As High as A Pompadour, More Buzz than a Hive, The Bee Sting Cake from Pie It Forward

Leftovers including pastry dough leftovers put to use to create Pie Pops have a place in our life.

Once in a while we want something unique, striking, more ambitious.

Here's a recipe for a cake as high as a pompadour, with more buzz than a hive from Pie it Forward (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, April 1, 2012) by Gesine Bullock-Prado.

The Bee Sting:

It’s hard to not fall in love with this cake, with its jaunty striped sides and those lovely little bees nestled in the ganache. But then I find it hard to resist most things that combine almond, chocolate, and honey.

For the tulle
tuille batter (see page 226), made with 2 tablespoons/10 g dark cocoa powder for coloring 1 batch

For the joconde sponge
joconde sponge (see page 226) 1 batch

For the crust
Traditional Puff Pastry (page 25), Cocoa option 1/2 batch

For the filling
bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 1 pound 455 g
heavy cream 11/2 cups 360 ml
egg yolks 6
sugar 1/4 cup 50 g
almond extract 1 tablespoon 15 ml
salt pinch
honey (preferably local) ⅓ cup 75 ml

For the ganache
bittersweet chocolate, finey chopped 8 ounces 226g
heavy cream 3/4 cup 177ml
corn syrup 1 tablespoon 15 ml
salt pinch

For the assembly
marzipan 4 ounces 115 g
bittersweet chocolate 4 ounces 115 g
blanched almond slices (not slivers) 1 cup 90 g
special equipment
silicone painting comb (see Note)

To make tuille patterns, like stripes, professional pastry chefs use expensive tools available only to the trade. But I've found that wide-toothed icing scrapers work just as well. Or go to the paint department at your hardware store: At The Home Depot I found a four-piece specialty-paintfinish tool set to make sponging effects, stripes, and faux wood grain.
The striping comb was a smaller version of the $250 pastry tool that does exactly the same thing.


For the tuille
1. Follow the procedure for making tuille paste described in step 1 on page 228. Tint the batter with cocoa powder.
2. Using an offset spatula, spread the tuille batter in a very thin, even layer across a nonstick silicone baking mat. Drag a painting comb across the parchment lengthwise. Scrape the extra batter off the comb and makeadditional stripes below the first set as needed. Freeze the tuille until it’s rock hard, at least 1 hour.

Procedure for the joconde sponge
Follow the procedure on page 229 for making joconde sponge, pouring it over the tuille decorations, and baking the sponge.

Procedure for the crust
1. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 Fahrenheit (175 C).
2. Divide the dough in half. Roll each piece into a rough rectangle approximately the size of a half sheet pan (12 by 16 inches/30.5 by 40.5 cm).
Transfer each rectangle to a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. (Keep in mind that in the next step you’ll need an extra baking sheet for every baking sheet you fill with dough now—so you’ll have to work in batches if you don’t have enough oven space or baking sheets. If you aren’t baking all the pieces at once, refrigerate the dough that’s waiting in line.)
3. Bake the dough for 10 minutes, or until the pastry starts to puff. Place a piece of parchment on top of the pastry and then carefully place an empty baking sheet on top of the parchment to gently weight down the pastry. (You don’t want to smoosh the puff, just tame it a little with an even distribution of weight.) Bake for 10 minutes more. Remove the empty baking sheet and continue baking until the pastry is baked through, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
4. Take a cake ring, 21/2 inches (6 cm) wide by 3 inches (7.5 cm) high, and use it to cut 24 rounds from the two pieces of puff pastry. Place 8 of the rounds on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Place a cake ring,
21/2 inches (6 cm) wide by 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall, over each of the
8 rounds, so a piece of pastry is nestled at the bottom of each ring— these are the bottom layers of the “pie cakes.” Set aside. Reserve the remaining 16 rounds.

