Posted on Tuesday, 29th June 2010 by Grace Massa Langlois
School is out! I look forward to this time of year, I get to spend more time with the kids, no schedules, time is our own or is it? Matt (my son) completed his last exam yesterday and the celebration began, hooting and hollering, hands flaying out the car window and a car full of teenagers. No sooner than getting in the car Matt started listing everything he had planned for the week, I needed to drive him here and I needed to pick him up there, “I’m off to the beach this weekend to celebrate my birthday”. I guess the days of having them all to myself during the day are gone. We had a quiet weekend, I should have known it was the calm before the storm.
I took my weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market. It was brimming with the freshest vegetables and fruit. I came home with baskets of juicy, sweet strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I was excited to see peaches for the first time this year.
I thought to myself, “What should I make with all these beautiful pieces of fruit?” and I recalled a recipe that landed in my inbox a while back for Kasutera. Kasutera, also referred to as Castella is a popular Japanese sponge cake flavoured with honey. It’s not just any sponge cake, it is so light and fluffy and simply irresistible. I read somewhere that it tastes better the next day but I have to say it was pretty darn good the first day.
I am a big lover of crème pâtissière, I could eat a whole bowl on it’s own, it is so creamy and delicious. I thought it would be nice to make Strawberry Shortcake using the Kasutera and layering it with crème pâtissière, fresh sliced strawberries and sweetened whipped cream.
The cake was oh so soft, I realized pretty quick that cutting out rounds or squares would prove to be difficult, once cooled I wrapped it in parchment and placed it in a Ziploc bag and refrigerated it.
We had to wait a day for the shortcakes (still proved to be difficult when cutting the squares), didn’t look as beautiful as I’d like, but oh was the taste worth it. The moist Kasutera, the creamy crème pâtissière, the light sweetened whipped cream and the sweetest strawberries all assembled together in one bite, sheer heaven!
This is definitely a recipe you want to have in your collection. The Kasutera would be beautiful in a summer berry trifle or served with a warm berry compote and sweetened whipped cream and of course simply on it’s own.
Japanese Kasutera (Castella), Strawberry Shortcake
- Japanese Kasutera (Castella)
- Crème Pâtissière
- Sweetened Whipped Cream
- Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
Japanese Kasutera (Castella)
(Setsuko Yoshizuka, About.com)
Makes 1 large loaf or 2 small loaf pans
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup bread flour, sifted
- Preheat oven to 360° F
- Butter and line 1 large loaf pan or 2 small loaf pans with waxed paper (leaving a 1-inch overhang).
- Place milk in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat just to warm (about 8 to 12 seconds). Mix honey in the warm milk, set aside.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water, set aside.
- Using an electric hand-mixer, whisk the eggs in a large bowl, adding the sugar gradually. Place the bowl over the large bowl with warm water, continue to whisk the egg mixture until it becomes light yellow (almost white). Add the honey and milk mixture and whisk to combine.
- Sift flour, holding sieve nice and high above the bowl to get plenty of air in the flour as it goes down into the bowl, into the egg mixture. Using a large spatula gently fold the flour into the egg mixture.
- Pour the batter in lined loaf pan(s) and tap the pan(s) gently on the table to release any air bubbles. Bake at 360° F for 10 minutes, then turn down oven temperature to 280° F and continue to bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the Kasutera comes out clean.
- Remove Kasutera from oven and grasping the parchment on both sides of pan lift the Kasutera out, carefully remove parchment and place on wire rack to cool.
(from Michel Roux – Eggs)
makes about 1 pound 10 ounces (750 g)
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 g) superfine sugar
- 1/4 cup (40 g) all-purpose flour
- generous 2 cups (500 ml) milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- a little confectioners’ sugar or butter
- Combine the egg yolks and 1-third of the sugar in a bowl and whisk to a light ribbon consistency. Add the flour and whisk it in thoroughly.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk with the rest of the sugar and the vanilla bean. As soon as it comes to a boil, pour it into the egg yolk mixture, stirring as you go. Mix well, then return the mixture to the saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Allow the mixture to bubble, still stirring for 2 minutes. Remove vanilla bean.
- Remove from heat, strain crème pâtissière through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. To prevent a skin from forming, dust the surface with a veil of confectioners’ sugar or dot all over with little flakes of butter or place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Let cool. One cold, the pastry cream can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
- 237 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
- 16 g (2 tablespoons) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chill large bowl, beaters and cream before whipping.
- Place cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in chilled bowl. Using an electric-hand mixer or balloon whisk whip until you’ve reached your desired consistency. For soft peaks, peaks are rounded or curl when beaters are lifted. For stiff peaks, peaks will stand up straight when beaters are lifted.
Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
- I loaf Kasutera
- Crème Pâtissière
- sweetened whipped cream, stiff peak
- strawberries, sliced
- strawberries, whole, stems attached (to decorate)
To Assemble Strawberry Shortcakes
- Slice Kasutera into 1-inch pieces, using a cookie cutter, cut into desired shape and size.
- Place one piece of cut cake on dish, spread cake with crème pâtissière, about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange sliced berries on top crème pâtissière. Spread sweetened whipped cream on strawberries, about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange a layer of sliced strawberries on sweetened whipped cream. Top with a piece of Kasutera.
- To decorate, using a piping bag, pipe a round mound on top of Kasutera, place whole strawberry on top of the mound of sweetened whipped cream.
- Serve immediately.
Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, berry recipes, cake, cakes, castella, creme patissiere, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, fruit, honey recipes, individual dessert, individual desserts, japanese dessert, Japanese recipes, Japanese sponge cake, kasutera, mini cakes, pastry cream, small cakes, sponge cake, strawberries, strawberry recipes, strawberry shortcake, summer berry cake, Summer desserts, sweetened whipped cream, tea cakes
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