Wednesday, June 1, 2011

mousse cake pastry class

On a whim tonight, I decided to attend a pastry class given at a local gourmet kitchen store by cordon bleu schooled pastry chef Lysanne Bégin. I was in the store trying to find a tart pan for Sunday's Baked recipe, when the owner told me about the class that night. I felt kinda weird attending by myself, but finally decided to go anyway, and I'm glad I did, as I really enjoyed myself and learned a few things.

We were given recipes with ingredients but no method. The pastry chef told us that if we wanted full recipes, we could open a cookbook, we didn't have to attend a class. Well, she's right. So she explained every recipe while we took notes and asked questions.

The seven of us were divided into three groups and each group got to make a mousse based cake, using various techniques.

There was one group assigned to a triple chocolate bavarois, one assigned to the mixed berry mousse on angel food cake, and my teammate and I were assigned the mocha mousse cake.

The triple chocolate bavarois is made with a gelatin thickened pastry cream. A third of it is poured over dark chocolate, another third over milk chocolate, and the last of the pastry cream is poured over white chocolate. The heat of the pastry cream melts the chocolate, and similar to making a ganache, you stir it until smooth and leave it in a warm spot so it doesn't set until you're ready to layer the dessert.

Once the three flavors of pastry cream are done, the dark chocolate layer is poured into a mold and stored in the freezer to set. Once it's set, the milk chocolate layer is poured on top of the dark chocolate layer, and left to set in the freezer. Once that's set, the white chocolate layer is poured on and left to set.

The dessert is then topped with a gorgeous chocolate glaze that makes it all shiny and perfect looking. The whole thing then goes in the freezer overnight. It has to defrost in the fridge before plating. Although I did not make this cake myself, it looked pretty easy and very impressive on the plate. Unfortunately, my notes are not complete and I'm afraid of sharing a recipe that might, or might not work. If I try it, I'll be sure to post the results!

Although I found the mousse had a very gelatin-y texture and mouthfeel, the glaze was very impressive. This is the triple chocolate bavarois prepared by another team in my class. Pretty impressive right?

The second team made an angel food cake that was should have been covered in strawberry mousse and strawberry jelly. Of all the mousses made, that one was my favorite. The texture was perfect, light, and it tasted really good, even if there was kirsch in it.

Unfortunately, the angel food cake didn't turn out. It could have been the low oven, or too little flour, but it stayed soft meringue and couldn't be used. Still, the pastry chef demonstrated the piping technique which I found awesome (mainly because my piping skills are absolutely terrible), and we sample the mousse and jelly. The top of the cake should have looked like this.

This one I will surely try, and I feel confident enough about my notes that I'm able to post the recipe.

mixed berry mousse
recipe source: Lisanne Bégin

8 gr gelatin
150 gr berry puree
50 g sugar
5 g lemon juice
10 g kirsch
400 ml heavy cream

Soften gelatin in enough cold water to cover it. Place it in a saucepan, along with the berry puree, sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Let cool.

In a clean bowl, whisk cream and kirsch to soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled berry mixture, and chill until the mixture has set and is of a consistency suitable for piping.

berry jam
recipe source: Lisanne Bégin

4 g gelatin
150 g berries, chopped
75 g sugar

Soften the gelatin in enough cold water to cover it. In a saucepan, cook the gelatin, berries and sugar at 104 degrees for 30 minutes until jam-like consistency.

I'm not going to post the angel food cake recipe as it didn't turn out, but I found interesting that the pastry chef baked it into a regular 8-inch round springform pan. I thought that angel food cake always needed to be baked in a, well, angel food cake pan. Good to know!

Lastly, our team made the mocha cake, which consists of two disks and an outside border of lady finger cookie, a chocolate mousse, and a light coffee pastry cream.

We first made the chocolate mousse by melting chocolate over a water bath, and whipping heavy cream and sugar to soft peaks. We let these to components hang out until they reached room temperature before folding the chocolate into the cream to make chocolate whipped cream.

My teammate made the cornstarch thickened pastry cream by combining milk, egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a pan, bringing it to a boil, and cooking it for 15 seconds. She then softened the gelatin into some cold water, added it to the hot pastry cream, and let that hang out while she whipped cream and coffee extract. She combined the whipped cream and pastry cream, and we had our light coffee pastry cream. I hope I got that right, because while she was doing that, I was busy making lady fingers into disks and a strip to go around the mold.

Basically, you combine flour and cocoa and set that aside. You whisk egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks, and in a separate bowl, you whisk egg yolks and sugar until light yellow in color. Fold the egg yolks in the egg whites, fold in the flour and cocoa mixture.

I traced two circles on a piece of parchment paper so that I could pipe the batter in the right shape for our mold. We also piped a strip the height and length of the mold so we could line the inside of it, before adding our mousse. We didn't have enough batter to pipe the whole strip, so once the cookie was cooked, we cut it in half so we'd have enough to line the pan. Apparently, that strip of cookie shouldn't be as high as the pan anyway. I was surprised to see that the cookie didn't spread at all while cooking. It had a weird (to me) texture, like an egg-y and dense sponge cake. Not my favorite.

So we lined the pan with the strip of cake, put one of the cookie disks at the bottom of the pan, topped that with the chocolate whipped cream, then another cookie disk, and finally, the light mocha pastry cream. We set it in the freezer to set.

Overall, I really enjoyed my evening. It was really busy and fun. I realized how hard it is to work in someone else's kitchen and how happy I am in mine! I got to learn about mousse cake, play in the kitchen while someone else was doing the dishes, and best of all, eat cake!

Thank you Maryse, Lisanne, and Sean for the great class. It was really fun!


  1. Hmm looks like having fun as will as learn a recipe with these classes, a store near us offer like this class but I never been to one.
    A bout the angel cake it happened with me before and didn't rise up.
    Thanks for the mousse recipe.

  2. Oh..I love mousse cakes so much, and in fact just made one with a mixed berry mousse. Yours loks fantastic..perfect, clean layers!


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