Friday, September 19, 2008

A Birthday Cake Surprise for D...



It was my birthday last month, and my friend D surprised me with the most wonderful cookbook ever- Desserts by Pierre Herme. I'm not sure about the rest of the world, but here in Australia, it is very difficult to get your hands on Pierre Herme's books. Even on Amazon it's a nightmare because a lot of places won't post to Australia. Amazingly he was able to find one that shipped here and now I have this fantastic book! It's hard to describe how excited I was... But now I want ALL of his books.

Well yesterday was D's birthday and I thought 'what kind of friend would I be if I didn't make him a cake from the most fabulous book ever, by the most fabulous pastry chef ever'? I was going to let him choose a cake, but I decided to keep it a secret and surprise him. He is in the middle of doing Honours in Mathematics, so basically all year he has been stressed out and working non stop. I'm sure he would be at uni much later than 12:16am but unfortunately for him, that is the last ferry home. Anyway, as I was saying, it was his birthday yesterday and since he has an upcoming assignment, he was planning on spending the whole day at uni by himself- no birthday celebrations whatsoever! I'm a massive birthday person so couldn't let the poor guy celebrate alone. Unfortunately for me, I hadn't been to his room at uni before so had no idea how I was going to find him- S and I just rocked up and wandered aimlessly. Eventually we found the mathematics building, which led us to the Honours student's room. When we got there the room was empty, so we admitted defeat and called D to find out where the hell he was! Turns out we were way off... I was so dissapointed because it would have been the best surprise ever had we been able to pull it off. Regardless, D was still super surprised which was great.



Back to the cake. I've noticed that D can't really handle rich cakes or desserts made of chocolate (yet he can eat an entire block of milkyway? Yuck), so I chose Pierre Herme's 'Melody' cake. It consists of a thin layer of cinnamon pastry, topped with a thin slice of genois, followed by a helping of 20 hour apples (yes they were as tedious as they sound!), with a layer of cinnamon bavarian cream, adding another slice of genois and another cinnamon pastry disc, and finally a spiral of apples on top glazed with apricot jam! Definitely a challenging cake I must say. There were just so many steps and ingredients, so I was really hoping it would pay off! I must say overall I was impressed with the cake- not my favourite ever, but quite delicious nonetheless. I would definitely make it again and hopefully it would be much easier now that I've done it once already.

Happy Birthday D!

Not so good lighting at D's uni...


6 comments:

NQN said...

What a fabulous friend you are making that cake! It looks amazing :D What are the 20 hour apples? I'm curious and you've definitely got me hankering a Pierre Herme cookbook now. Are the recipes accessible for non professionals? :)

Bria said...

Basically the 20 hour apples involves slicing about 6 apples in half and then slicing each of those halves very thinly. Layer one layer of apples and brush with melted butter, sprinkle with a little caster sugar and a few strands of orange zest. You do this until all the apples are finished (takes forever I tell you!). Then you need to bake them in a dish for 10 hours at very low heat. This was a little inconvenient since I didn't put them in the oven until 3pm... then after the 10 hours you need to let them cool to room temperature (which also takes forever!) then chill them for at least 10 hours. Apparently the 10 hour mark is quite important, but I'm sure you could skimp a little. The apples are still in tact to look at, but they are very very tender once you touch them. Mostly it was so time consuming!

Desserts by Pierre Herme is fine for non professionals (reading your blog im sure you would be fine). I think his newest book PH10 is quite advanced though (and about US$300). Crazy. But worth every penny I'm guessing. I think next I want to get Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme...

NQN said...

Thanks for that explanation Bria. That takes a lot of patience! Perhaps his latest one is like the Gordon Ramsay 3 star chef book which is quite difficult to make things out of (although I found a few recipes :P).

Bria said...

Ah yep! I've got the Gordon Ramsay 3 star chef too. I highly recommend the tarragon cream with raspberry compote!

creampuff said...

What a beautiful cake!

Bridget said...

That cake is beautiful!!!