Monday, 13 May 2013

Strawberries and cream

When I was a little girl, one of our birthday treats was to choose our the cake for the day.  For me, it was always the same:  a sponge base topped with a light and creamy fruit mousse.  It's called "Mandarinenquarksahnetorte" in German (we like our long words) and still is my absolute favourite. The mousse is made from a mixture of quark (a soft curd cheese very popular in Germany, similar to fromage frais), whipped cream, fruit (mandarin segments), a little sugar and gelatine - it's really easy to make and tastes utterly divine.

At the weekend, I decided to make a variation of the above, using strawberries.  And since the two of us could hardly eat a whole big gateaux by ourselves, we had a couple of little individual ones instead. 

The result was the taste of summer on a plate. :-)

What I love about this recipe is how versatile it is - you can use pretty much any fruit you like (fresh or tinned), change the base to a biscuit crumb one or leave it out completely, serving the topping as a dessert. Or why not fill a Swiss roll (see link) with this?

I had some sponge in the freezer that was left over from my rainbow cake baking (see link), so I used that as my base with dessert rings* (see note) cutting out small rounds and providing the support for the filling.  The base was topped with a spoonful of strawberry jam and I then filled the rings almost to the top with the mousse.  The little cakes rested in the fridge for 30 - 45 minutes to allow the filling to set and were then gobbled up within seconds.

I reckon a birthday cake is good on any day!

PS:  One of the blog readers was after a recipe for a strawberry cake a little while ago - unfortunately, I can't find who it was but I hope this recipe will be useful...

Strawberry & Cream Mousse cake (makes 2 small individual ones)

Ingredients for the filling:
200g fromage frais or quark
50ml whipping cream, whipped
a small punnet of strawberries, cut into small pieces
a little sugar, according to taste
a little stawberry jam
1 tsp gelatine powder + 60ml of hot water

For the base:
Use up leftover sponge, a ready-made flan base or a biscuit base similar to this one

  1. Whip the cream and fold in the fromage frais or quark, followed by the stawberries and sugar (according to taste).  You can also stir in a little strawberry jam.
  2. Make up the gelatine according to packet instructions - I used 1 heaped tsp to 60ml of hot water, then left to cool for a bit before stirring into the mixture - don't worry if the filling gets a little runny at this'll firm up once the cakes are in the fridge.
  3. Put your sponge or biscuit base into two dessert rings*, top with 1 tsp of strawberry jam and fill the rings to the top with the mousse.
  4. Leave to set in the fridge for 30 -  45 minutes.
  5. To serve, put the cakes on a plate and run a knife around the inside of the ring to loosen - you should then be able to simple lift the ring off, leaving you with a miniature gateaux.
*If you don't have anything resembling dessert rings, you can make your own out of thin cardboard covered in tin foil - that's what I have done in the past and it worked a treat.  Or you can make & serve the cakes in a dessert bowl or wine glass instead.

For a large gateaux that will fit a standard size spring-form tin of around 24/26cm, you will probably need to triple the filling ingredients.

To make the mixture even more creamy, simply increase the whipping cream content and reduce the fromage frais.

I used strawberries here but why not try mandarin segments (tinned), peaches, fresh raspberries,...

If using tinned fruit, you can use the juice from the tin to make up the gelatine - simply heat the liquid and whisk in the gelatine powder before continuing as above.  If you use tinned fruit in syrup, you may want to leave out the sugar in the recipe - just taste the mixture to see if it is sweet enough for you.


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