The New Bakers Dozen
Japonaise or nut meringue layers.

The The Bakers Dozen: Japonaise or nut meringue layers.
By d. on Friday, April 28, 2000 - 11:10 pm: Edit

I make a mocha Marjolaine torte at work full sheet size. 3 layers of hazelnut meringue with coffee buttercream and ganache. Like an Opera without the sponge cake and syrup. I keep this in the freezer and when I need some(cut in small suares 1.5"x 1.5")I just pull out and cut. Have been experiencing a problem where one of the layers separates from the ganache. Has this happened to anyone? I'm thinking that maybe my ganache is too firm or I'm not baking the sheets properly. Some books say you have to bake the japonaise sheets just until set and others say to bake until dry and crisp. I usually bake them until they are dry but not too much because they get too brittle when I set up the cake. Any suggestions?

By momoreg on Saturday, April 29, 2000 - 07:48 am: Edit

That can happen if your ganache is too firm. If you soften it a little bit before you spread it, your layers will adhere better.

By Panini (Panini) on Saturday, April 29, 2000 - 05:07 pm: Edit

are you cooling your ganache and rewhipping it?

By d. on Sunday, April 30, 2000 - 01:44 pm: Edit

no, just using straight cooled down ganache on a 1:1 chocolate/cream ratio. The problem is that the japonaise layers have a very thin skin which separates from the filling when cut in smaller portions.

By Panini (Panini) on Sunday, April 30, 2000 - 02:24 pm: Edit

1:1 choco/cream ratio. you mean 1# choco to 1 # of cream?
You might want to try to flip you sheet upside down to cool it. This might help to cut down on the hard skin.

By Gerard (Gerard) on Sunday, April 30, 2000 - 02:46 pm: Edit

We get the same flimsy crust on japonaise, noticed it on the last catering yob, I sifted a bit of XXXX sugar and added large choc flakes instead of trying to ice it smooth, much quicker.
I bake them dry, 325? I think it was.
I freeze them with choc mousse inside, works out good. Even though baked til dry they soften up due to the moisture in the mousse, cut very easily when semi frozen.

Cheers, Gerard

By Panini (Panini) on Sunday, April 30, 2000 - 03:47 pm: Edit

I'm not sure what you guys are talking about, flimsy crust. I bake rounds for my black forest and my ganache cake. Does this only happen when baking sheets? Do you bake these in a convection oven? I bake mine dry in a deck oven.
Are you all mixing raw sugar or do you blood temp the sugar and egg white? I do know that if you cook them to high they will crust a little.

By tj on Sunday, April 30, 2000 - 07:14 pm: Edit

are you using any milk for your japonaise?
if you under bake the meringue a skin can form on top of is mostly due to moisture in the oven.if you have a vent, open can olso happen if you store the sheets in a humid walk in cooler.a skin can form. one of my favorite recipes involves milk
i will post it for`s a very tender verssion of this meringue that i like to use for marjolaine.
if you still get the skin problem , just score the surface of the meringue sheet with a small knife, in a close criss-cross pattern without to much pressure.just score the upper skin.this will help to get rid of seperating layer problems.

By tj on Sunday, April 30, 2000 - 07:31 pm: Edit

for delicate hazelnut meringue:
1500 gr egg whites+900 gr sugar (for whip)
600 gr sugar
150 gr corn starch
1500 gr TPT hazelnut (skin on)
300 gr milk
mix sugar+TPT+starch+milk very well.whip whites stiff.fold in 3 parts.bake 375f. for 20 min.

By Gerard (Gerard) on Monday, May 01, 2000 - 07:27 am: Edit


isn't the recipe with milk russian ?
japonaise russe?

I think the crust is from the convection oven, I don't lose sleep over it.

Has anyone got a digital camera?
I'll post another subject on this.

By tj on Monday, May 01, 2000 - 06:54 pm: Edit

i dont know if the russians make cakes like that, there could be a historical referance to it in russian cooking in the times of the zars. but i know there are several names for this depends on a region or country, but it is generaly known as a japonaise or somtimes succes.

