Tuesday, June 4, 2013

TWD: Savarin with Cointreau Sabayon

Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking with Julia
by Dorie Greenspan
Contributing Baker: David Blom 

The Savarin. A spongy (equates to dry) cake that gets soaked in a simple syrup (sugar water) and served with berries and cream, or anything else that suits your personal preference.

This cake is made from a baba dough minus the raisins. I found this dough difficult to work with while filling the mini tins I had ended up using. My original plan was to make one large cake, but it did not appear to be enough dough to fill the pan.

This particular recipe has you soak the cake in plain simple syrup and give it a sprinkle of poire eau-de-vie (pear brandy) before serving. I was not about to buy a whole bottle of brandy to use only three tablespoons. My first choice was to substitute Grand Marnier which I always have on hand - until today. I do have a bottle of Cointreau - this will work - they are both orange flavored.

I was not fond of the texture these cakes had; even after a 30-plus minute soaking they still had a dryness/crumbly feeling to them, though they were moist at the same time, an odd texture.

I used Emily Luchetti's recipe of an orange flavored simple syrup to soak the cakes. This gave the cakes a bright and sweet taste, with orange flavored undertones. I think using only plain sugar-water syrup these would have been quite bland, as a handful of recipes in this book have been. I also served it with Emily's Sabayon sauce which is heavenly; I literally licked the plate clean.

Without the addition of Emily's simple syrup and sabayon sauce, I would have rated this a one. 

Success meter (1-3): 2+ due to the texture-

No way is this enough dough to fill the pan I planned on using. The book does not specify what size  pan to use. I was going to go with a ten-inch flan pan and decided I better use the mini tins.

The recipe instructs you to use clarified butter to coat your pan with. I was not in the mood to boil my butter and separate the fat solids. Just popped some butter in the microwave and used that. Worked fine.

A very sticky, somewhat elastic(y) dough. Not fun to work with when you are filling twenty four mini tins. The dough did not want to release from the tip of the piping bag. When I tried, it pulled the dough right back out of tins. I had to squeeze the dough away from the tip, then it stuck like crazy to my fingers. Wish I had thought to use scissors or to butter my fingers as suggested in Stars Desserts.

Once all the tins are filled, they were covered with another half-sheet pan and allowed to rise for thirty minutes or until the dough fills the molds. (I read that at this point you can allow the second rise to happen overnight in the refrigerator.)

Well, they did not fill the molds (other than the 4-inch pan), but they did poof up slightly.

The finished cakes are reminiscent of madeleines. Spongy and dry. This is why they are soaked in a simple syrup (this can be flavored to your liking).

Just for a little perspective. All the little cakes fit into a large Ziplock bag - with room to spare. This is supposed to serve six people? The baba dough recipe said it would serve eight. I was thinking I don't think so. In the end I think three mini cakes per person would be plenty; after all we do not need to be gluttons do we?

 Soaking away in a simple syrup made up of water, sugar, lemon juice, Cointreau and orange juice.

The leftover sabayon sauce and berries were heavenly served over pancakes.

Note: I had made the cakes two days before soaking and assembling them. After their soaking I then had leftovers a day or two later, and I think they actually improved in flavor and texture. The larger four-inch cake definitely had better texture than the mini cakes, which are about 2 3/4-inch in diameter.

We have recently been granted permission by the administrator of TWD to post the Baking with Julia recipes on our blog. 

Serves 6

For the dough:

6 Tablespoons lukewarm water (about 100°)
1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature

Pour the warm water into a medium bowl and sprinkle over the yeast and sugar. Add the egg and stir briefly with a rubber spatula just to mix.

Put the flour in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and add the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed for a minute or two, just until the ingredients are blended, then increase the speed to medium-low and beat for about 8 minutes, until the mixture is smooth. Add the butter and beat on low only until the butter is absorbed, 1 to 3 minutes.

First rise: Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place (85°F to 90°F) for about 15 minutes, just until slightly risen; it will not double. (If your room is cool, the rising time will be longer. You’re looking for a noticeable increase in volume and a lightness.)

Second rise: Brush a ring mold with clarified butter and fill with the dough. Cover the mold and let rise in a very warm place (85°F to 90°F) for about 30 minutes, or until the dough fills the mold.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Put the savarin on a parchment-lined jelly-roll pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until it is golden and starts to shrink from the sides of the mold. Unmold onto a cooling rack and cool completely before soaking.

