Pistachio & lemon Fraisier cake

This Fraisier is a slight variation on the classic recipe, using a pistachio joconde sponge, sprinkled liberally with Amaretto, and a thin layer of pistachio ganache. A fragrant crème mousseline, subtly flavoured with lemon, envelops the strawberries, and the cake is topped with a thin layer of a tangy strawberry jelly glaze.

The pistachio ganache and the strawberry jelly are just my take on the Fraisier: I adore fresh fruit jellies as an easy dessert in their own right, but a thin layer of jelly gives such a nice finish to dessert-types cakes.

Pistachio & lemon Fraisier
Pistachio & lemon Fraisier

About the crème mousseline:

This is a standard crème mousseline recipe that I have flavoured with lemon: the lemon works so well with the strawberries. I also beat in cooled melted white chocolate which adds a touch more luxury, as well as ensuring the crème mousseline sets firmly!

Essentially crème mousseline is a crème pâtissière that gets whipped until it cools and then has soft butter whisked in. The result is a very light buttercream that tastes so luxurious as it melts in the mouth. Although soft to work with once it is made, it pipes well and will firm up in the fridge.

A food mixer with a whisk attachment makes this very simple; you just set off the mixer and leave it to do its thing!

Lemon crème mousseline
A very light lemon crème mousseline

About the pistachio ganache:

Even though I adore marzipan, I prefer to use ganache in a Fraisier.

I like a fairly coarse ganache here, with texture coming from some of the pisatchios that have not fully ground, but this is just personal choice!

The pistachio flavour, enhanced by a little almond extract, comes through and adds a sweet, sticky nutty layer.

Pistachio ganache
Pistachio ganache

Alternatively, you can make an easy pistachio marzipan: mix 100g ground pistachios with 100g icing sugar and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Add enough water, a little at a time, to form a fairly firm but not too sticky paste. Wrap in clingfilm and chill until needed.

Getting ahead:

There are quite a lot of stages but many of the component parts of the Fraisier can be made well in advance so that it becomes more about the assembly, which actually doesn’t take that long.

  • The sponge can be made well in advance and frozen
  • The crème mousseline can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept covered in the fridge, removing it an hour or so before you want it in order to soften up enough
  • The ganache can be made a few days ahead and kept covered in the fridge
  • The jelly (which is optional) could also be made a couple of days in advance and just heated gently until it becomes liquid: just let it cool before pouring it over the Fraisier

Two perfect short-cuts

(1) Instead of making the custard/crème mousseline, buy a pot of good quality custard from the chiller cabinet of the supermarket. Whip this with half its weight in soft unsalted butter and about a quarter its weight in cooled melted white chocolate.

(2) In place of the pistachio ganache, just use ready-made marzipan and roll it out to the diameter of the sponges.

The assembly of the Fraisier:

With the component parts made ahead (the sponge, crème mousseline and ganache), the main assembly can be done in about 20 minutes.

An adjustable cake ring is great to use here to layer up the Fraisier and keep it all in place, but layering it up in a 9″ springform cake tin works well.

Adjustable cake ring
Adjustable cake ring



Keep the Fraisier chilled and either serve straight from the fridge or remove it about an hour before serving to let the crème mousseline soften a little.

Recipe submitted to CookBlogShare

Recipe: Pistachio & lemon Fraisier cake – makes one 9″ cake

Joconde sponge:

  • 3 large egg whites (the yolks will be used in the crème mousseline)
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 100g ground pistachios or almonds
  • grated zest of two lemons (the juice will be used in the filling and the jelly)
  • 90g icing sugar
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 30g plain four, sifted
  • 30g unsalted butter, melted

Pistachio ganache:

  • 75g ground pistachios
  • 50ml double cream
  • 50g white chocolate, in small pieces or grated
  • 10g icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Amaretto

Lemon crème mousseline

  • 600g milk
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 60g cornflour
  • 250g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • juice of 2 large lemons (or 3-4 teaspoons freeze-dried lemon powder)
  • 200g white chocolate, melted & cooled

Strawberry jelly (optional)

  • about 200g fresh strawberries, puréed (and ideally strained)
  • juice of half a large lemon
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1½ sheets leaf gelatine, soaked in cold water for about 5 minutes and squeezed of excess water

To finish:

  • a few tablespoons of Amaretto, Kirsch or liqueur of choice for splashing over the sponges
  • about 400g strawberries, hulled
  • white or dark chocolate decorations, optional
  • a few whole strawberries glazed with the jelly, optional
  • thin slices of lemon peel, simmered in sugared water for about 10 mins, optional

Make the sponge:

(1) Preheat the oven to 180C(fan). Grease and line two 9″ loose-bottomed round tins. Mix the pistachios or almonds, icing sugar, lemon zest and the whole eggs into the bowl of a food mixer. Whisk together on high speed until it becomes very light and moussey: this take about 5 minutes in an electric mixer. Meanwhile make the meringue:

Pistachio & lemon Fraisier cake

(2) Whisk the egg whites in a small bowl with a hand-held electric whisker until stiff peaks form. Add the caster sugar, a little at a time, whisking well between each addition to make a thick, glossy meringue.