By d. on Monday, May 01, 2000 - 08:32 pm: Edit

I don't get a crust when I bake them in rounds, only in sheets. I do bake it in the convection oven. Thanks tj. Will try your recipe some time. Doesn't adding milk add moisture to the meringue?
With my recipe I whip the whites with 2/3 of sugar, fold in the rest of sugar with ground hazelnuts/almonds and cornstarch.

By tj on Tuesday, May 02, 2000 - 03:08 pm: Edit

yes, the milk makes it like a cross between a meringue and a macaron .it has a softer delicate texture and (i think) a better mouth feel then the regular type without the milk.
about the russe name, i spoke today to and old friend and retired baker of 40 years, he knows alot about history of european baking, and his opinion is that my type of meringue with the milk is actualy a "Dijon" style of nut meringue .it is also a "progress" type, because of the hazelnuts in it.the "russe" type acording to him, was a version on the dijon style meringue adopted by one of the old russian chefs for Zar, and has a portion of the egg whites added raw to the batter ,kind of like in a macaron recipe. this is interesting, i will try that.should make a very interesting batter...

By d. on Thursday, May 04, 2000 - 07:53 pm: Edit

I made more japonaise today, but baked in the conventional oven. It came out much better. Set up my marjolaine and will cut tom. When peeling away the paper from the upside-down sheet, is it supposed to be somewhat sticking to the sheet or is it supposed to peel away completely trouble free? I baked them at 325 for about 20 minutes. They were firm to the touch but not dried out. Gerard, I do the layers with a Kahlua choc. mousse and it's divine, also have no problem cutting it.

By Gerard (Gerard) on Friday, May 05, 2000 - 03:39 am: Edit

Thats what I thought, its the oven causing the crust. Nut meringue with mousse is a really good combo.!

By W.DeBord on Friday, May 05, 2000 - 06:38 am: Edit

d. any chance you've tried the mousse recipe published in kahlua ads? I do my own, but I've been tempted to try theirs.

By tj on Friday, May 05, 2000 - 02:30 pm: Edit

325f. sounds too cold to me. i would bake it in a deck oven or a regular oven at at least 375f. for 20 would still be soft but not sticky.

By Panini (Panini) on Friday, May 05, 2000 - 06:56 pm: Edit

d. tj temps are right, I bake them at 350-375 vented for the last 5 min. in a deck oven. they should seperate completly. Be careful with the underbaked one, they might melt a little in the freezer.
What does everybody use as method to mix this?

By W.DeBord on Saturday, May 06, 2000 - 08:33 am: Edit

I'm learning as I read this post. I don't use the freezer much, just holding simple stuff and a few finished products.

I've made japonaise (never had a skin/baked round)and layered with buttercreams, spongecakes and ganache etc...but used it right away. Never thought I could hold it in the freezer!

I guess I thought that when it would defrost the moisture/condensation would break down the japonaise. NO???

I can't hold them for more than a day assembled in my cooler. Can you hold them longer in your coolers and not have melt down????

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Saturday, May 06, 2000 - 10:21 am: Edit

I make sheets of daquoise for assembling sheet pans of marjolaines that then go in the freezer for weeks. I take them out and cut them into strips or bars for banquet service or a pastry tray and decorate as needed. No problems at all with the daquoise breaking down in the freezer. Never tried to hold them in the cooler for more than six hours. They are baked double panned on an inverted sheet pan in a 300degF deck oven set to 1-1-1 with the door open.

Cheers, Mike

By d. on Saturday, May 06, 2000 - 04:28 pm: Edit

Mikeh, That's how I do it too. Just cut strips when I need them. I cut the sheets today and had absolutely no problem with the layers separating. So from now on I'm baking them in my deck ovens. So Panini, the paper should peel away freely once the sheets are done, right? I did bake them at 350(and 325 in convection ovens). Thanks everyone for the advice. W., I haven't seen recipes in Kahlua ads, but go for it if it interests you.

By d. on Saturday, May 06, 2000 - 04:31 pm: Edit

Another thing I"m finding out is that I can't freeze the whole sheet of marjolaine iced. The surface of the ganache develops very unsightly cracks. So when I finish a whole sheet I cut it in strips and freze. Mikeh, does this happen to yours?

