Having completed 3 years as a Daring Baker, I must admit that that the monthly challenge announcements no longer have the same effect they did when I first joined the group. Being someone with very basic baking skills, I still remember the first year of challenges used to leave me quite confused. Challenges I had never heard of that usually ran to at least 3 or 4 foolscap sheets, ingredients that I couldn’t find here and culinary techniques I knew very little about didn’t exactly leave me with much confidence.
A lot of reading up and 3 years of an extraordinary Daring Baker support system has resulted in my becoming a baker with some confidence in my own skills. So much so, that I have become comfortable with adapting a large number (or a part of) the challenges as egg free bakes/ desserts.
The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog Accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a “Biscuit Joconde Imprime” to wrap around an Entremets dessert.
I know, my first reaction was “Huh?” Previous challenges ensured I knew what a biscuit joconde and entremets were but the imprime had me puzzled. Let’s clear up the mystery of these French terms (if it is a mystery to you).
Biscuit Joconde – This is an almond sponge cake that is baked in thin sheets (like for jelly/ jam rolls) and used to wrap desserts like charlottes and mousse cakes. Incidentally, the name joconde comes from La Giaconda, another name for Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Joconde Imprime – Is the same as a biscuit joconde except that a design is “printed” into the sponge layer. This is done by layering or piping a “cigarette/ decor paste”, freezing it and then layering the joconde batter over this before baking it.
Entremets – are multi-layered desserts usually of cake and mousse, but can include pastry creams which will set. They’re usually chilled and served.
So in Astheroshe’s words, a joconde imprime (French Baking term) is a decorative design baked into a light sponge cake providing an elegant finish to desserts/torts/entremets/ formed in ring moulds, and usually served cold. A joconde batter is used because it bakes into a moist, flexible cake. The cake batter may be tinted or marbleized for a further decorative effect.
I was quite excited by this challenge and the opportunity to learn how to do this myself. Let me say it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. We had to make the biscuit joconde imprime with the provided recipe and also use it to create an entremets, but colours, designs, fillings, presentation, etc., were all our choice.
I used 1/2 the joconde recipe, 1/4 of the décor paste (cocoa) recipe to make four individual serve entremets. I used a ginger-nut cookie base (used in some cheesecakes) and topped with a layer of fresh strawberry mousse and a layer of white chocolate vanilla mousse. Both mousse flavours contain no eggs or gelatine.
As Silpat is something I don’t get here, I baked my joconde on parchment paper. I needed to bake my cakes for only about 9 minutes and the edges started browning. How much time your joconde takes would largely depend on how thick or thin the layer is.
You can find the detailed challenge here. Given below are the quantities I used. I have already posted my easy fresh strawberry mousse which I used in my entremets. My white chocolate vanilla mousse was adapted from my egg free orange and chocolate mousse.