Episode 148 – Julia Child’s Le Pélerin en Timbale or Molded Almond Cream Cake

Julia Child's Le pélerin en timbale (molded almond cream cake) | The Aubergine Chef

Episode 148 HD
August 28, 2014
Julia Child’s Le Pélerin en Timbale or Molded Almond Cream Cake

This month is coming to a close but I’d still like to take the time to honor a legend and an inspiration to cooks and bakers everywhere. A while back I made Julia Child’s Reine de Saba (or Queen of Sheba cake) and this month I’m making her Le Pélerin en Timbale or Molded Almond Cream Cake.

This is a great cake to make to use up leftover cake you may have in your freezer

Whenever I trim a cake I usually save the top part that I trimmed off for snacking or various other projects. What I usually wind up doing with the scraps is making several trifles for New Year’s as a way to clear out the freezer and pantry. It’s a fine way to use up scraps but this method is a lot more fun. Julia’s recipe takes 1/3″ thick layers of vanilla cake and butters and sugars them before toasting them in a 400 degree F oven. Much like ladyfingers on an ice cream cake, you will eventually line a cake pan or charlotte mold with these toasted cake strips. Not only do they taste great but they also have an attractive texture. The cake that I use for this recipe is the vanilla chiffon genoise cake, which I had leftover from testing last month’s raspberry bavarian torte.

Julia Child's Le pélerin en timbale (molded almond cream cake) | The Aubergine Chef

The almond cream is a straight-forward bavarian style gelatin set filling

This cream uses a creme anglais base but what was new to me was that Julia whips her yolks to ribbon stage prior to cooking. I’d like to test this method further and try whipping the anglais after cooking. It felt difficult to determine the thickness of the anglais although in retrospect I could have just as easily taken the temperature of the yolks.

The toasted almonds hidden in the cream add a nice crunch and bursts of flavor

I’d like to try to get the almonds even finer the next time I make this recipe. If you continue grinding just almonds in the food processor you’ll end up with a paste or almond butter. However, if you add powdered sugar the cornstarch and sugar will help absorb some of the oil and allow you to process it as fine as almond flour. I think that finer texture plus a thicker anglais will keep the almonds from sinking to the bottom of the cake. It doesn’t look so bad though – it kind of has an almond ombre thing going on there.

Julia Child's Le pélerin en timbale (molded almond cream cake) | The Aubergine Chef

It’s important to note that depending on which pan you use depends on how you will assemble the cake

I actually forgot about this when I was assembling the cake. Julia’s recipe uses a charlotte mold which you unmold upside-down. I use a cake ring which, after unmolding, stays right side up. This means the layer of cake that you want to be on top – which is uncut – will either go on the bottom of the pan (as in the case of the charlotte mold) or it will be last part put on top (as in the case of the cake ring).

While optional, I highly recommend using Julia’s Apricot Sauce as a garnish

The sauce is called Confit D’Abricots en Sirop in her book and it adds a lot of extra flavor and color to the cake. The bits of fruit also look very attractive resting on top of the cake. It’s a very easy sauce to make as it uses the heavy syrup found in a can of apricots as a starting point – which is already thick and sauce-like. Julia also recommends serving it with some whipped cream flavored with a bit of kirsch.

Here are the recipes for Julia Child’s Le Pélerin en Timbale or Molded Almond Cream Cake

Just click each individual name to download the PDF for the recipes. The first is the Vanilla Chiffon Genoise cake recipe scaled down to make an 8” x 3” cake. Here is the recipe for the Le Pélerin en Timbale which includes the recipe for the cream as well as assembly directions. Finally, the recipe for Confit D’Abricots en Sirop to put on top or serve with individual slices.

The video on this recipe is below! Thank you for watching!

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Posted in Cake, French Desserts, Sauce

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