By Panini (Panini) on Saturday, May 06, 2000 - 04:41 pm: Edit

are you still having the paper problem?They don't lift off but they shouldn't be stuck.

By tj on Sunday, May 07, 2000 - 05:33 pm: Edit

the ganache have cracks couse it dries out in the freezer.add 15% glucose to your ganache will improve the texture greatly ,and it would not crack and stay soft longer.
there is hardly anything that can not be frozen succesfuly, i freeze japonaise layers wrapped with plastic film.i also keep them sometimes in sealed boxes at room temp.just like regular meringue.they can keep for many days like that, but they will become alittle harder.(nothing that a few hours in a walk-in can`t fix).

By W.DeBord on Sunday, May 07, 2000 - 08:01 pm: Edit

tj you freeze your japonaise in a full assemble torte? If I were to do this would you tell me to slice it before it's frozen or after for best slicing presentation?

There is no break down of quality once it goes thru defrosting really? This is so weird to me, I can just store them in the freezer?

Panini what exactly did you mean by "what method to mix" are you doing something different/unusual?

By tj on Monday, May 08, 2000 - 01:13 pm: Edit

i dont exactly understand what you mean by break down? you mean melt? or break like cream ?
you can freeze them as layers in cakes or as unassembled layers indefenetly.i take a large plastic box, the size of a sheet pan and 10" high made by rubbermaid, and put the "soft" meringue layers in it and close it with the tight cover it can freeze it like that for 100 years if you want.

By tj on Monday, May 08, 2000 - 01:16 pm: Edit

i ALWAYS slice my mousse cakes or layer cakes frozen.always. i use a propane hand torch to worm my knife, and cut all cakes with great precision and clean cuts.

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, May 09, 2000 - 08:22 am: Edit

The moisture softens it, kind of melting it. Once it becomes soft it's impossible to get a nice cut (it sticks to the knive). You don't really give it much of a defrost do you? I'd probably give it 2 1/2 hr.s at the MOST then serve(on a buffet), correct? I haven't found really good containers, I posted a help on this issue before. Who did you buy your rubbermade containers from?

I do try to cut items in a semi frozen state, it is much easier, but often that isn't possible.

This is a good subject for me because not having trained under someone I haven't learned how to fully use the freezer.

I freeze almost all items containing gelatin for better slicing. But I have one item very similar to a triple layer bavarian that if frozen it totally changes the texture. So unless the recipe says (or I know from experience) it can be frozen, I tend to shy away from freezing. I've never seen any information/guide lines written on this subject. Do you know of any source?

By tj on Tuesday, May 09, 2000 - 07:35 pm: Edit

sticking to the knife is , to me , a problem with under baking your meringue layers.this should not happen when frozen , refrigerated or just have too much moisture in the product that should not be there in the first place.
i cut everything frozen then let it reach service temp.
i bought my containers directly from rubbermaid.
it was quite a while ago, i`ll try to find the number for you....

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, May 10, 2000 - 08:25 am: Edit

Moisture is major problem at my work location. I've mentioned this before. For instance I made meringue shells on Monday and they are rock hard dry in the oven (it takes two days to dry completely), but 2 min. out of the oven they will be quite tacky, at 15 min. they be spongy gooey. I 've figured out how to wrap them and store them at room temp. so they last. But when I use them I know I only have minutes to assemble and get them served. We have the air conditioning on to help dry the place out, but it doesn't begin to help.

That's why I'm interested in freezing, maybe that could help me be able to use meringue again. Are there any "additives that might work to hold meringue"?

By tj on Wednesday, May 10, 2000 - 03:18 pm: Edit

the mositure problem you have is quite extreem.
dry meringue and soft meringue are very different.
i never bake "dry", or ,french meringue longer than 90 minutes in a convection oven at 230f.and an open vent. they are hard dry after this .i can not imagin a kitchen where 2 minutes out of the oven the shells get moisted or sticky.if this is what your kitchen is like than this is a big problem for chocolate work or sugar work also.
i dont freeze dry meringues at all.just keep them in my plastic containers .they keep like that for ever.

