Fresh Berries in Champagne Sabayon
The name of this dish is too simple for Frank Brigtsen’s lovely dish combining pecan pound cake, sabayon, fresh berries, and creme fraiche. The old-fashioned pound cake could easily be used with other combinations, such as peaches and nectarines.
- Pecan Pound Cake
- Milk - 3 tablespoons
- Egg - 3
- Vanilla Extract - 1-1/2 teaspoons
- Cake Flour - 1-1/2 cups, sifted
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Baking Powder - 3/4 teaspoon
- Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- Lemon Zest - Zest of 1 lemon, minced
- Unsalted Butter - 13 tablespoons, softened
- Roasted pecans - 1 cup, chopped
- Champagne Sabayon
- Egg Yolks - 6
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Champagne - 3/4 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1, split lengthwise
- Strawberries - 2 cups
- Raspberry - 1-1/2 cups
- Creme Fraiche - 1/2 cup
- Mint - Sprigs for garnish
To make the cake: Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan or a loaf pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and press into place; lightly butter the parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract together until blended and frothy. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and one half of the milk-egg mixture; mix on low speed until moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat 1 minute. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides. On medium speed, add the remaining milk-egg mixture in two additions, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often. Fold in the pecans with a spatula and pour into the prepared pan. Bake 1 hour, laying a piece of foil over the top of the cake half way through the baking. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, remove from oven and cool 10 minutes; turn out of the pan onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the champagne sabayon: In the top of a double boiler off the heat, whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture has thickened and is a light lemon yellow color. Add the champagne. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds from the pods and add the seeds and vanilla bean pods to the mixture. Whisk to blend, then place the pan in position over the bottom of the double boiler in which water is simmering; do not let the water touch the bottom of the pan. Whisking the sabayon mixture constantly, cook until thickened and frothy, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the vanilla bean; continue whisking for another 2 minutes, or until the mixture has cooled.
To serve: Slice the strawberries in thin vertical slices all the way through, keeping the slices together. Slice the cake. Fill dessert plates with champagne sabayon. Keeping the slices together, lift a strawberry and place it on a plate near the edge of the sabayon; slip the slices past one another to form an overlapping line of slices extending toward the edge of the plate. Repeat with the other strawberry slices, forming a radial design on each plate. Leave a gap at one side for the cake. Place clusters of raspberries between the strawberry lines on each plate. Place a wedge of cake in the gap left in each berry design. Put the creme fraiche in a squeeze bottle and drizzle creme fraiche over the berries and the cake.