An entremets primer: Japanese cult pastry chef Hidemi Sugino’s Fruits Rouges

Hidemi Sugnio Fruits Rouge mousse cake

Hidemi Sugino Fruits Rouge mousse cake

I first discovered Japanese mousse cake savant, Hidemi Sugino (along with many of his other fans within the blogosphere, it seems) through Keiko’s gorgeous blog. I found myself repeatedly returning to her beautifully precise renditions of his recipes in Le goût authentique retrouvé. And when I finally had the opportunity to taste the master’s work in Tokyo, I was enthralled by the lightness of his creations, as well as the subtle and sophisticated layering of complementary and contrasting flavours. They were simply the best mousse cakes I’d ever tasted (here’s Nick’s superb dissection of some of Sugino’s entremets). I promptly bought a copy of Le goût authentique retrouvé on that fateful first visit in 2007—disregarding the fact that the recipes were all in Japanese. I somehow figured that I would be able to decipher them based upon the ingredients listed in French despite the fact that I don’t speak French either!

Five years (and many more mousse cake pilgrimages) down the road, I was still no closer to comprehending the secrets of his book until I stumbled upon Evangeline of Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings’ exquisite Sugino interpretations, some of which are generously accompanied by recipes. Based upon her recipes and some heavy squinting (being able to recognise some of the kanji in the original recipes helped in a miniscule way), I was able to rustle up my first entremets.

I chose Fruits Rouges because it seemed remotely achievable. It only called for three components, as well as ingredients that I could easily acquire. It also didn’t contain chocolate (CH and I have divergent opinions on how chocolate desserts should taste, and I needed a willing guinea pig).

Hidemi Sugnio Fruits Rouge mousse cake

My verdict: Making entremets isn’t terribly complex. But it does call for patience, precision and organisation. I wasn’t successful with creating the piped jam stripes you see here on my first attempt, so I’ve gone with unadorned joconde for the moment. But my plan is to try making joconde imprime (here’s a useful step-by-step) in future. I love the lightness of the finished entremet. And the high acidity in the gelee cuts through the richness of the mousse. But you have to love this style of mousse cake. My Japanese friend inhaled the two I gave her (one was actually meant for her husband).

Hidemi Sugino Fruits Rouge mousse cake

CH’s verdict: It’s a grown-up dessert (i.e. it’s not to his taste, but he doesn’t want to upset his wife). Nevertheless, he’s hoping I’ll attempt other recipes in the book.

I’m just thrilled to have discovered the online world of Hidemi Sugino junkies.


About Su-Lyn Tan

Su-Lyn is Aun's better half and for many years, the secret Editor behind this blog known to readers simply as S. Su-Lyn is an obsessive cook and critical eater whose two favourite pastimes are spending time with her three kids and spending time in the kitchen. She looks forward to combining the two in the years to come.