The French equivalent of the Great British Bake Off is called Le Meilleur Patissière. In the first episode of the 2016 series, for the technical recipe the contestants were asked to make ‘La Rosace de la Grande Cocotte’, also known as ‘La Rosace à l’Orange’. It consists of candied oranges, a genoise, and ‘un Crème Diplomat’ which is essentially pastry cream with added whipped cream.
La Rosace à l’orange looked really impressive on the programme, and since we had a family dinner to attend and a few oranges to use up, I thought I would try and make it.
Here is my version (the family loved it!):
For the Genoise sponge cake:
- 75g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 3 eggs
- 90g sugar
- 50g butter melted
Grease a 20 cm cake tin, and preheat the oven to 190°C.
Sift the flour and salt and leave to one side. Beat the sugar into the eggs until white. Place the bowl over a saucepan of water (bain marie), and continue to whisk until the mixture is thick. Pour in the melted butter. Lightly fold in the sifted flour and salt. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 15-20 minutes. Take out the cake tin and leave to cool.
- 4 oranges
- 300g sugar
- 100ml water
Slice the oranges whole, very finely (preferably using a mandolin), ensuring they are the same thickness.
Place the water and sugar into a pan, and place over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved add the orange slices. Bring to the boil, and then simmer on a low heat for about an hour, until the orange rind is edible and not bitter.
- 60g Sugar
- 25g Cornflour
- 60g egg yolk
- 250ml Milk
- 1 gelatine leaf
- 100g cream
Make the Pastry Cream first. Heat the milk until just before boiling. Mix the sugar and cornflour together. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar / cornflour mixture. Pour the warm milk onto the eggs, whisk everything together. Pour the milk / egg mixture back into a saucepan, and stir constantly. Meanwhile soak the gelatine leaf for at least 5 minutes in cold water. Once the custard is thick, remove from the heat and add the gelatine leaf, again stirring all the time. Place the mixture in a bowl, covering with Clingfilm. Ensure the clingfilm touches the mixture. Leave to cool in the fridge completely.
When you are ready to compose the cake, whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. You do not want to overwhip your cream and make it too thick. Mix the whipped cream into the Pastry Cream.
Line the same cake tin you used to bake the genoise with cling film, ensuring it is completely covered, reaching the inner edges of the tin but also hanging over the outside.
Place the best candied orange slice in the middle, and then working from the middle to the outer edges and up the sides of the cake tin, place one layer of candied orange slices. Use the syrup to moisten the genoise (see below), and any remaining oranges, chop until extremely small and mix in with the Crème Diplomat.
Pour half the Crème Diplomat into the tin, covering the orange slices.
Cut a very thin layer of the outer edges of the Genoise – this ensures that it will fit back into the same cake tin you used to bake it, while having a layer of orange on the outside. Cut the Genoise cake in half. On both of the inner sides of the cake, cover with a thin layer of the orange sugar syrup left over from the candied oranges. Place the upper half of the cut genoise on top of the Crème Diplomat.
Pour the remainder of the Crème Diplomat over the top of the Genoise. Then complete the cake, by placing the bottom half of the cake upside down on top of the Crème Diplomat. The bottom of the genoise should be showing on top.
Now cover the cake with the cling film hanging over the edges, so that you help to form the cake and hold everything together. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to form.
When you are ready to serve, unfold the cling film and unmould the cake upside down, so that the bottom of the genoise is on a plate, and you can see the beautiful design you have made with your candied oranges.
Serve and enjoy!