Procedure for the filling
1. Place the chocolate in a large metal bowl and place the bowl over a large pot of simmering water. Stir the chocolate until it’s completely melted, being careful not to let it scorch or burn. Set the chocolate aside to cool, but don’t let it harden.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and set it aside. In the same bowl of the stand mixer, whip the egg yolks, sugar, almond extract, and salt until light and aerated.
3. Pour the honey into a small saucepan and heat it over low heat until it starts to gently boil. With the mixer still running, carefully pour the honey down the side of the bowl into the egg-yolk mixture. Turn the mixer speed to high and beat until the mixture has cooled.
4. Fold in the melted chocolate and then quickly fold in the whipped cream. Take care that each element is similar in temperature; otherwise, your chocolate can seize, and you’ll end up with little chunks of hard chocolate in your filling. (This is still tasty but not ideal.)
5. Transfer the filling to a large pastry bag fitted with a large open tip.
Pipe an even layer of filling (about 1 inch/2.5 cm thick) inside each of the 8 cake rings, right on top of the round of pastry. Place a reserved round of pastry on top of the first layer of filling in each cake ring.
Press gently. The fit is very snug and the puff is delicate, but you want the second layer of pastry to sit on top of the filling. (I sometimes trim the edges of the remaining rounds of pastry very carefully, to make inserting them into the rings easier; if you choose to do this, be careful to cut as evenly as possible.) Pipe another 1-inch (2.5-cm) layer of filling onto the second round of pastry inside each ring. Top with the last 8 rounds, pressing gently. If the last round of pastry doesn’t reach the top of the ring, divide the remaining filling evenly among the rings and, using a small offset spatula, gently scrape the top to make it even.
6. Freeze the pies until set, about 2 hours.

Procedure for the ganache
1. Place the chocolate in a mixing bowl. Set aside. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stir the cream, butter, corn syrup, and salt until the butter has completely melted and the mixture comes to a low simmer.
Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and allow to sit for a few minutes, undisturbed, to allow the chocolate to melt. Then whisk the mixture until emulsified and smooth.
2. Remove the pies from the freezer and place a heaping tablespoon of
ganache on top of each pie. Smooth with an offset spatula. Return the pies back to the freezer for 10 minutes to allow the ganache to set.

Assembling the Bees
1. Remove the pies from the cake rings by placing each pie on top of a tall container that’s slightly narrower than the pie itself (I use a spice bottle).
Gently heat the sides of the ring with a heat gun or blow dryer and carefully tug the ring down so it falls away from the pie. Continue with the remaining pies.
2. Cut the decor sides: Wrap a piece of kitchen twine around the circumference of the pie (it should be around 83/4 inches/22 cm, but it’s always safer to take your own measurement) and cut the twine to the exact circumference.
This is your joconde-side measurement.
3. Before you take the decor sides out of the sheet pan, gently dust the
joconde with confectioners’ sugar. Trim the outer edges of the cake with a thin paring knife. Place a piece of parchment over the cake; then place a sheet pan over the parchment and flip the cake over. Carefully remove the top sheet pan and then very gently remove the baking mat.
Cut 8 pieces of joconde to match the measurement you made with the twine.
4. Using a small offset spatula, smooth a very thin layer of ganache around each little pie to create an adhesive for the joconde. Gently wrap a
joconde strip around the pie, pressing gently, and wrap with a piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow the joconde strip to adhere properly.
5. Pinch dime-size pieces of marzipan from the small loaf. Roll the pieces
n your hand to make an oval shape about 1/2 inch (6 mm) in length.
Continue making ovals until you have a total of 8.
6. Take the pies from the fridge and place the ovals of marzipan on top of each pie.
7. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate in 30-second bursts until it is melted. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly, but make sure it remains soft. Transfer it to a small piping bag fitted with a small open pastry tip. Pipe strips of chocolate along the backs of the marzipan ovals. For wings, take two slices of almond and place one on either side of each bee, using a touch of melted chocolate at the bottom as glue. At the head of the bee, pipe two little dots of chocolate for eyes.
8. Serve immediately.

(* Recipe from Pie It Forward Pies, Tarts, Tortes, Galettes, and Other Pastries Reinvented by Gesine Bullock-Prado with photograph by Tina Rupp- reproduced with permission of publisher Stewart, Tabori and Chang, all rights reserved)

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