Until this month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge, I’d never heard of Savarin. Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenged us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes! As I read on I was so intrigued and couldn’t wait to get started on this challenging project.
I struggled with what to call this savarin. Is it bread because it has yeast? There’s a preferment and it proofs twice. Is it a cake because it’s somewhat sweet thanks to a lovely simple syrup, cream and fresh fruit? It’s hard to say which is correct. As I told people about this creation I found myself referring to this lovely yeasty creation interchangeably as both bread and cake.
When I began trying to come up with my variation for my Savarin my thoughts turned to strawberries. Mostly because I had a bunch of them waiting for a greater purpose in life. But this strawberry bread is also baked to the theme of April’s Twelve Loaves. I have missed several months of Twelve Loaves. I’ve been so busy that I sadly haven’t had the opportunity to bake along with the group recently. If it weren’t for Food Fanatic, I might not have baked bread at all. This month for Twelve Loaves, the theme was Berries and strawberries happen to be my favorite berry so they were the natural choice.
After baking this lovely bread with hints of citrus thanks to a both orange and lemon zest, the entire bread is soaked in a strawberry syrup. I feared all that syrup would make for a mushy bread but not at all! The bread is wonderfully moist and the flavor develops and deepens even more when let to sit overnight. The next morning I filled the hole with vanilla pastry cream and fresh strawberries. The final product is a sweet bread that would be perfect for a summer dessert or served as a treat at brunch.
One Year Ago: Nazook
A yeasted cake with citrus notes filled with vanilla pastry cream and fresh strawberries.
- 2½ cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons water, lukewarm
- 6 large eggs at room temperature, separated
- 1½ teaspoons instant yeast
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup butter at room temperature
- 1/2 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter for greasing the work surface, hands, dough scraper & baking pan
- 3/4 cups sliced strawberries
- 1 cup water, divided
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, 3 tablespoons flour, and the yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture sit at room temperature 60 minutes.
- After 30 minutes put the egg whites in the mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, add flour until a soft dough forms that sticks to the bowl (about 2 cups.) Continue mixing until the dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at warm room temperature 30 minutes.
- Add the sponge to the mixer bowl along with a tablespoon of flour and both zests. Start mixing at low speed. When the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add one yolk. As soon as the yolk is absorbed, add one tablespoon of flour.
- Add the second yolk, the sugar and as soon as the yolk has been absorbed add one tablespoon of flour and increase the speed a bit.
- Add the third yolk and the salt. As soon as the yolk is absorbed add one tablespoon of flour. Continue adding one yolk at a time and the flour one tablespoon at a time, saving a tablespoon of flour for later. Mix the dough until is elastic and makes threads.
- Add the butter and continue mixing. Once the butter has been incorporated, add the final tablespoon of flour.
- Continue mixing the dough until it becomes rather smooth and can pass the window pane test.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in warm room temperature until tripled in volume, about 2-3 hours.
- Spray a bundt pan with nonstick baking spray or grease well with butter and set aside. Butter a work surface, your hands and a bench scraper, if desired. Place dough on prepared work surface. Taking an edge of the dough, fold it into the center. Continue to do this in a circle 5 times, working around the dough. Repeat these 5 folds twice more then cover with plastic and let dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Flip the dough to the other side, and with your hands and the aide of your buttered bench scraper form a ball with the dough. Using your thumb, make a small hole in the center of the dough and fit the dough into the prepared bundt pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm room temperature for about 1 hour until the dough reaches the top of the pan.
- Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Bake savarin in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
- In a blender, puree strawberries with 1/2 cup water.
- In a small pot, stir together the strawberry puree, remaining 1/2 cup water, and sugar. Bring to boil and stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Strain strawberry syrup through a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
- Combine the cornstarch, sugar, salt and egg in a small bowl, whisking until well combined. Set aside.
- Bring the milk just to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. After the milk is hot, remove from heat and very slowly pour 1/3 of the milk into the egg mixture whisking constantly, so as to not cook the eggs.
- Slowly pour tempered egg mixture back into the milk, whisking constantly. Return the saucepan to medium heat until pastry cream thickens, stirring constantly.
- Add the vanilla. Press through a fine mesh sieve. Put pastry cream in a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, laying the plastic directly on the cream to make sure a skin doesn’t form as it cools. Chill until ready to use.
- Once the savarin is done baking, remove from oven and cool completely. Remove the cake from the pan and place in a large bowl. Pour strawberry syrup over cake and place a heavy spoon on cake to keep it submerged. Soak until syrup is well absorbed, about 1 hour then remove cake from bowl and set on a rack over a pan to catch excess syrup that will drip. Set cake aside in a covered container overnight.
- Once ready to serve, fill to hole of the cake with pastry cream and top with fresh strawberry slices.