Some women spend their lives cooking: cooking for their boyfriends, then husbands, family, for school events…some “crazy” women cook for their blogs….when do we cook for US? Mind you, I am not going to make this cake for me….only for me ! but I made it for my friends, my female friends, the girls, “las chicas”….
Saying goodbye to winter, and before the warm weather and sunshine would find us all like lizards sunbathing on the chairs of Parisian cafés…anything better than calling “the chicas” home, for a loooong afternoon, of coffee and tea and cakes and sandwiches, and gossip, shared frustration, insane laughter, tears, more gossip, hyaluronic acid (?!) ….endless changes of subject in three minutes, five subjects discussed at the same time, in five minutes… God bless “the chicas”…and I thank them for their support, even if they gave me incredulous faces when I first talked about the blog…(some of my chicas are “computer challenged”, so the idea of the blog was not easy to understand…), thank you girls for saying that my macarons are the best ones in Paris (well….they ARE my friends after all !) 

Thank you even for criticism !!! My French chicas do not like dulce de leche…so I “ruined” the coconut macarons in their opinion…Thank you for shouting Wowwww !! when I showed you this fraisier… What would a woman do without her “chicas”? Thank you girls !!!

The photos could be brighter…..I could have done this in the editing process, but this is what my home looked like…Tuesday we were in the middle of the “giboulées de mars”, name given to the sometimes violent if short rainstorms that occur in France, in the passage from winter to spring…. Not that we cared a lot…we hardly noticed !

This time I chose light blue for decoration, Easter theme, my always present yoghurt pots (in light blue) this time as little spoon holders… Even sugar was light blue !!! This suited us well…I have friends of different nationalities but there was an Argentinian “surplus”…so light blue and white, the colours of our flag!
I adore these cups ! They were made by Bernardaud, a traditional French porcelain manufacturer. It was a limited collection that I bought just before returning to Argentina, in 2007, thinking I would never return to France…..

Well, now the recipe for this fraisier…..

The Fraisier is a traditional French cake…well, I think it belongs to the category of “entremets“, word originally used to designate something served between the meal and cheese course, but nowadays used to talk about a more sophisticated dessert.
A traditional fraisier is made with strawberries, a “génoise“, pastry cream, or “mousseline cream”(pastry cream + butter), and almond paste on top for decoration…
Well, nothing of the sort will happen here…this is my revisited version (once again!)

Three steps for My Fraisier for my “chicas”: 1. a chocolate “biscuit”   2. white chocolate mousse 3. glaçage “miroir” (cocoa mirror glaze)

For the chocolate biscuit, you will need:
 * eggs, 5 (separate yolks and whites)
 * all purpose flour, 100gr
 * sugar, 90gr
 * cocoa powder, 10gr

Take a rectangular pastry baking sheet (mine was 38x27cm) Butter it so that your parchment paper sticks to it !) Cut your parchment paper slightly exceeding at the long sides (see photo) (this will facilitate removing the biscuit from the baking sheet). If your parchment paper is not professional quality, butter it on top too, to avoid future problems!)
In a stand-mixer (or a hand one) whisk the yolks and the sugar until the mixture “whitens”, and doubles volume. Incorporate the sifted flour and cocoa powder, with big whisking motions, from the inside to the outside…Incorporate the whites that you have previously beaten with a hand mixer to medium-firm peaks (and I say “medium firm” because if it is too stiff, it won’t combine well); pour the batter on the baking sheet, spreading it with a spatula. Bake 180°C for 10′ aprox; when you press the biscuit lightly, it should bounce back, or pull up one corner and peep, see if it is cooked!

As soon as you take the baking sheet out of the oven, taking the extra paper at the sides, remove the biscuit from the baking tray, otherwise it will continue baking and your biscuit will be too dry, and it will break easily….

Once it has cooled down, sprinkle your worktop with some cocoa powder, turn the biscuit upside down, and carefully remove the paper with the help of the spatula…Take a ring mold (here, 18cm diameter) and cut the biscuit. Then, on some sort of flat dish, put some aluminum sheet, the biscuit ring (this will help us to keep it in the freezer later….

Now for the strawberries…in most French recipes they will cut the strawberries in halves…I prefer to slice them thinly..Why?, it helps when cutting the pieces, besides I don’t like finding a huge strawberry in my mouth…I feel I’m going to choke…but this is personal, you can use the other method if you want to…
For a neat result, we want all the strawberries to be the same size, so this is how I cut them and then slice them with a thin knife…how many strawberries? depends on the size of the mold and the strawberries, so up to you to figure out !!

Then, neatly line all the strawberries around the mold, once your white chocolate mousse is ready!

For the white chocolate mousse, you will need:
 * white chocolate, 180gr
 * cream, 90gr
 * whipped cream, 180gr
 * gelatine, 2 sheets

Soak the sheets of gelatine in a bowl with cold water. Let it stay 15′. In a metal bowl, “a bain Marie”, melt the chocolate (previously chopped coarsely) with the cream. Combine well. Rinse the gelatin sheets, add them to the warm chocolate/cream mixture. Combine well. Finally, add the whipped cream with big whisking motions. Ready !!!!!!!!

Pour the mousse in the mold. Smooth the surface using a bent spatula. Take it to your freezer 24hs.

For the “glaçage miroir” (cocoa mirror glaze), you will need:
 * water, 150gr
 * cocoa powder, 60gr (pleeease !!!! good quality here, otherwise it won’t work…Valrhona?)
 * heavy cream, 120gr
 * sugar, 180gr
 * gelatine 7gr (if you use gelatine in powder, sprinke it on 30gr of water)

Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan, except the gelatine. Stir well with a metal whisk. Heat stirring constantly until it boils. Continue stirring 5′ more, you will see the mirror-like appearance. Let it cool. Add the gelatine that has been hydrated in water, and then warmed a few seconds in the micro-wave oven. Combine well. Sift. Use at 35°C.
(this recipe will give you more than what you need for the fraisier. You can use the rest on another cake. Keep it in the freezer!)
Take your fraisier out of the freezer, and pour the “glaçage miroir” on it, 2/3mm in depth. Let it cool. Remove the metal ring. Decorate the fraisier with all the berries that you like, think about creating volume, like this!

Some apple slices and intruding pistachios are welcome !!!
I hope you like it, and Happy Easter !!!!!

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