Back in the 1990s, we used to have a demonstration class every afternoon at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School. Occasionally the chef garde-manger or the pastry chef from the celebrated restaurant Le Cirque would do one of them. José, the young French pastry chef, once made this lovely take on a shortcake. I made it for a class soon after I tasted it and have always wanted to share the recipe as a memorial to his talent, because José passed away very young.
Makes one 9-inch cake, 8 to 10 servings
1/2 batch Brioche Mousseline Dough (see below)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry-measure cup and level)
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons orange liqueur, divided use
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 half-pint baskets fresh raspberries, picked over but not washed
Confectioners’ sugar for finishing
- Round the brioche dough to a sphere and let it rest, covered, on the work surface for 10 minutes. Butter a 2-inch deep, 9-inch round pan and line it with a disk of parchment.
- Use the floured palm of your hand to evenly press the dough into the pan. Cover and let the dough proof until it almost doubles in bulk, about 45 minutes.
- Set a rack at the middle level in the oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Bake the cake until it is well risen and deep golden, with an internal temperature of 200°F, 30 to 40 minutes. Unmold and cool it on a rack.
- Meanwhile, make the filling by whisking the granulated sugar, flour, and salt together in a nonreactive saucepan. Whisk in the milk and the yolks. Place the pan over low heat and whisk until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in 3 tablespoons of the orange liqueur and scrape the pastry cream into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly against the surface and refrigerate until cold.
- Use a sharp serrated knife to split the brioche cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place the bottom layer on a platter, cut side up, and sprinkle it with half of the remaining orange liqueur.
- Whip the cream and fold it into the cooled pastry cream. Spread half the cream on the bottom layer. Top the cream with the raspberries, then spread the remaining cream over the berries.
- Sprinkle the cut surface of the top layer with the remaining orange liqueur, then invert the cut side onto the filling.
- Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar right before serving.
BRIOCHE MOUSSELINE DOUGH
Makes 2 pounds, enough for about 12 individual brioches or one 9-inch round loaf
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons fine granulated active dry or instant yeast
1/3 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to 100°F
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups unbleached bread flour (spoon into dry-measure cup and level)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 ounces/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- Stir the sugar and yeast together in the bowl for a stand mixer, then whisk in the cooled milk. Let sit for 1 minute, then whisk again. Whisk in the eggs.
- Use a large rubber spatula to stir in the flour, making sure not to leave any in the bottom of the bowl or stuck to its sides.
- Using the dough hook, beat the dough on the lowest speed until it comes together but isn’t completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Begin mixing again on low-medium speed and sprinkle in the salt. Add the butter in 8 or 10 separate pieces, then let the dough mix until it completely absorbs the butter and becomes smooth, shiny, and elastic, about 5 minutes. If the dough doesn’t absorb the butter easily, stop and scrape down the bowl and dough hook every couple of minutes. Once you see that the butter is on its way to being completely absorbed, increase the speed to medium for about 1 minute.
- Scrape the dough into a buttered bowl, turn it over so that the top is buttered, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment until it doubles in bulk, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature.
- Once the dough has fermented, scrape it onto a floured surface and give it a turn: press the dough into a fat disk and fold one side over the center, then fold the other side over both. Roll the dough down from the top to form an uneven sphere. Place the dough back in the bowl (butter the top again if necessary) seam side down and cover it again.
- Refrigerate the dough for a couple of hours or until it rises again and then chills down. It’s now ready to use in the recipes that call for it. You can leave the dough in the refrigerator overnight, but you should bake it within 18 hours of beginning to mix it.