Daring Bakers – Savarin

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Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges 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!

There are not very many times when I have to admit that a Daring Bakers attempt (or any baking attempt) was a fail, but this is one of those times. It probably didn’t help that I started the recipe after working a long day when my patience was low and my time was short. I think the fail was 99% my fault and 1% the recipe’s fault, so I’ll take the majority of the blame since many other people were able to use the same recipe and have success.

Let’s just list out the failures so we can get those out of the way.

1. I knew there was trouble right from the start. My sponge did not look like it was supposed to after mixing and waiting for it to rise. It was too dry. It did rise a bit, but not much.

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Right after mixing.

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After one hour of sitting (not much change but a little).

2. When mixing the other part of the dough together I’m pretty sure I mixed it too much because when I was supposed to add in the egg after the dough “rested” it took A LOT of mixing to get it incorporated.

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You can see that the egg at first just wanted to slime the outside of the dough instead of mixing in.

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Ahhh, it eventually worked it’s way in and looks somewhat like it should for the first time of the evening.

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It didn’t really triple in volume in the three hours, but I was happy that it rose at all!

From this point on it seemed like the savarin was going to work. It baked beautifully in the oven, nice and golden brown with puffy tops.

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Fresh out of the oven!

At this point it was late at night (and I mean late at night especially for someone who goes to bed early so they can get up at 5am to go for a run). I decided to call it a night and work on the syrup and glaze and pastry cream another day.

Unfortunately, life got in the way the next day and while I really wanted to get the syrup on the savarin it just wasn’t a possibility. The day after that though I was finally able to finish the savarin. I whipped up a batch of made a lemon simple syrup. I wasn’t sure how much simple syrup to make or what the consistency was supposed to be and mine seemed a bit thick. In fact, it only made enough to pour syrup on two of the four cakes. I sliced off the puffy tops and got to work.

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You can see the syrup just pooled on the top but not really oozing down into the cake.

3. Another feeling of failure as the syrup did not seem to be absorbed into the cake. It just sat on the top and very little went down into the cake. I thought maybe it took a bit of time to make it through to the bottom so I would give it overnight. Meanwhile, I cooked up some lemon pastry cream.

4. Enter failure number four. While frantically whipping the eggs into the custard and making sure they didn’t cook the end of my whisk went flying off and where should it end up? You guessed it. Right in the saucepan of pastry cream. Well, you can imagine I had a bit of a dilemma. Do I continue hastily whipping the custard to make sure the eggs don’t curdle? Do I stop for a a second or two to grab a spoon out of the drawer so I can scoop up the whisk end? Very weighty decisions to make in a short span of time. I opted for stopping whisking to grab a spoon. I scooped out the metal end of the whisk, dropped it on the counter, and resumed my whisking. It seemed as though everything was all right. I transferred the pastry cream to a bowl to cool, put it in the fridge where it would sit until the next day when I put it all together.

Mind you, this is now day 4 that the savarin has been sitting in various stages on my counter and in my fridge. I finally had time after work and bedtime routine to plate the savarin, daub on the pastry cream, and . . . where are the 4 pounds of strawberries I bought for the intention of using them on my final version of my savarin?

5. Failure number five, my two other family members (who shall remain nameless) managed to consume the last of those 4 pounds of strawberries that afternoon. Hang head in utter defeat. Grab a few frozen raspberries out of the freezer. Wash off the ice crystals. Place them in the center of the dessert. Snap a few obligatory pictures. Challenge done. The only thing left to do was to get out a fork and try a tiny bit before bedtime.

Unfortunately, all of the above mentioned factors came together to create an inedible product. By this time the cake was hard and dry, the pastry cream had a metal taste (either that or the lemon made it bitter, but both my husband and I thought it tasted like metal). One sliver of a bite. A yuck, no way. All for naught as it went in the garbage.

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Again, nothing to do with the recipe or the creator of the challenge. Well, maybe 1% of the blame could go on the recipe. There were a few things that I had a hard time understanding. I am such a recipe follower that it was hard for me to not have specific times to mix and such. The wording was more like “when it reaches this look or this point”. I really like to know about how long I’m waiting for this to happen since some of the process is unfamiliar. You can go to Daring Bakers to see the others that had success with this challenge!

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4 thoughts on “Daring Bakers – Savarin

  1. Oh, man, that is such a shame. My sponge was rather like yours but I wound up working with it and it turned out okay, so I am thinking that if you are ever in a REALLY daring mood and have lots of spare time, feel free to give it another try. But you get full marks in my book for sticking with it after each difficult turn.

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