When I first saw this in BCM I was intrigued. The cake is a little more time-intensive than many of Dorie’s other recipes, and when there is a challenge afoot, I am first in line.
The cake itself is a brioche scented with kirsch, made in a typical brioche manner, and then covered in small Swedish sugar bits before baking. Once cooled, you slice the cake open, and then fill it with vanilla pastry cream.
Overall no real surprises or challenges with this from a technique standpoint. My only beef is the use of corn starch as a thickener. I find it makes the pastry cream extremely thick, and I invariably have to sieve it (which I did) to achieve a more silky texture. Typically I use Jacques Pepin’s technique thickened with flour, which has a nicer final texture, but as I typically do the first time I make something, I did follow the recipe exactly. Perhaps the cake needed something stiffer to support it’s “hat”? Lastly, while I did use the kirsch, I do have to say that I really didn’t notice its presence.
ETA: be sure to plan this in advance. It requires a lot of rest or rising time. I started it on Saturday afternoon through the chilling phase, and then picked it back up on Sunday morning for a Sunday afternoon finish.
The flavor of the cake is delicate, with the true star being the pastry cream. I could see this served with a glass of dessert wine… Maybe something light with hints of pear and apple, like an Asti, to complement the cake. Or even served as an accompaniment at tea. The sugar bits lend a delightful textural crunch, which I really enjoyed. What did you think, dear reader? Is this a keeper for you?