It’s that time of year… Valentine’s day! Time to whip up desserts with hearts and lots of berries, just big enough to share. Or not. Thankfully there’s no rule that prevents you from eating cake alone, or perhaps with a good friend for Galentine’s Day.
Let’s talk about Yumeiro Pâtissiere. If you want to sell me on a TV show, promise me that it’ll be filled with beautiful shots of food. I’m willing to ignore any number of plot holes if the food looks good enough. In my search for ever prettier food on television, I’ve noticed that Japanese and Korean shows do the “gourmet” genre particularly well… k-dramas like Pasta, Let’s Eat, and My Name Is Kim Sam-soon are visual heaven for food enthusiasts. At the top of the pile there’s food-centric anime, which truly can’t be matched in terms of glorification of edibles. Some examples include Yakitate!! Japan, Koufuku Grafitti, and of course Yumeiro Pâtissiere. Every pastry in Yumeiro Pâtissiere is enrobed in angelic light and surrounded by sparkles usually reserved for dreamboat love interests. Despite this touch of unrealistic perfection, the dishes in the show are well-researched and accurate to real pastry techniques. Believe me when I say that’s a rare thing.
I’ve wanted to recreate a Yumeiro dessert for ages, so for Valentine’s this year I decided to make Ichigo’s “Hearts in Love” verrine. This dish was part of a competition plate Ichigo presented for judging in episode 33, entitled Strawberry Panic!
In the anime the verrine is described as consisting of a genoise cake base with strawberries, whipped cream, bavarois (or bavarian cream), strawberry gelée and a white chocolate garnish. I actually think that the anime accidentally swapped the labeling of the bavarois and whipped cream. It looks to me as if that the center layer was intended to be bavarois, so that’s what I did. Fun note: All these recipes are adapted from my culinary school textbook. It felt only appropriate considering the fact that Yumeiro Patissiere is all about the pastry school experience! In case you’re interested, the textbook we used was Professional Baking by Wayne Gisselen. I highly recommend it if you’re interested in classic pastry techniques. I’ll include a link at the end of this entry!
Since I couldn’t find a perfectly upright verrine glass, I made this cake in cake collars instead. I’ll link to some cake collars at the bottom of the entry, but you can also make these in a glass if you prefer.
“Hearts In Love” Strawberry Bavarois
5 large eggs
185g (1 cup minus 1 tbsp) sugar
150g (1 1/3 cup) all purpose flour, sifted
40g (1/3 cup) corn starch
60g (1/4 cup) butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
1. Preheat your oven to 175°C/350°F and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or a lightly greased baking mat. In a large mixing bowl, beat your eggs on high speed for 10-15 minutes, gradually drizzling in the sugar. The eggs should be pale, doubled in volume and significantly thickened. If they aren’t at this stage after 10-15 minutes, continue beating them until they are. Add in the extracts and whip for an additional 30 seconds.
2. Sift the flour and corn starch over the mixture in 3 parts, carefully folding in between each addition. Take care not to deflate your egg foam. Pour the butter over the batter and fold until barely combined. Pour into your sheet pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until just set in the center. Cover immediately with a layer of foil and allow to cool, covered.
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
100ml (just over 1/3 cup) boiling water
2 tbsp triple sec or kirsch
1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
20g (2.5 tbsp) powdered gelatin
150ml (2/3 cup) water, ice cold
5 egg yolks
150g (3/4 cup) sugar
500ml (2 cups) milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
500ml (2 cups) heavy cream
1. Combine the water and gelatin in a small bowl and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Place the yolks into a medium-sized bowl and beat them a bit with a fork. In the meantime, place the milk, sugar and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and heat on medium to low heat until just beginning to steam.
2. Temper the eggs into the milk as follows: pour a couple of tablespoons of the hot milk into the egg yolks and whisk together immediately. Continue pouring the hot milk into the eggs and mixing, two tablespoons at a time, until you’ve added about half the milk. Now pour the warmed egg mixture into the saucepan and return the saucepan to low heat, stirring constantly. Once the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove it from the heat and run it through a sieve into a large bowl. Add the gelatin into the hot sauce and stir until all the gelatin has dissolved. Allow this mixture to cool to room temperature, but not to set.
