Thursday, January 27, 2011

Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet - January '11 Daring Bakers

I got really excited upon learning this month's Daring Baker's challenge. I felt guilty about skipping last month's challenge of making a German Christmas bread called Stollen. So, I told myself I'm doing the January challenge no matter what.

The January 2011 Daring Baker's challenge was hosted by Astheroshe from the blog, accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremet dessert.

A lot of times when my husband and I look around coffee shops and check out their display of delicious desserts, I can't help but just be in awe of how beautifully decorated they are. I can't believe that I'd actually learn to make a dessert that I used to just admire.

A Joconde is actually a decorated sponge cake wrapped around a layered dessert (Entremet). The Joconde recipe asked for egg whites so I looked for a filling that will use egg yolks. Thankfully, Helene of has shared a wonderful recipe for Vanilla, Salted Butter Caramel and Chocolate Mousse calling for egg yolks. I have to confess that I need more practice on making the mousse. I poured the hot milk a little too fast over the egg yolks that it cooked it. You'll see the picture later.

I was excited to do this challenge but also intimidated. I was expecting a disaster so I just used 1/3 of the ingredients for both Joconde decor paste and sponge. I didn't want to waste too much. The full  recipe is supposed to give you two 1/2 size sheet pans or 13" x 18" jelly roll pan. 

I made my own cake flour and weighed all my ingredients using a digital kitchen scale to make sure I get my 1/3 proportions well. The recipe gave a cocoa variation for the paste which I used. I also forgot to put the melted butter on the sponge recipe. But it didn't make a difference. My son devoured the finished Joconde. It took me only 7 minutes to bake the Joconde so watch your oven.

Yield: Two 1/2 size sheet pans or 13" x 18" jelly roll pan

  • 14 tablespoons/ 210 ml / 7 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups plus 1-1/2 tablespoons/ 385 ml /7 oz/ 200 g powdered sugar
  • 7 large egg whites - about 7 oz/ 200 g
  • 1-3/4 cup/ 420 ml/ 7-3/4 oz/ 220 g cake flour
  • Food coloring
*COCOA Decor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz/ 170 g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to the creamed mixture.


Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add egg whites and beat continuously. Fold in sifted flour. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

Place silicone baking mat on an upside down baking sheet. Pattern the decor paste. Here is where you can be creative. Pipe letters or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag, fill a Ziploc bag with the decor paste, snip off a corner for a homemade piping bag.

Or spread a thin even layer of decor paste approximately 1/4" thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula. Make horizontal or vertical lines using a knife, spatula or pastry comb. You can make squiggles with your fingers, zigzags or wood grain.

I spread my decor paste on the mat.
And used a pastry comb for my design.
Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard for at least 15 minutes. Make the sponge.

Yield: Two 1/2 size sheet pans or a 13" x18" jelly roll pan

  • 3/4 cup/ 180 ml / 3 oz/ 85 g almond flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2-2/3 oz/ 75g powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup/ 60 ml/ 1oz/ 25 g cake flour
  • 3 large eggs - about 5-1/2 oz / 150 g
  • 3 large egg whites - about 3 oz/ 90 g
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons/ 12-1/2 ml/ 1/3 oz/ 10 g white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1 oz/ 30 g unsalted butter, melted

In a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and white sugar to firm, glossy peaks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.

Sift almond flour, powdered sugar, cake flour (this can be done into your dirty egg white bowl). 

On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer, use blade attachment. If using a handheld, a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand).

Fold in 1/3 reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg white. Do not over mix.

Fold in melted butter.


Pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees F/ 250 degrees C.

Remove the frozen decor paste from the freezer and quickly pour the Joconde sponge batter onto the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the decor paste.
Frozen decor paste
Batter spread over the paste

You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Bake until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approximately 15 minutes (it took me 7 minutes only). Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.

Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

Put a large piece of parchment paper on a very flat baking sheet. Then place a piece of large plastic food wrap over the parchment paper. Place a spring form pan ring, with the base removed, over the cling wrap and pull the cling wrap tightly up on the outside of the mold.

Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping the top edge by 1/2 inch. Cut the parchment paper to the top of the mold. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.

Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.

Decide how thick you want your "Joconde wrapper". Traditionally, it is 1/2 the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.

Cut the Joconde into equal strips, of height and length (use a very sharp knife and ruler).

Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to "wrap" your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.

The mold is done and ready to fill.

Recipe courtesy of Helene Dujardin


  • 1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (60ml ) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons (10gr) unsalted butter


  • 4 oz (120gr) dark semisweet chocolate


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (50 gr) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 Tb (7gr) powdered gelatin, sprinkled over 3 Tb water
  • 1 cup (250ml) heavy cream

Prepare the caramel:Place the sugar and water in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to cook until caramel in color. Remove from the heat and add the salt, heavy cream and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Prepare the chocolate:
In a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Prepare the mousse base:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale. In the meantime, in a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk and the vanilla bean (split open and scraped over the milk) to a boil. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon (as if making creme anglaise). Add the softened gelatin and stir until melted completely into the cream. Let cool to room temperature.
Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold it into the cooled cream base. 

Divide the base into three equal portions (one will stay untouched).

Add a couple of tablespoons of the base to the caramel to lighten it a bit and stir with a spoon. Gently fold the rest of the alloted mousse base into the caramel with a spatula.
Do the same for the chocolate portion.
Layer all three parts evenly into your Joconde mold and refrigerate for at least one hour.

See how my mousse didn't come out smooth because I cooked the egg yolks by dumping pouring my milk too fast.

Here's a really good demo of the Joconde and filling the entremets.


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