Savarin with raspberries

This was one of the most popular puddings served at L’Escargot when I was chef there in 1982. The date is indicative, it’s a long time ago, and this style of pâtisserie has gone rather out of fashion, which is a huge shame because it is easy and fun to make and exceptionally delicious. The base recipe is stolen from Cuisine Gourmande by Michel Guérard.

The best mould to cook this pastry in is a springform cake tin (25 cm) with the brioche or kugelhopf base used instead the normal one. (Springform cake tins come with two bases, a flat one and a fancy one; use the fancy one with the central funnel to create a ring-shaped pastry.)

This recipe makes one large cake enough for ten servings. I don’t recommend cutting the quantities down because for some reason it doesn’t work very well if you do.

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Ingredients

  • 20 g fresh yeast, or 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 10 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp tepid water
  • 250 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 7 tbsp milk
  • 75 g butter, softened
  • a little melted butter to grease the cake tin

Syrup

  • 750 ml water
  • 500 g caster sugar
  • 12 tbsp rum

To Finish

  • 200 ml double cream, whipped with caster sugar or vanilla sugar to taste (Chantilly cream)
  • 500 g (or more) fresh raspberries

Method

Making the Dough

You might like to use a mixer for this recipe because the dough requires 15 minutes’ beating.

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the tepid water, stirring thoroughly. Add the flour and salt, 2 of the eggs, and beat until a smooth paste is achieved. Now add the third egg and, still beating, gradually pour in the milk. Beat this dough for about 8 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Add the softened butter in small pieces, then beat for a further 5 minutes to incorporate. Let the dough rest, covered with a damp cloth, for 30 minutes, by which time the yeast will be working and the dough will be rising.

Baking the Savarin

Brush the mould with a little melted butter and half fill it with the dough. Leave to rise for another 30 minutes, and while this is happening preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.

Bake the savarin for 20 minutes. It is cooked when a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn out of the mould as soon as possible and leave to cool for a few minutes.

Making the Syrup and Soaking the Cake

While the savarin is baking, bring the water and sugar for the syrup to the boil. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved by stirring. Allow to cool a little then add 6 tbsp of the rum. Place the baked savarin in a deep wide plate, and pour the warm syrup over it. Spoon any syrup that accumulates around the cake back on top. The soaked cake will swell a lot and absorb most of the syrup.

Carefully lift the rather fragile savarin out of the soaking dish and transfer to your chosen serving plate. Sprinkle the cake with the remaining 6 tbsp of rum.

Serving

Make a Chantilly cream by simply whisking the cream with the sugar. Be very careful not to overwhisk. If you do, it will bear a close resemblance to butter – indeed it is half-way to butter – and it will also be sickeningly rich. A useful tip is to include 1 tbsp iced water as you beat it, which will lighten the end product without detracting from its taste.

Fill the well in the cake with this cream then mound with the fresh raspberries.

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