By d. on Wednesday, May 10, 2000 - 04:19 pm: Edit

W., I've read that silica gel packets can help with keeping sugarwork and meringues dry. I have to find out more info. since we make a lot of florentine baskets and they get soft if exposed to humid conditions.

By W.DeBord on Thursday, May 11, 2000 - 08:05 am: Edit

After 2 years now I forget what it would be like not to seal every raw product in addition to the finished ones. You get so used to doing little tricks (mostly increasing your speed to decrease exposure) with choc. or managing your shedule so sensitive items are done at the last second. Our walk-in coolers (reach-in is better?) are equal to a rain forest enviroment! Major Nightmare! When I place a chocolate wraped cake in cooler at night the next morning it is completely covered in water beads.

d. florentine cookie baskets? I make alot of them! I've tried storing them but nothing has worked...I do them last minute and serve.

I can't use real eggs for my dry meringue shells they will not work out of the oven, period. Meringue mix is the only way they hold (they don't taste so great though). I store them with baking soda and that seems to work well.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Thursday, May 11, 2000 - 08:26 am: Edit

At school we put everything that is sensitive to moisture in a sheet pan with a fiberglass pan extender and a cup of limestone. Another sheetpan on top and cater-wrapped and it helps quite a bit.

By W.DeBord on Thursday, May 11, 2000 - 08:45 am: Edit

Wrapping and unwrapping wastes soooooo much time everyday it's crazy. The perfect solution is tight sealing "tupperware" storage. But as of yet I haven't taken enough time to find them.

By d. on Friday, May 19, 2000 - 09:12 pm: Edit

Tj, thanks for the tip on the ganache using 15% glucose. Pulled some marjolaine out of freezer and cut it, did not have a problem with the ganache. Would corn syrup work as well?

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Saturday, May 20, 2000 - 10:33 am: Edit

Tupperware just came out with a new line of products that have a shutter to let in a variable amount of moisture. They were designed for holding different kinds of produce, but they might work for the bakeshop too.

By tj on Sunday, May 21, 2000 - 10:40 pm: Edit

yes , corn syrop will work as well, though it is a little thinner than my patisfrance glucose, it is esentialy the same can also use honey for some very unique flavored ganache, or invert sugar...

By W.DeBord on Thursday, May 25, 2000 - 08:39 am: Edit

tj I've made your hazelnut meringue twice now. I want to Thank-You, if works quite nicely!

It makes me wonder what your going to do with all your recipes and knowledge you've obtained in your life time. I would buy a book you wrote, hint, hint!!!!!!!!!

Your vast knowledge is a waste to only share with kids who may not even understand the beauty or simplicity of a good recipe. How about sharing your knowledge (all your knowledge not just tidbits in a forum)in a place professionals could access?

By oli on Thursday, May 25, 2000 - 01:47 pm: Edit

Hear,hear, I definetly think it would be a tragic loss for all that knowledge and experience to be gone forever. A book would be great or any method that would be easiest for tj to allow us to continue to produce quality items.(never forgetting the person or persons who helped us)

By W.DeBord on Friday, May 26, 2000 - 08:07 am: Edit

Well tj?????????????????????????? There has to be away to make some money and put all your experience and knowledge to more good use then a small class of kids.?

By tj on Sunday, May 28, 2000 - 08:54 pm: Edit

yes guys, you are right, and thank you.
i have all the money i need to retire, and i always like to share my experience.
this summer i am going back to france and take an early retirement.i am tired of all those bozo`s i teach .they dont want to learn (at least most of them),and the program here sucks any way.(i have to stick to it and teach nonesence alot of times).
so probebly i am going back this august to my old parents house i have in alsace, for some peace and quiet.hopefully i will be able to have an internet service.there is barely a phone line in the , we`ll see....

By tj on Sunday, May 28, 2000 - 09:10 pm: Edit

plus you guys should know that there are alot of great pastry chefs my age in europe that just retire with out having anything left behind for the next generation.i think its alittle unfortunate, but for many , its not possible to put together a book or to publish any substantial information that would help others, so we just retire peacefully and have some fun with the village bakers...
i plan to find some educational program in alsace that i can volunteer to ,as a part time teacher ,or something like that, since i find that the young kids back there (especialy in the country side) realy want to learn and excel in this, i am alway willing to help those who want to learn.not those with rich misguided parents...

