I mentioned before that one of my tasks these days is to produce birthday cupcakes in bunny shape. Easter is still two weeks away and I am already “in the mood”. Why? Because I discovered that if at all this would be the year for a children’s bunny birthday party. Our youngest is too young to really object or provide wishes. And then – the next time Easter will be this close will be in 27 years, and this year it is still 2 days earlier. In 8 years it will be 4 days later, but by then I am sure that I could not win any price for a bunny theme (or at least I would freak out parents who fear for a twist in the theme ). It will not be any earlier than this year until 2050 as far as this site with Easter dates is concerned.
The pre-school class was going to celebrate the birthday too – in class, not in an amusement park (just yet?). The director of the pre-school acts (luckily!) as nutrition police. Cupcakes are extremely frowned upon, at least the ones that come from supermarkets and consist of more icing than cake. If I think of all the hydrogenated fats that scream “Run for your life!” I really appreciate this setting. My kids are well cared for, not only emotionally!
With those guidelines it was hard (at first, mentally) for me as a pastry chef to provide anything for a party. So far I have gotten away with cupcakes with only a chocolate glaze on them. I even baked low-fat apple cupcakes that were well received by the “picky children crowd”. These go so well with the espresso machine we bought at http://www.siebland.com/siebtraegermaschine/.
This year however I am set on the bunny theme. What I made for them were little yeast dough bunnies.
They are significantly lower in sugar than any cake (and specifically the low-fat apple cupcakes) could be. They contain no hydrogenated fats and only “happy” eggs and milk from (hopefully) happy cows, all of them far away from the growth hormones and antibiotics that so many farmers here seem to love.
Put raspberry puree, sugar and egg yolks as well as egg whites in a sauce pot and heat , stirring constantly, until it comes to a gentle boil.
Remove from heat and add the bloomed gelatin.
When the mixture is cooled down to about 35-40°C (95-104°F) mix in the butter pieces with a blender.
Try not to incorporate air if possible.
Assemble the tartelettes right away or refrigerate until needed (keeps for a few days) and rewarm in a microwave.
After they are cooled, brush the tartelettes with melted white chocolate to insulate them.
Spoon some of the liquid but not too warm cream on top.
Add raspberries before the cream sets completely.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Garnish as desired (original version has pistachios and candied orange peel on it, I used lemon zest and cape gooseberries)
Frédéric Bau mentions the following in his book: “The contrasting textures of this tart promises delightful eating sensations. To enhance this pleasure, serve it cool, just out of the refrigerator.”
Whom am I to contradict this? Well, I felt that they were better just chilled a bit, before they had a chance to set completely. The cream and the berries were nice when cool, but the base was too overpowering when cool in my opinion – then again, mine were smaller so maybe the ratio dough to filling was off.
Fix for that? Make them, eat some right away, when just firm enough to be cut, and leave some in the fridge for later. Then compare and see what you like best. Maybe I am just too excited to wait?
8 egg yolks (160 g; 5.6 oz.)
320 g sugar (11.3 oz.)
320 g salted butter (I used unsalted plus 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel) (11.3 oz.)
450 g flour (16 oz.)
30 g baking powder (1 oz.)
Whip egg yolks and sugar.
Add softened butter.
Sift together flour and baking powder and add as well.
Mix until flour is just incorporated.
The dough will be very soft and needs chilling to be shaped or cut. I rolled it out immediately between baking mats, chilling it as necessary.
Roll the dough to 5 mm thickness and chill until ready to bake.
Cut out desired sizes (mine had 10 cm diameter) and place the discs in ungreased rings.
Bake at 160-170°C (320-340°F) until just baked through in the center.