After attending the two short courses at William Angliss at the end of last year, I was waiting for the right timing to re-create some of the cakes and macarons I learned: one to show my family that their investment in me was worth it, another was to prove that I have gained something useful out of the courses.
I didn’t have to wait long, it was my little brother’s birthday shortly after and luckily for me, he actually liked two of the sweets I made in classes: lemon cheese macarons and Mango Mousse cake – so challenge accepted!! I ran into quite a few obstacles in trying to create these at home and these were a few of them:
Fruit puree: I needed some fruit puree for the mousse cake and I had no idea how to make them (or where to find them). I googled and did not get anywhere. In the end, I consulted my friend who bakes quite often and she told me I could get them in 1 kg tubs from Savour Chocolate School. It was quite a journey from my house but I’m glad I got them in the end. If you need them in larger quantities, Creative Ingredients is a reliable source. (as at 27 June 2014 – I believe Savour no longer stocks Boiron on their website but you can get it in store)
- The brands that I have tried using are: Boiron and Paris Gourmet
- The advantages of using these: consistency in taste, convenience and efficiency
Cake rings: Springform pans are probably the best alternative to using cake rings in making mousse cakes since the base can be removed. However, I recommend against using normal cake tins as the mousse cakes may not be as easily removed from the tins. You could find these on ebay or there are some sold at Savour.
Freezer: Not every one of us have a blast freezer at home and most of the elements of the cakes required freezing (jelly, mousse, macarons) so it was crucial for me to find a stable & adequate freezing space. Therefore, it is important to plan in advance to ensure that there is sufficient freezing space at home (PLUS – make sure the cake pans fit in your freezer!)
Time: French gateaux are known to have many layers consisting of mousse, jelly, creameux, and cake so it is quite a time consuming task to create these at home, especially if you do not have a blast freezer. Therefore, it is important to have good planning and start a week in advance to allow for each layer to set properly.
Equipment/tools: Please do yourself a favour and invest in some aluminium baking trays and silpat mats! (and silpain mats if you are going to be making tarts – these are proliferated baking mats!).
- Silpat mats are extremely useful for baking. They can be reused many times and are actually better for baking macarons than baking paper.
- The aluminium trays are important for baking fragile pastries such as macarons as the weight and built of the baking trays will ensure that it will not bend in the oven.
I hope these tips will help you in your baking endeavours. Please do link back if you are attempting any french gateaux at home and let me know how you go!