かかわり(kakawari): a petit gateau

I have been re-watching a ton of the Madoka Magica franchise, including the new Magia Record series(oh god, I’m such a weeb), and a part of that includes listening to the tracks in the show/game, including ones sung by a girls group called TrySail. One of their songs, which is one of the theme songs for Magia Record, is “kakawari”. Kakawari is Japanese for “connection” or “involvement”, being a direct reference to “Connect”, the theme song for the Madoka Magica anime. For “kakawari”, the song talks about being brave and walking forward with a special person. Finding that one who you can connect with. It is a really upbeat and happy sounding sound, typical of a shoujo anime, but perfect for the Valentine’s Day theme that I’m trying to run with as an excuse for making a lot of girly and pink desserts.

Since I wanted to make a dessert inspired by a combination of magical girls and Valentines, I decided to go with the most adorable dessert I could think of: a strawberries and cream macaron sandwich-thing. Let me elaborate, because that was weird to even type out. The dessert, or petit gateau since it will be a mini, individually served item, is a larger macaron sandwiching an elderflower bavarois and fresh slices of strawberries. In essence, I’m combining two French classics, being the macaron and fraisier cake. To tie it back with the name, both macaron and fraisier cake have a huge involvement in French pastry, and are both two commonly seen desserts in shoujo anime anyways, so it just made sense to bring the two together into a dessert.

For the macaron:
4 egg whites
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups almond flour
a pinch of salt

Whip egg whites with granulated sugar and salt until they reach stiff peaks. Sift the powdered sugar with almond flour. Fold the two together until incorporated and the macaronage has formed – you can tell when that is when you use some of the batter to draw a figure “8” in the bowl and it takes about 30 seconds for that figure to sink back into the batter. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe about 2 1/2 inch circles onto a parchment-lined sheet tray. Tap down and allow the shells to sit for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Bake at 300 degrees F for 22 minutes, rotating halfway through to guarantee even baking. Cool completely before removing.

For the bavarois:
2 tablespoons elderflower liquor
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon gelatin powder + 1 tablespoon water
2 egg yolks
2/3 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 cup thinly sliced strawberries, all about the same size
1/4 cup simple syrup

Line several 3-inch ring molds with acetate. Melt bloomed gelatin into the liquor and add in water. Temper with your egg yolks, salt, and sugar, whisking on medium heat for 2-3 minutes before passing through a strainer. Allow to cool down and fold in the heavy cream. Toss your berries in the simple syrup and line the edges of the ring mold with those slices. Pour in your Bavarian mixture, making sure to just submerge the berries, and freeze for at least 3 hours to guarantee it is frozen solid. Unmold and place between two shells.

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