3. Whip your cream to soft peaks. Now add your cream to the vanilla sauce in 3 parts, folding between each addition.
250ml (1 cup) heavy cream
30g (2 tbsp) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3g (1 tsp) gelatin
1 tbsp water, ice cold
1. Combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes. In a larger bowl, beat the heavy cream, extract and sugar together until you achieve soft peaks.
2. Warm your gelatin in the microwave for 10 seconds until just melted. Pour it into the cream and mix together immediately to prevent the gelatin from setting in clumps. Once the cream has reached medium-stiff peaks, fill it into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.
300g (approximately 1.5 cups) strawberries, chopped
45g (3 tbsp) sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
60ml (1/4 cup) water
7g (scant 1 tbsp) gelatin
60ml (1/4 cup) water, ice cold
1. Combine the gelatin and cold water in a medium-sized bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Combine the berries, sugar, lemon juice and first measure of water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the berries are tender.
2. Using whatever blender you have available, puree the strawberry mixture while still hot. (If using a stand blender, be very careful and pulse gradually so that you don’t get splashed!) Pour the mixture through a sieve and onto the gelatin mixture. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved completely.
You will need both the bavarian cream and gelée to still be pourable when you work. Therefore, the directions will be telling you when to make each recipe.
Additional ingredients: 350g strawberries, 8 oz white candy melts or tempered white chocolate
1. Bake the genoise and allow it to cool, then brush with syrup. To shape the cake collars, wrap them around a 4″ cake pan and tape them to secure. Alternately, line 4″ cake rings with the cake collars and secure them with tape. Set them on a sheet lined with parchment and repeat until you have 6 cake collars ready to go.
2. Using a 4″ pastry cutter, cut out 6 rounds of genoise. Cut out 6 2.5-3″ circles of genoise as well. Carefully place each 4″ genoise round at the bottom of the cake collars, pressing them gently to level if necessary.
3. Choose 6 small. pretty berries as top garnish. Now choose 15 medium-sized berries of roughly the same height to line your molds. Remove the leaves from these berries and cut them in half. You should have 5 berry halves per mold.
4. Make the bavarois. Pour a small amount of bavarois into each cake collar and tap to level. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes to slightly set the bavarois. Remove the cakes from the freezer and arrange the berries, cut side out, around the cake collar. Place the 2.5″ cake rounds into the center; this will help hold your berries in place. Now pour the remainder of your bavarois into your molds, filling them enough to cover the berries entirely. Place the cakes in the fridge and allow them to chill for 4-6 hours, or until completely set. TIP: If your bavarois has become too set to pour, microwave a 1/4 cup of the bavarois until just melted and whisk it back into the bavarois to loosen the whole mixture.
5. While the bavarois is chilling, make the gelée. Once the bavarois is set, take them out of the fridge. Warm your gelée until pourable (if it’s firmed up). Pour the gelée over the tops of each verrine and return them to the fridge to set for another hour. Note: do not glaze the cakes with hot gelée, as it may melt the bavarois. It should be slightly warmed at most. Return the cakes to the fridge for 1-2 hours to set the glaze.
6. To make the half dome of whipped cream, you can either pipe the cream into a silicone cake pop mold and freeze them, or you can just pipe the cream directly onto the tops. I did the dome method, but piping looks just as nice and is much easier.
7. On a sheet of parchment, spread your tempered white chocolate or candy melts to about 1/8″ thickness using an offset spatula. Allow to sit for just a moment, until the chocolate has begun to set but is not hard. Now, using 2 heart cookie cutters in differing sizes (about 3″ and 1.5″), cut 10 hollow hearts out of the chocolate (you will only need 6, but the extras are in case of breakage). Allow the chocolate to set completely, then flip it and carefully peel off the parchment. The hearts should pop off relatively easily.
8. If you’re using cake collars, peel them away from the cakes just before serving. Garnish your cakes with the hearts and berries and enjoy!
This cake is a classic flavor combination that’s sure to appeal to most anyone, so hopefully you’ll be willing to give it a try! Building the dessert in a glass also makes it extremely easy, so play around with the vessel you make it in! It’ll be gorgeous no matter what.
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