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The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

The term ‘tian’ means layered, and the challenge recipe consisted of a layered orange dessert, comprising a pastry base (Pâte sablée), topped with a combination of cream and gelatine, with marmalade and orange segments on the top.

Saskia and I decided to make a berry tian as berries are still in season here in Australia, while oranges are not. We also decided to tweak the recipe and make a berry mousse instead of the cream layer, as neither of us were keen on a layer that was essentially plain cream.

The tian turned out very well, with the berry mousse having a lovely light, aerated texture, gorgeous colour and a good berry hit. We also included a strawberry jam layer and fresh berries on top to continue the theme. This was a delicious dish that will definitely be made again! Thanks to Jennifer for a great challenge!

Berry tian

You can choose to make individual serves or a single, large version of the dessert.

First step is to make the pastry base – Pâte sablée.

Pâte sablée base

2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
80g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g unsalted butter ice cold, cubed
2g salt
200g flour (I substituted with spelt and used 240g)
1tsp baking powder

160g berry jam (we used strawberry, since I had a lot of excess from my jam taste test)


In a bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale.

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough (I used about 2 tbs extra water, bit by bit). Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350F/180C.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until it is .5mm (¼ inch) thick. As spelt dough is so sticky to work with, we rolled the dough out between two pieces of baking paper

Using a cookie cutter, or tracing around a cake tin, cut out circles of dough and place on a baking paper lined baking tray. If you are working with spelt, simply discard the top layer of paper, and transfer the dough on the sheet, on to the baking tray.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden. Note – it is crucial to keep an eye on the pastry, mine only took about 10 minutes.

Allow the pastry to cool, then spread with strawberry jam.

For the raspberry mousse

This is based on a recipe from The Cooks Book, by Jill Norman

Crème chantilly

250ml double cream
15g caster sugar

Raspberry puree

300g raspberries (frozen would be fine here, although use fresh on top)
½ tsp lemon juice
5 gelatin leaves, about 12g (note, if substituting powdered gelatin for a leaf, ½ tsp of powder is equivalent to a leaf.)


60g caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 egg whites

To serve

400g mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
mint leaves

For Crème chantilly:

  • The cream should be really cold. Pour into a shallow bowl standing in another bowl filled with ice cubes.
  • Whisk cream with a balloon or electric mixer on a medium setting.
  • Slowly add the sugar, whipping as you go.
  • Stop whipping when the cream is nearly firm but still fluffy. Chill until ready to use.

For raspberry puree:

  • Purée the raspberries and lemon juice and sieve into a bowl.

  • Soften the gelatin in cold water for at least 10 minutes. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Then place in a pan with a quarter of the raspberry purée. Heat gently.
  • Whisk to dissolve the gelatin, then pour onto the remaining puree.

For the meringue:

  • Dissolve the sugar in the water over a low heat. Bring to the boil; cook until the ‘soft ball stage’  (116°C-125°C)

  • Whisk egg whites to form soft peaks (start when sugar at 115°C)
  • Pour in the boiling sugar syrup in a thin stream, whisking all the time. Continue whisking until the meringue is cold. (Italian meringue.)

To assemble

  • Fold the puree into the meringue.
  • Fold in the crème Chantilly.
  • Spread mousse over the base. Use a ladle and a spatula.

  • Chill in the fridge for 6-8 hours or freezer for 1-2 hours.
  • Remove ring just before serving.
  • Arrange mixed berries on top and serve with mint leaves.
  • Enjoy!

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11 Responses to “The Daring Kitchen – Baker’s March Challenge: Berry tian”

  1. Shelley says:

    Beautifully done. I really enjoy your photographs of the entire process, too. The raspberry mousse looks so light and delicious, and your finished berry tian is beyond beautiful. Fantastic job on the challenge!

  2. I didn’t like the sound of a whipped cream filling so I changed it up too. I LOVE the sound of your berry mousse. Umm….

  3. Ooh, look at all those fresh berries! Good decision on the mousse filling. A layer of cream sounds bleugh to me too 🙂

  4. chef_d says:

    Yummy!! The berries look so good and the berry mousse in the middle is gorgeous!

  5. marcellina says:

    Your berry mousse looks devine. Great take on the recipe.

  6. Aparna says:

    Looks lovely. The last of the strawberries are still around here while oranges are gone.

  7. ap269 says:

    I did make the orange tian for the challenge but thought that making all these orange segments was way too elaborate. But a mixed berry tian sounds great! Good job on the challenge!

  8. Suz says:

    Ooh, I had a peek at your tian last night. I was too sleepy to comment then, but I was so hungry going to sleep. I kept thinking about that berry mousse!

    What a wonderful interpretation of the challenge. It looks beautiful! I love the arrangement of fruit on the top.

  9. Ruth H. says:

    Your tian looks a)beautiful and b)delicious! I am totally going to have to try this if/when I make tian again. I love raspberries, and that raspberry mouse might need to be made, tian or not! Thank you!!!

  10. Gorgeous! I can feel so Tian today! I love looking at all of them. And so yummy and sweet!

  11. Great job!! I love the berry tian. Just stunning!

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