Biscuit Joconde Imprime Entremet…

Before I launch into this MASSIVE culinary/patisserie challenge, I have a few shout-outs to do here.  Firstly, the inspiration and desire to attempt this complicated dessert came from one of my favourite bloggers: 
I LOVE EVERYTHING this lady does; her baking, cooking and her writing.  She’s brilliant.  Please check out her blog.  It was through her blog that I first came across this: 
Here, once joined up, you can attempt the various challenges.  The Biscuit Joconde Entremet was one of the challenges that Lisa completed and, I have to say, to such a professional standard that I could only stare open-mouthed at the photographs of her creation. 
I have yet to sign up to be a Daring Baker.  They have rules and time limits and a) I would have to print them out because I would unwittingly break the rules and get into trouble unless I had them in black and white in front of me and b) I don’t have enough time to deal with time constraints!  I’m like my dad – I have to mull things over with a nice cuppa (or six) first.  I have to check and re-check, think it through, plan and devise. This can be a week/two week long process which, by then, the time limits would be up.  I think I’m time-challenged.  Maybe I’ll join up to the Daring Kitchen, sit back and watch for a while and sign up once I get to grips with the idea….and find another ten hours in a day!
BUT, in the meantime, what with D’s birthday and the decision NOT to bake a cake (as he’s not a big cakey-bakey fan), I decided that THIS might be the ultimate birthday dessert. And, oh my, doesn’t it sound posh too?  Hmmm, when I showed him the pile of papers, weight conversions (from US to UK), the adaptions, the plan and THE photograph, what did he do?  Yup.  Laughed!  True, I did too, but I realised if I could pull this baby off, I could do anything in the kitchen and maybe, when I can’t keep the pace in teaching anymore, I could sideline into fancy-pants desserts?
Who knows?  Maybe Raymond Blanc will need an ageing ex-teaching patisserie chef one day?  Ooh La La!
So, here’s what I am aspiring to.  This is NOT my photograph, it is taken from  TRULY stunning.  If mine comes anywhere near to looking like this, I’m going professional!

Lisa Michele's Entremet Slice

I thought and thought about it.  Originally, I was going to stick rigidly to Lisa’s instructions, but decided I needed to change it as D has never mentioned a love of peanut butter, so, knowing he quite likes Tiramisu, I decided to try and adapt the entremet.  (Yeah, good luck there, Moo!)  The whole concept of the entremet calls for a whole load of stability and so gelatin is used.  I can’t eat gelatin, being a tree-hugging, animal-loving vegetarian so I purchased some agar-agar instead. Obviously, it was no good making a whole dessert just for D…I needed to benefit too!  The agar-agar instructions said “use it equally as you would gelatin”.  Simple, right?  Hmmmm, we’ll see…
So, using Lisa’s construction as a guide, I decided upon the following layers:
* Biscuit Joconde Imprime
* Milk Chocolate Ganache
* Coffee/Bailey’s drenched Genoise
* Dacqoise
* Bailey’s Cream Mousse
* Cocoa Glace

I will take you through each section of the entremet daily.  Today I will begin with the Biscuit Joconde.

Biscuit Joconde

The baked Biscuit Joconde Imprime

Clearly, not a great photograph, but this is finished baked sponge/biscuit joconde imprime.  Technically for me, this was a huge challenge.  NEVER have I attempted anything quite so complex.  In France, La Joconde means ‘Mona Lisa’.  The world-famous painting Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, is supposed to be the portrait of the wife of an Italian merchant, Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giocondo. Due to this, it is known as La Gioconda (La Jaconde in French). Da Vinci visited France in 1516 or 1517 as the guest of King François I, consequently remaining there until he died. The Mona Lisa was held in very high esteem by the French.  Joconde, the name given to this type of sponge cake, is given to show how highly regarded it is amongst pastry chefs.  The Biscuit Joconde Imprime comes in two parts: the Joconde Sponge and the ‘Imprime’ Joconde Pattern Paste.  The Imprime is the ‘printed’ pattern, baked into the Joconde.

Joconde Sponge

64 g (just over 1/2 cup) almond flour
57 g (1/2 cup PLUS 1 tbsp) icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
19 g (3 tbsp) self-raising flour (cake flour)
2 eggs
2 egg whites
7.5 g (1/2 tbsp) caster sugar
23 g (1 and 1/2 tbsp) butter

* Mix the egg whites and the caster sugar into firm glossy peaks.

Mix egg whites and caster sugar into peaks.

* Sift almond flour, icing sugar, self-raising flour.

Sift flours and icing sugar.

* Add the whole eggs a little at a time.  Mix until smooth and light.

Mix until smooth.

* Fold in the whipped egg whites gradually.  Start with a third, then add the rest.  Resist the temptation to overmix!  Add the melted butter and fold in gently.

Fold in whipped egg white, then fold in melted butter.

* Reserve the batter – you will use this once you have made the Joconde Imprime paste.

Joconde Pattern Paste (chocolate)
100 g (1/3 cup PLUS 1 tbsp) butter
100 g (1 cup) icing sugar
3.5 egg whites
85 g (3/4 cup) self-raising/cake flour
30 g (1/3 cup)cocoa powder

*  Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Cream together the butter and icing sugar.