(3) Fold the flour into the whisked pistachio mixture and then fold in the meringue, a bit at a time. Pour the melted butter down the side of the bowl and fold in gently, until well incorporated and no streaks of butter are visible.

Meringue folded in to give a light mixture
Meringue folded in gently to give a very light mixture

(4) Divide the mixture into the prepared tins and level the surface. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just coming away from the sides of the tins and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool fully. NB: the sponges can be frozen at this stage.

Make the crème mousseline:

(5) Put the milk and the vanilla pod (or vanilla extract) in a medium pan and bring it up to the boil. Remove it from the heat. You can leave the pod to infuse for longer if you prefer.

(6) Whisk together the eggs yolks, sugar, lemon juice (or lemon powder) and cornflour in a medium bowl until blended. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to combine.

(7) Pour this custard mixture back into a clean saucepan and place it over a medium heat. Remove the vanilla pod, if using, and stir the custard constantly for about 4-5 minutes until the mixture becomes very thick (the custard with start to splutter in a volcanic way!). At this stage, this is a crème pâtissière which is ideal as a filling for choux buns and éclairs, but it needs to be lightened to be the filling for the Fraisier:

lemon crème pâtissière
lemon crème pâtissière

(8) You can leave this custard to cool by itself (covered in clingfilm) or else transfer it to the bowl of a food mixer with the whisk attachment, and whisk on a high speed for about 10-15 minutes until it has cooled. Add the butter and whisk well for a further 5 minutes or so.

(9) Add the chocolate and whisk for another minute or so: taste, and add more lemon juice or lemon powder if needed, but the overall lemon flavour should be subtle. It will have the consistency of lightly whipped cream. Cover with clingfilm and chill for about an hour or until needed – it will firm up more as it chills. NB: it will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days; just bring it to cool room temperature before beating it to loosen it up.

Lemon crème mousseline
Lemon crème mousseline ready to use

Make the pistachio ganache:

(10) Heat the cream, icing sugar and almond extract in a small pan until just below boiling point. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and stir in the ground pistachios and Amaretto. Cover with clingfilm and leave to cool.

Pistachio ganache
Pistachio ganache


(11) Remove the greaseproof from the sponges and splash a few tablespoons of Amaretto over each. Place a strip of acetate inside a deep 9″ round cake tin – or use an adjustable cake ring (as in the pictures below). Place one layer of sponge into the cake tin patting it down right to the base. If using an adjustable cake ring, gently contract it until it is firmly against the cake.

(12) Spread the pistachio ganache thinly over the sponge base, spreading it right up to the acetate.

Bottom sponge layer with pistachio ganache spread over
Bottom sponge layer with pistachio ganache spread over

(13) Reserve a few whole strawberries and a few tablespoons of the crème mousseline for later. Place sliced strawberries around the outside of the base, pushing them firmly against the acetate.

Slices strawberries tightly along outside
Sliced strawberries tightly along outside

(14) Spoon or pipe crème mousseline into the holes above and around the strawberries: this ensures the Fraisier will keep its structure! Spread crème pâtissière over the middle of the cake, covering the ganache.

Spoon or pipe a little crème mousseline to fill in gaps
Spoon or pipe a little crème mousseline to fill in gaps

(15) Scatter halved strawberries on top, and pat them gently into the crème mousseline.

Cover base with crème mousseline and top with strawberries
Cover base with crème mousseline and top with strawberries

(16) Spread or pipe the remaining crème mousseline over the strawberries, filling in all the gaps, especially at the edges.

Fill in the gaps and cover strawberries with crème mousseline
Fill in the gaps and cover strawberries with crème mousseline

(17)  Place the remaining sponge layer on top and pat down firmly.

Lay sponge firmly over the crème mousseline
Lay sponge firmly over the crème mousseline

(18) Spread a thin layer of crème mousseline over the top and refrigerate while you make the jelly. If you are not making a jelly, simply place whole strawberries over the top.

Spread with a thin layer of crème mousseline
A thin layer of crème mousseline spread on top

Make the jelly:

(19) Heat a little of the strawberry purée with the sugar and stir in the gelatine until they dissolve. Pour this mixture into the rest of strawberry purée, along with the lemon juice.

(20) Pour the unset jelly over the top of cake to give a thin layer and chill for a few hours so that the crème mousseline has firmed up and the jelly has set. NB: one you pour the unset jelly over the cake, it is easier to leave it on the work surface until the jelly has started to set before carefully transferring to the fridge. It is crucial to chill enough to let the mousseline firm up.

jelly set on top
Jelly set on top

(21) Remove the cake carefully from the tin or ring and slowly peel away the acetate: the cake will hold its shape!

Turned out & ready to finish
Turned out & ready for finishing touches

(22) Serve as it is or decorate with whatever is at hand eg) glazed strawberries, white chocolate, lemon peel……..


Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

14 thoughts on “Pistachio & lemon Fraisier cake”

  1. I love the look of this and I *know* I would love the taste. Looks stunning and very professional. Thanks for linking with #CookBlogShare


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