This month's challenge was chosen and hosted by Chris at Mele Cotte. It's Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream from Great Cakes by Carol Walter. It was a lot of work, but each step wasn't too difficult on it's own. I started some parts of it on Friday, and finished it on Sunday. You can see the recipe here.
Funny, when it was done on Sunday, it didn't taste...all that great. Sort of bland and dry. I just tasted it again today, two days later, and now I'm impressed! I guess it needed time to get it's stuff together, hehe.
It's a pistachio (I decided against filberts, aka hazelnuts) genoise, brushed with a simple syrup, with my choice of liqueur--Framboise. The buttercream between the layers and decorating the cake is mixed with a pistachio praline--delicious! Then the cake is brushed with a warm glaze made from fruit preserves mixed with water and cooked down until thickened. I used cherry preserves--so good! All of this is draped with a nice coating of chocolate ganache, and decorated (very simply, hehe!) with more of that spectacular buttercream. Speaking of the buttercream, I used the one from May's challenge, the Opera Cake.
What new tricks did I learn this month? Making praline and praline paste! This is the first time I've ever melted sugar, and I was nervous. It took forever to start melting! Ok, it took 20 minutes, but it seemed like forever. Then pistachios were stirred in, and after cooling on parchment paper, it was all whizzed in the food processor until it became a smooth paste. Could eat that stuff with a spoon!
Also, I learned that I could add more butter to my buttercream, since it was too soft and not firm enough. Cool! And it worked!
So let's get to the photos...
So now that it's two full days ofter completing the cake, I have decided it's delicious. Weird, right? I mean, I know some things taste better a couple days later, like shortbread and pound cake, but I thought this one would immediately knock my socks off. After all the time and energy put into it, I'm glad it's knocking my socks off now, and thrilled I gave it another chance before sending it to it's demise, hehe.
As always, it's great to get out of my comfort zone and learn new things, like green goo aka pistachio praline tastes damn freaking delicious. Who'd have thought?
Thanks, Chris, for a great challenge! See what other Daring Bakers thought of the challenge this month!