* Gradually add egg whites.  Beat well.

Gradually beat in the egg whites.

* Sift flour and cocoa and then fold into the butter/egg white mixture.

Fold in sifted flour/cocoa powder until smooth.

* Squidge a flat swiss roll tin (I used the back of a flat roasting tin) with a quick spray of low-cal spray and then line with baking parchment.  I then greased the baking parchment too.

Line a tin.

* Fit a disposable piping bag with nozzle of your choice and fill the bag with your Joconde Pattern Paste.  Pipe the pattern across your baking sheet.  You can, alternatively, spread the paste over your sheet and ‘scratch’ patterns in using scraping tools, cutters etc.

Fill a piping bag with pattern paste.

Pipe the pattern onto your tin.

* Once you are happy with your design (or scraping!), place the whole thing (tin and everything) into a freezer and leave to set HARD.  If it is not hard enough, the pattern paste ‘blobs out’ during cooking.

* Remove the frozen pattern paste from the freezer.  Now you need your reserved Joconde Sponge mixture.  Very, very carefully, spread this over the top of your pattern using a spatula.  It needs to be as thin as you dare – about 1/2 inch thick.  When you are happy, bake in a medium oven (I used 160 degrees C) for around five minutes.  It requires attentive baking.  Too long and it will be too brittle to peel off the parchment.

Spread the Joconde Sponge mixture over the Joconde Pattern paste carefully.

* Once your Biscuit Joconde Imprime is cool, peel back the baking paper.  I ended up running an INCREDIBLY long, sharp knife between the sponge and the baking paper which worked fine.  It should look something like this:

The baked Joconde Imprime Sponge

*  Leave to cool.  In the meantime, line a 6 inch loose bottomed tin.  I placed clingfilm UNDER the loose bottom, then, gathering the cling at the top, slid the bottom back into the tin.  There should be no cling at the bottom of the tin, only UNDER the loose bottom, but cling along the inner edges.  I then added a ring of parchment around the insides, leaving around 2 cm above the edge of the tin.

"Clinged" tin!

* Line the inside of your tin with the Joconde Sponge.  Cut it 2 cm below the actual edge so that some of the fillings show above it.  As you can see, I had to piece it, which isn’t ideal, but we learn from our mistakes, right?!  Next time, I’d make it a little thicker (I think I took ‘thin’ to the extreme and lost a lot of the ends where it was too thin.)

Line the tin with your Joconde Imprime Sponge.

* Place the sponge in the freezer to harden, ready for the ganache filling.

The execution of this part of the entremet dessert is so intricate and technical that when it came out, it didn’t matter that bits of it didn’t look precise or quite right; I was just thrilled that I’d pulled it off!  Next time: PERFECTION!  Isn’t there just something about the precision involved in baking that becomes almost obsessive?  🙂  🙂

TO COME TOMORROW : The Chocolate Ganache layer.



About Scrap Kittie

A sewing and baking addict, vegetarian animal-lover, teacher. And an avid music fan...all the wrong sorts of music. Hence the blog was nearly called 'Hot Cake' after The Fall's song.
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8 Responses to Biscuit Joconde Imprime Entremet…

  1. Lisa says:

    I’m so flattered by this post! Thank you! I love that you’re taking on the challenge of the entremet! Your joconde looks beautiful! Here’s a hint regarding the cocoa looks pretty, but tastes kind of blah. I would go with something else, like a really shiny chocolate ganache (add corn syrup to a basic ganache formula). I’m excited to see your progress with each step! 🙂

    • Aww, thanks Lisa, I’m flattered you read all of this! And thank you for the tip – last night, the youngest (Z) dipped his finger in the glace and looked puzzled. I said “What’s up?” He said, “I don’t think I’ll dip my finger in things without asking again!” What would be the equivalent of corn syrup in the UK do you think?

      • Lisa says:

        Oh my, I just received a notification of your finished entremet, which looks fantastic, BTW! I’m so sorry I didn’t see this sooner to answer! A good equivalent to US corn syrup in the UK, from what I’ve heard, is glucose syrup 🙂

      • Thank you! I have you to thank for now becoming obsessed with desserts and patisserie! As we speak my b/f and I are planning a ferry crossing to France in the summer to sample some of the delights! I’ll be sure to post photos… As an aside, any ideas for a gelatin free mousse? The mango one I made recently was ok, but didn’t quite hit the mark and there are soooo many recipes out there, it’s hard to find a definitive, foolproof one.
        Thanks for all your inspiration Lisa, your blog impresses me so much! Moo x

  2. frau84 says:

    WOW! this is a work of art. You are an inspiration sis. Keep us updated… xXxxxxx

  3. Thanks Frau Bulmad – I aim to please… tee hee! Germany, here we come – end of August, it’s decided. The aim? To mix with the Munchen locals and find a genuine Stollen recipe…handed down by grandma. I want to eat German saurkraut with real Germans, maybe even try and find my cousins and aunties.. ??!!

  4. Lisa says:

    Did you make it to France? Again, just received notification of your reply. Problems with! In any event – here’s a mango mousse recipe minus gelatin 🙂

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