By tj on Sunday, May 28, 2000 - 09:15 pm: Edit

hopefully , i will maintain presence in this site cause its a great way to share information for all to benefit and be better at this art.
if i would`nt be able to get internet service to where i`ll live, i`ll do my best to get to the local library or scholl and get online from time to time to see how you are all doing...

By Panini (Panini) on Monday, May 29, 2000 - 05:29 pm: Edit

If you just document all the questions that are asked of you on a small recorder or something, the book is on it's way. Cookbooks filled with recipes are one thing, but I think being able to trouble shoot and create something from a mistake is what makes a chef. I would love to have a question and answer book catagorized to use as a tool.
Waz up with the phone systems in France.Years ago I would bring over answering machines to family.They had rotary phones "so backwards"
but those who had phones were able to bank by phone way before the US.
You might be able to go cellular.

By d. on Monday, May 29, 2000 - 05:55 pm: Edit

Tj, have fun in Alsace and know that we young budding bakers on this site do appreciate your knowledge. Thank You.

By tj on Monday, May 29, 2000 - 08:03 pm: Edit

i think the phone system in this area is so old ,they may not have an internet provider in the area, and i might have to dial long distance in order to get on line.the house i have there is 250 years probably would last another 500 years but the phone line is bad.the last time i checked there was no dial tone service as i say, we`ll see.....
i am talking with a fellow pastry chef and an old friend of mine ,that we might put up a web site with our input on baking.kind of like a problem solving site,categorized by subjects that would cover all that we can possibly think of in baking.
but first i need to see if i can get on line there...

By W.DeBord on Tuesday, May 30, 2000 - 08:11 am: Edit

tj I wish you much happiness in your future adventures back home! I hope you and your friend do figure out away to pass your knowledge on. I understand the States wasen't what you had hoped for in students and customers but there are some of us who do take baking seriously and do appreciate those who have gone before us!

Unlike Panini who does read French and has access to alot of good baking cookbooks, I see the States as being desperately in need of more professional baking books. Chocolatier publishers are now the only people currently marketing books to professional bakers in the States and they are not based in reality. They as well as people like Trotter are publishing books that are for dreamers. We need solid professional ideas and recipes...much like Michel Rouxs' book (which I think is doing well) a middle ground between funk and old world, I hope some of your peers will think about it.

By tj on Tuesday, May 30, 2000 - 07:50 pm: Edit

well as far as books,
i has been mentioned more then once that the professional french pastry series is one of the best ,and i think so as well .it covers alot in a very professional acurate way.also i see quite a few good french books translated to english ,and are available in french/english i would defenetly advice to buy some of those even though they come with a high ticket price.but i always believed that good books are worth at least $50 and up.any thing under that price range is questionable as far as its professional contribution to you.

By d. on Tuesday, June 20, 2000 - 11:07 pm: Edit

still having a problem with the ganache finish on the marjolaine. When I set it up, I only chill the full sheet for a bit(for the top thin layer of buttercream to firm up), then glaze the whole top with ganache(10-15% glucose, like tj suggested). Sift on some cocoa and make a crosshatch pattern onto the ganache(just marking it, not cutting). I cut the portion I need and wrap the rest of the sheet in plastic wrap and then goes in the freezer. After a couple of days the center of the ganache topped sheet is cracked. Usually happens in the center. I never glaze a frozen sheet. Any suggestions?

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Wednesday, June 21, 2000 - 12:19 am: Edit

I've never tried freezing or refrigerating a glazed cake, but here is a glaze that might work:

4 parts dark couverture
2 parts dark coating
1 part vegetable oil

Melt the chocolate together and then stir in the vegetable oil.

It is a nice shiny glaze that I use for pastries because it is slightly softer and easier to cut than pouring ganache.

By tj on Wednesday, June 21, 2000 - 03:28 pm: Edit

i think you would be happiest with my dark chocolate glacage.i posted the recipe at the tip will last a month in the freezer and is very easy to work with.

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