan and gently smooth out with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Immediately place in preheated oven and bake until golden on top and the cake springs back, about 6 to 8 minutes. Do not over cook, or it will get crisp. Invert cooled cake onto a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with granulated sugar and peel off the parchment paper. Let cool at least 30 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache Recipe

8 oz heavy cream
8 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate

1. Heat cream just to a simmer in a small sauce pan. Place chocolate in small bowl, and pour hot cream over the chocolate. Let sit for about 10 minutes and stir until completely incorporated. Set aside to cool. It will thicken as it cools.

Assembly Directions

1. With a serrated knife, cut the genoise cake in half and then cut those pieces in half. You should end up with 4 equal pieces of cake, about 6 inches by 8 inches.

2. The Ganache should be cooled enough so that it is spreadable. If it is not, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 5 minutes and stir well with a rubber spatula. Continue as needed until the ganache is almost the consistency of creamy peanut butter.

3. Flip over a sheet pan so it is upside down and cover with a piece of parchment that is larger than the cake slices. Place one layer of cake on the parchment and spread about 2 tbsp of ganache on top, as thinly and evenly as possible. Spread right up to the edge of the top, but not over the sides. Take care not to get any crumbs in the ganache. Top with the next layer of cake, trying to line up the edges as closely as possible. Repeat with the ganache and the remaining pieces of cake. Do not spread ganache on the top layer.

4. Heat the remaining ganache in a microwave, 10 seconds and stir. It must be a pourable consistency, but not too hot. Continue heating if necessary, a few seconds at a time until its lukewarm and the texture of chocolate syrup. If it gets too hot, let it cool down again before continuing.

5. Pour the melted ganache over the top of the cake and immediately spread with an offset spatula to evenly cover the top of the cake. Do this as quickly as possible, as the ganache will cool immediately, and if you keep spreading, it will leave streaks. Don’t worry about the sides, as you will be cutting away the sides for a nice clean appearance.

6. Refrigerate, uncovered for at least 30 minutes to allow the ganache to set up. With a serrated knife, trim the edges a little bit from the four sides so they are straight and clean. Rinse and dry the knife after each cut, to ensure a perfect slice every time. Now cut into 1 inch squares. Do not use a sawing motion, but instead, push straight down with the knife. Remember to rinse and dry the knife each time, or you will not have a clean edge.

Makes about 40 one inch squares of cake

Note: This sounds much much more complicated than it is! Next time I will take pics of the assembly.