Soaking and Assembling (my variation follows)

1 recipe soaking syrup (2 cups water/1 cup sugar – bring to a boil. Boil 30 seconds
   and then remove from heat.)
A few tablespoons raspberry purée
About 1 cup assorted fresh berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and sliced strawberries
Sugar to taste
1 cup raspberries (optional)
About 3 tablespoons poire eau-de-vie (pear brandy)
Whipped cream

Bring the soaking syrup to the boil and turn off the heat. Place the cooling rack over a parchment- or waxed paper-lined jelly-roll pan. Spoon the hot syrup over the savarin, a few tablespoons at a time, continuing to soak the pastry until it is plump and cannot hold any more liquid. Leave the savarin on the rack until it is cool.

Put about 2 teaspoons of water into a sauté pan, preferably nonstick, and add the raspberry purée (exact amounts are not vital here). Warm the sauce and then add ½ to 1 cup of the assorted berries. Sugar the berries to taste and bring the mixture to the boil. Add the raspberries, if you’re using them, and stir just to mix. You want to warm, not cook, the berries. Remove the skillet from t he heat and let the mixture cool for a minute.

Transfer the savarin to a serving plate and drizzle with the pear eau-de-vie.

Fill the center of savarin with whipped cream and top with the warmed, saucy berries. Spoon some whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a small ¼-inch star tip, and pipe a ring of rosettes around the base of the savarin. Serve immediately.

Storing: Unsoaked savarin can be well wrapped and kept at room temperature for a day or two, or frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.

Baking with Julia/Dorie Greenspan

My variation:

Recipe from Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti

Soaking syrup

 2 cups simple syrup (2½ cups sugar/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and boil for 1
     minute. Once cooled, cover, and store it indefinitely in the refrigerator.)
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup Grand Marnier (I used Cointreau)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Mix all ingredients in a shallow pan. Place the savarin(s) in the syrup and soak them in the syrup for 15 minutes on each side.

Grand Marnier Sabayon
Yields 5 cups

8 Large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
¼ cup Grand Marnier (I used Cointreau)
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a large stainless steel bowl. Whisk in the Grand Marnier and orange juice.

Fill a large bowl one quarter full of ice water and set aside. Place the first bowl over a pot of boiling water and whisk the egg mixture vigorously for about 5 minutes, until it is thick and tripled in volume. The sabayon should mound slightly when dropped from the whisk. Immediately put the bowl over the ice bath and whisk until cold (it is imperative that the sabayon be whisked over ice until it is completely cold.)

Pour the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the sabayon.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

The sabayon can be made one day ahead.

Raspberry Sauce
Yields 1 cup

1 pint raspberries
Approximately 2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt

Purée the berries through a food mill with a medium strainer or in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Strain the purée through a medium-holed sieve to eliminate any remaining seeds.

Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Taste the purée and adjust for sweetness.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Stars Desserts/Emily Luchetti


  1. Cathleen your Grand Marnier sabayon sounds divine!

  2. Your variations seemed to have saved this cake. And the little cakes look beautiful despite all the trouble they gave you. Thanks for posting the sabayon recipe. I may use it in the future.

  3. I think I would have eaten all the sabayon and left the cake behind :-) Yum

  4. The minis are so cute! I have some similar molds but never remember to use them. your version with the sauce sounds fantastic.

  5. The sanbayon sounds amazing, and your presentation is very, very pretty!

  6. These mini savarins look so adorable and luscious. The pancakes with sabayon sauce are delicious too.

  7. I love all your pics. The savarins look great with the sabayon and berries. And I think using the leftovers on pancakes is brilliant!

  8. Gorgeous, Cathleen! I agree with you about the cake's texture...I wasn't a fan of it, or the flavor of it plain. But it did make a pretty presentation.

  9. Well, they look beautiful!

  10. Sorry to hear these were dry. They look good, though!

  11. Simply beautiful, Cathleen! Sorry they were too dry. Your photos and presentation are lovely.

  12. They look perfect! I wish I had those molds.

  13. You made an excellent job! Wow! I love them all!


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