i

Piece of cake: a cross-section of the Kochi, Queen West pâtisserie Nadège’s newest creation

Piece of cake: a cross-section of the Kochi, Queen West pâtisserie Nadège’s newest creation

Click to see a larger version. (Image: Vicky Lam) Click to see a larger version. (Image: Vicky Lam)
 

The newest mini-gâteau from Nadège’s spring collection, the Kochi, is named after the Japanese city and prefecture—a nod to the cake’s yuzu flavour. The diminutive dessert, measuring in at only one-and-a-half inches wide by two-inches high, packs a lot into two perfect bites. We had Nadège Nourian, proprietress of the eponymous Queen West pâtisserie, deconstruct it for us.

1
Cubes of this citrusy yuzu jelly appear more than once in this mini mouthful: first, floating inside a layer of raspberry mousse and second, as one of the finishing touches. There’s even a yuzu surprise hidden within the raspberry that tops the teeny cake.
2
Smooth and fruity raspberry mousse holds cubes of yuzu and raspberry vinegar jellies as delicious, suspended hostages.
3
The buttery shortbread base is made with an intense, natural yuzu paste to help flavour the biscuit. Clearly, the citrusy fruit is this star of this dessert. “I love the flavour of yuzu, which is native to East Asia, and wanted the cake to take on an Asian influence,” says Nourian.
4
The biscuit soufflé is the most challenging component. Choux pastry must be expertly folded with whipped egg whites, otherwise the biscuit will be flat instead of fluffy. It all ends up soaked with raspberry juice.
5
“Berries for the summer are a classic addition,” Nourian says. For this tart layer, fresh raspberries are marinated in yuzu zest and raspberry vinegar for 24 hours.
6
“For a long time I’ve wanted to work with tarragon in a cake as it’s a common addition in French cuisine and the changing seasons gave me the perfect chance to do this,” says Nourian. The tarragon whipped ganache must have the perfect consistency: under-whip, and the cake will not hold; over-whip, and it’ll be grainy. It also needs to be blended just right so the herb’s anise flavour doesn’t become overpowering.
7
Jello-like cubes of raspberry vinegar coulis (a.k.a. fruit sauce) are made with Ontario raspberry vinegar, fresh raspberries and agar agar (an algae-based vegetarian substitute for gelatin) for thickening.
8
For the white chocolate velvet pistolet, Nourian sprays the cake with a fine mist of melted chocolate and cocoa butter to achieve a velvet effect.