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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DB Challenge July: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream




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...

Processing the nuts, cake flour and cornstarch--the base of the cake.

Baked cake layers.


Finally starting to melt!


Cooling praline. I could have eaten it all as is.


Smooth pistachio praline paste. It tastes better than it looks, I swear.


mmmm, such a beautiful sight!


Almost ganache...



Can I make a cake with a smooth, mirror finish ganache? Apparently not. *sigh*




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!



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46 comments:

April in CT said...

I seriously need to get a food processor...srsly. Elle, THAT is one beautimus cake!

Elle said...

April, I know what I'm doing up this late (just finished writing this post), but what are you doing up this late hehe?

Thanks so much! And yeah, no way in hell anyone's making that praline paste without a food processor.

noble pig said...

This is amazing, just love it. I the your ganache is perfect too, who cares about the mirror finish!

Elle said...

Cathy, thank you! You know, you're right--ganache tastes great whether it's smooth or lumpy.

April in CT said...

Eating cereal, of course! LOL Reading food blogs late at night is detrimental to my arse.

Ugh, I can't sleep so it's going to be a long night. Two posts for this cake popped up on my reader at the exact same time though so at least I have some reading material! That is one LONG recipe.

Elle said...

Cereal, huh? Iced tea and cherries for me.

It is a long recipe! And I just figured out that I don't have to post them, I can link to the current month's DB host's site. D'oh!

April in CT said...

I'm drinking water because I drank my weight in sweet tea earlier today so I figure I better detox! Cherries! I forgot I finally splurged and bought rainiers! If it's fruit it doesn't count as bad for me, right? :)

I pitted 2 lbs of bing cherries for a cobbler the other day and it looked like I had performed surgery in my kitchen! I love the summer fruits and a peach cobbler is on my list next.

In retrospect maybe I can't sleep because of all that sweet tea...and am rambling on filling up your comment section!

Elle said...

Ahh, sweet tea! I'm doing 2/3 brewed tea and 1/3 crystal light lemonade.

Rainiers are gorgeous! And i finally splurged, too. The cherries went from $5.99/lb to $3.99. I bought a huge bunch! And I don't even cook with them. I just rinse them, plop a ton of them in a bowl, and proceed to eat (and make a mess of my hands). But a cobbler sounds great now that you mention it!

April in CT said...

I'm a GA girl and since I can't get sweet tea "up here" I've been making WAY too much of it. Lord help me, I'm gonna mutate into a glass of sweet tea if I don't stop.

I paid $5.99/lb, but that's much better than the $8.99 I saw them for at another store. I had some definite sticker shock because I never paid that much for them when we lived in FL. I've never put rainiers into a cobbler, but if I'd had them the other day I would have included them. YUM! I do the same..rinse, eat, repeat. This is sad for me to admit, but a damp paper towel is handy if you're eating cherries while surfing the net. Not that I know first hand or anything.... *innocent*

Courtney said...

I love your take with pistachios. I am obsessed with them. The pics all look great. I loved the learning experience this cake gave me, loved the brittle!

Elle said...

Yes! You have to have the damp paper towel. So you don't get cherry juice on the sofa while using your laptop there. Not that I'd know anything about that.

Elle said...

Courtney--thank you! I also loved learning new things with this challenge! The pistachios do give it a nice flavor--especially the praline. omg, so good!

Chris said...

pistachio praline paste? yum! I have to try that. And, interestingly, this is not the first post I have read that talked about the delay in taste. hmmm! Good to know. :) Thanks for a great challenge!

April in CT said...

So glad I'm not the only one who knows nothing about that. *whistles innocently*

I don't know that I would ever tackle a cake like that, but that praline paste I really need to find a use for.

Elle said...

Chris--you get the thanks, for a great choice in cakes!

April--if you find a use for it, let me know--I've got some left. Guess I could just eat it with cherries... ;)

Michelle said...

What a fabulous job on the ganache...it's just like a mirror!

