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 entremet dessert.
Huh? Joconde imprime is a French baking term used to describe a decorative pattern that is baked into a soft sponge cake (joconde).The decorative cake is usually used to cover the outside of an entremet, a dessert filled with layers of cake, a Bavarian cream or a mousse.
The challenge was to make the decorative design and use it with any filling of choice. I just love the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate. It’s the first chocolate I’ll pick out of a box of chocolates! As I’ve mentioned before, I find Nutella irresistible. Who doesn’t? So naturally, I chose to make a chocolate hazelnut mousse filling. The bottom base is a chocolate cake and the top finish is a ganache. The garnish is a salted hazelnut cocoa nib nougatine.We were suppose to use the joconde paste and sponge cake recipe given to us in the challenge but it did not work out for me. So, I chose to use a slightly different recipe when I went to make my second attempt.
Some tips and notes on this recipe:
-Enjoy it immediately. The joconde tends to dry out easily so it is best consumed on the same day.
-Make the paste first, decorate, then make the sponge. The sponge batter should be made just before you are about to bake so you don’t lose any aeration.
-You can use anything for a mold – trifle bowl, cake ring, pvc pipe. It is easier to line the mold with plastic first if it is not a spring form pan or a mini cheesecake pan like I used.
– Leave room at the top of the mold to add a the ganache finish.
For the joconde decorating paste: (adapted from Baker’s Royale)
3 oz cake flour
1 1/4 oz cocoa powder
8 Tbs unsalted butter
4 oz powdered sugar sifted
1/2 cup egg whites
Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment of your mixer. Slowly add the egg whites. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Pipe a design onto a Silpat (13 X 18 inch) with your paste. Lay it on a baking sheet and freeze it while you make the sponge.
For the sponge joconde (adapted from Baker’s Royale)
2 oz almond flour
2 oz confectioners sugar
2 oz cake flour
2 egg whites
1 oz sugar
1 oz melted unsalted butter
Stir the almond flour, confectioners sugar, and cake flour with the paddle attachment for a minute or two to aerate and mix. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping in between, for about five minutes. Add the yolk and stir until incorporated. Empty this mixture into a large bowl. With the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and slowly add the sugar. Mix until soft peaks are formed. Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Stir in the melted butter and fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Final assembly of joconde:
Remove the Silpat from the freezer and make sure the paste is very firm. Spread the joconde sponge batter quickly and evenly over the frozen design. Bake at 400 F for about 5-6 minutes or until the cake is a slight golden color and springs back to the touch. Sprinkle powdered sugar on the top (prevents sticking) and invert it onto a parchment lined pan. carefully peel away the silpat after it has cooled some. Cut the cake into the desired size strip to fit around the perimeter of your mold. (I’ve used my mini cheesecake pan as molds)
For the chocolate cake base: (can be made ahead and frozen)
Use the chocolate cake recipe from my dark chocolate cupcakes post but spread it into a half sheet pan instead of cupcakes. This make more than enough for 12 servings so you can modify for a smaller pan or save the extra for another use. Using a cookie cutter or anything round, cut out small circles from the cake that fit inside the bottom of the mold.
For the Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse (modified from sweettooth at The Tasty Kitchen)
1 tsp instant espresso
1 Tbs water
3/4 cup whipping cream
Dash of Frangelico -optional
1/4 cup nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread
Dissolve the espresso in the water and set aside. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold in the espresso and liquor. Fold in the nutella until even in color. Spoon it into your molds just to the top of the Joconde.
For the ganache topping
4 oz heavy cream
4 oz chopped semi sweet chocolate
Heat the cream until hot. Pour it over the chopped chocolate and stir with a whisk slowly until the ganache is smooth and silky. Pour it over the top of your desserts to fill the mold completely and let it set.