Fanny demonstrates yet another sponge technique with the Genoese Sponge, or Pâté à Génoise as she calls it. Eggs, icing sugar and the ground vanilla powder are placed in a heat resistant bowl, placed over boiling water and whisked until they are light, thick, pale and foamy. Fanny recommends placing the boiling water in a larger bowl than the egg mixture, but I used a large saucepan, not because of my rebellious nature, just seemed to make sense. I used an electric whisk to 'whip' them, Fanny doesn't specify but it would seem like a lot of whisking by hand otherwise. Maybe I'm just lazy.
Once it's ready, remove it from the heat and keep whipping until the mixture is at just below blood heat. Another of Fannys less than helpful instructions really, but I kept going for a minute or so, and tested it by jabbing my finger into the mix, which was cooler than before but still a little warm. I guess it depends how warm-blooded you are?
At this crucial stage, the flour needs to be gently sifted on top and folded in. I found it didn't blend in all that easily, but a few twists and turns later it seemed ok. I was worried about knocking out all the air by being too vigorous. When it's smooth, the melted and cooled butter is drizzled around the edges and folded through.
After 20 minutes baking in a well prepared tin, it looks golden brown and meets Fannys press test - it springs back if you push your knuckles down on it. Perfect. Fanny decorated hers with chocolate glaze, but I only had white chocolate to hand, thankfully it was the posh kind with flecks of real vanilla through it. Fanny would be pleased. True flavours. To add to the summertime perfection I added some strawberries to get game, set and match for Wimbledon. It'll never last that long mind you. It's a lovely quick sponge, firm but springy. The flavours are truly vanilla, and the vanilla flavours are true. In essence, a perfect sponge.