As you all know, the reason why I left Jason and Libby in Hong Kong in the care of a 26 year old nanny to come to Tokyo for three months right in the middle of yet another international house moving is to get my French patisserie diploma from Le Cordon Bleu. Seeing that it’s the one and only goal, it goes without saying that I aim to achieve it.
The final exam for the patisserie supreme course at LCB Japan differs from other LCB schools in that we have to come up with an original recipe and make it on the final day in 2.5 hours. (The final exam at the Paris school is sugar works) Before I even started school, friends from my previous LCB class warned me that it’s never too early to start thinking about what I’m going to make. So I started thinking while I was in HK and decided that I should do something with yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit that has a unique fragrance and fresh flavor), only to come back to school and find a list of ingredients that we can use for the cake that, surprise, surprise!, does not include Yuzu. My second favorite ingredient, macha (Japanese green tea) is also not on the list. No time to waste, have to come up with another plan.
After weeks of eating more cakes than any human should legally allowed to do, and seeing dancing cakes whenever I close my eyes, I’ve finally narrowed it down to two choices:
1. A fromage blanc mousse cake with a layer of raspberry gelee and a layer of chocolate mousse in the middle, on a pistachio dacquoise cake base. The cake will be sprayed with white chocolate in a pistolet to give it a fuzzy texture. I’ll make pink macarons with green pistachios sprinkled on top and stick them around the cake and place a couple of white and dark chocolate curls on top along with some raspberries and pistachio nuts.
2. A strawberry/raspberry mousse cake with a layer of grapefruit mousse in the middle, on a chocolate biscuit cake base with maybe a thin layer of feuilletine flakes as a texture contrast. The bottom part of the cake will be coated with craquelin a la framboise (chopped almond mixed with raspberry puree and baked to dry at low temp). The cake top will be pink with threads of grapefruit peels showing through and will be decorated with strawberry, raspberry and dark chocolate curls.
The first idea came about because I fell in love with fromage blanc from the first bite, and one of my all time favorite cakes made at LCB is a fromage blanc raspberry creation called Schuss. Because there’ll be many test runs, it’s so very important to choose something you would want to eat, over and over again without getting sick of it, and who can get tired of fromage blanc and raspberry? The only problem is that the combo has been done so many times that it’s hard to come up with something new, which is why I’ve decided to add the pistachio and chocolate component. Only now, it’s gotten so complicated that I don’t know whether I’ll be able to finish it in time.
The second idea is a direct result of the visit to Idemi. After the fruit-gasm experience I couldn’t stop thinking about different ways to combine fruits. Initially I was going to do strawberry/raspberry with a lemon filling, then one day I drank some freshly squeezed grapefruit juice that my roommate Tanya made for breakfast and thought, hey, why not grapefruit! It’s less acidic than lemon so there’s no need to add too much sugar, but more importantly, a grapefruit is much bigger so I can get the same amount of juice of four lemons from just one grapefruit, which means precious squeezing time saved!
Now that I have the ideas, the next step is to start making them, one component at a time. First on the list, fromage blanc mousse. (TBC)