Thursday, January 27, 2011

January Daring Bakers: Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet

January's Daring Baker's Challenge was created by Astheroshe, and is something I had (past tense!)  absolutely no idea about.  Basically, it's an almond sponge cake with baked-in design on the cake.  It's fancy and French (it's named after the Mona Lisa), and is usually baked into multiple, very thin layers or filled with mousse or cream.  My original plan was to make the multiple thin layers, butttt I ran out of batter.... so I filled mine with pastry cream (others chose mousse, which I wish I would have done).  It was quite a task (the recipe provided required roughly 8,000 eggs), but I feel that it came out well.  I have a few changes for the next time I tackle this, though, which I'll mention at the end.  Here is my finished creation:

(Vegan) French Vanilla Chai Tea Entremet

For the Joconde & Joconde Decor Paste*:
I based this recipe off of Vegan Vistor's L'Opera Cake, with just a few tweaks

- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/4 cups almond milk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
*for the paste, add 2 tablespoons cocoa to 1/2 cup joconde batter

For the French Vanilla Chai Tea Pastry Cream:

- 1.5 cups almond milk
- 1/4 cup French Vanilla (vegan) creamer
- 4 French Vanilla herbal tea bags
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Dash salt
- A few shakes cinnamon and cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Fancy Tools Needed:
- A Silpat or other non-stick baking mat
- Piping supplies, whether they be "serious" or a plastic bag with a corner cut off

1. Start with your joconde, as it will need time to harden in the freezer.  Grab three bowls: add the dry ingredients to one, and stir to combine.
2. In the second bowl, wisk together the almond milk and vinegar.  Then, add to the dry mixture in batches.  Mix, but do not overmix!  It will look like pancake batter.
3. Steal about 1/2 cup batter and place it in the third bowl.  This is your makeshift decor paste that will be used to pipe your design.  Add the cocoa OR coloring of your choice, wisk, and set aside.
4. Place your Silpat on an ungreased baking sheet (and if you'll be doing an elaborate pattern, throw your design under the Silpat to trace, but remember to remove it before baking!).  Assemble whatever you'll be using to pipe, and fill the bag with your decor paste.

5. Pipe your design(s) on the Silpat, and toss in the freezer for 15-25 minutes (to harden).  Once this time passes, cover the design with the rest of the batter and throw back in the freezer.  This time for 30 minutes.
6. While your design freezes, make your pastry cream (or other filling)!  For mine, I warmed the milk in a saucepan over medium- heat, and steeped four bags of herbal tea.  Once the milk was flavored yum-fully, I added the sugar and salt.
7. Continue to stir while you add the flour and cornstarch + wisk to thicken.  Don't stop, or it'll stick!
8. Cover with wax paper (literally on the top of the cream, or it'll grow a lovely film!), and refrigerate.
9. Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
10. Bake your joconde for roughly 10 minutes.  It's done once it is golden brown in color, and the edges seem to come away from the mat.  Allow time for it to cool.
11. Once cooled, flip the baking sheet onto a powdered-sugar or floured (or non-stick) surface.  The design will be facing up.
12. Measure your springform pan.  Or, if you're lazy like me, guess how much you'll need to fill the outside ring of the mold, and cut parchment paper to fill the sides:

Photo courtesy of Astheroshe

13. Now, cut the cake into those measured-out sizes, and press the strip onto the edge of your pan.  You may also opt to cut out a circular bottom of cake:

Photo courtesy of Astheroshe

14. Fill with the pastry cream, and decorate!  I decided to make an extra "design" with my leftover decor paste to make it look fancier, and sifted some confectioners sugar + cocoa over the top.

Oh, and if you choose a smaller cake like I did, you'll have plenty of extra (super yummy) cake to dip in your coffee:

So, what would I change?

1. I would be sure to really, really grind down my almonds.  I loved the little bits I left in, BUT! it made it impossible to pipe.  I ended up actually busting the bag I was using, and had to settle for squiggles from a spoon instead of the fun, elaborate design I had originally envisioned.

2. I would make a light mousse filling.  Don't get me wrong, this pastry cream is great.  However, something about the two together is a little heavy and awkward for me.  I think the cream would be better for a crostada or maybe a beignet, while a light mousse would really make this dessert.  An espresso one would be AMAZING.

3. I would not use clumpy confectioners sugar to top it!  LAZY!


  1. I like the looks of your final Entremet. If I hadn't read the post I would've never found out about the clumpy sugar ;o)

  2. So fancy! I think it turned out rather well, considering all the techniques involved.

  3. This looks great! Kinda fancy like Erin said, but I'm sure it was more than worth the work. And it makes my mouth water.

    If you want to see some other cool recipes though, check out It's great!

  4. Woah is that ever fancy looking! It doesn't sound to sweet for me... but then again, nothing is. :)

  5. Beautiful! This challenge almost tempted me to come out of unofficial DB retirement... But then, the whole not-a-moment-to-even-breathe thing prevented me from trying. At least I can live vicariously through your lovely creation here.

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