RecipeGirl said...

Great job... it looks so pretty! I had to skip out on this one but it looks like it would have been fun to do.

Foodie Froggy said...

I agree it was a lot of work. For me, as I made it at the last minute (yesterday !), it was a nightmare, but I was really pleasantly surprised by the taste : it was wonderful ! Yours is a masterpiece.

Dhanggit said...

your filbert cake is beautifully done!! great job!!

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

Wow!!! That is a gorgeous cake Elle, what a great job you did on the challenge. Love the idea of pistachio nuts, I may try that.

canarygirl said...

Oh my GAWD, Elle. Get over here RIGHT NOW and bring that Gateau with you! XOXO

giz said...

Wow Elle, great job on the challenge. I took the picture first day but you're right - as it sat overnight, the flavours seemed to get more intense. I would have loved to try that cake with pistachios.

Passionate About Baking said...

How very pretty Elle & pisatachios...*SIGH*, my favourite nut! Gorgeous looking cake & excellent piping! My buttercream was very naughty to say the least. Had a mind of it's own & didnt wanna get piped!! I love your gateau!!

Ann said...

Your cake is just beautiful! I love the photos you captured of the steps involved, too.

VeggieGirl said...

I love hazelnuts, but I also LOOOOOVE (haha) pistachios!! Love your variation on the gateau!

shellyfish said...

I am having severe ganache envy! Amazing job!

Adam said...

Beautiful cake, Elle. You make it look really easy, but after reading some of the other posts, I know a TON of work went into it.

Great idea with the pistachios. They need to show up in more desserts.

Breadchick Mary said...

You know, I agree, I could have eaten the nut brittle in one sitting! I think the next time I make this, I'm trying your pistachio version.

kat said...

Your cake looks wonderful! & I think your ganache looks just fine, how bad can chocolate look, really?! good for you making your own praline paste, i chickened out after a bad experience trying to melt sugar in the past

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Looks great Elle! I am glad you said it tastes better in a few days. I had some last night and wasn't thrilled, so I can be really excited when it is time to serve in on Friday!

BMoreSweet said...

Just beautiful, Elle!

maybelles parents said...

great use of pistachios. and, who the heck cares about perfect ganache if it tastes good.

Sharon said...

Absolutely beautiful! Good thing that you mentioned that it tasted better after a few days b/c I've read on a couple posts that some didn't like the dry texture....not that I'm brave enough to attempt this cake!

bunny said...

I love your ganache! i wish mine had looked more like yours! Fantastic job elle!!

Grace said...

praline paste, eh? sounds like something i'd gladly squirt onto my toothbrush and slather around my gums. :)
very nicely done, elle. glad to hear that all your creation needed was a little time for the components to blend.
meanwhile, it's hilarious that you're carrying on conversations with your fans in the comment section of your blog at 12 in the morning. i love it. :)

April in CT said...

Grace, on that note I'd like to thank Elle for keeping me company last night! LOL

Praline tooth paste? Genius!

HoneyB said...

Yummy~ looks great!

Lina said...

wow your cake looks perfect! I love how you took photos of the process too!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

look at that praline...it wont survive to see the final cake if it was with me LOL

Deborah said...

Gorgeous cake!! I think my sugar took about 40 minutes to melt. I ended up turning up the heat because it wasn't doing anything!!

farida said...

I love your cake! Looks so good. I skipped this month's challenge - just didn't like the recipe for some reason. Hmm, am I not daring enough:)

Kevin said...

Your cake looks great! I really like the sound of the pistachio praline!

linda said...

Your cake looks wonderful! Love the use of pistachio.

Lauren said...

Ooo! Your cake looks wonderful! I love the decoration!

LyB said...

I think your ganache looks fabulous, even better than the smooth, mirror ones! And with the praline and the butter cream, wow, that is some cake! :)

Kitchen Flavours said...

Very gr8 looking cake. Awesome. Nice blog.

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