Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse -Daring Bakers

I had this challenge completed well ahead of time this month amidst moving packing and before leaving to India. The 27th came up on me sooner than I thought and here I am posting a day late...better late than never :) I made the Pavlovas two days before I left, and was pressed for time to experiment with fruits or flavors so I stuck to the challenge recipe.

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

The recipe is comprised of three parts, four if you include the crème anglaise. We were required to make the chocolate pavlovas, the mascarpone mousse and the mascarpone cream using the recipes provided.

Variations allowed:
-You can use orange juice for the Grand Marnier in the mousse if you don’t use alcohol
-You can omit the sambuca from the mascarpone cream.
-You may substitute any crème anglaise recipe you might already have in your arsenal.

Preparation time: The recipe can be made in one day although there are several steps involved.

-While the pavlovas are baking, the crème anglaise should be made which will take about 15 minutes.
-While it is cooling, the chocolate mascarpone mousse can be made which will take about 15 minutes.
-There will be a bit of a wait time for the mascarpone cream because of the cooling time for the Crème Anglaise.
-If you make the Crème Anglaise the day before, the dessert should take about 2 hours including cooking time for the pavlovas.

Equipment required:
• Baking sheet(s) with parchment or silpat
• Several bowls
• Piping bag with pastry tip
• Hand or stand mixer

Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):
3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.

Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)

Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)

Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon. I made circles, plaits, hearts and free formed a few letters to spell F-L-F(Finger Licking Food) and D-B( Daring Bakers)

Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):
1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent)
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)

Put ½ cup (120 mls) of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.

Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)

Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova.

Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):
1 recipe crème anglaise (recipe below)
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream

Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the mixture cool. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above):

1 cup (235 mls) whole milk
1 cup (235 mls) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75 grams) sugar

I halved this recipe and had more than enough to drizzle over the pavlovas.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.

Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERCOOK.

Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.

Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

The pavlovas were absolutely delicious and dare I say, this is the best challenge recipe ever. I ate more pavlovas than I thought I would when I started.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

We are in the middle of moving houses and I have been putting off packing my bake ware to the very last minute. I hate having to dig into boxes if I do decide to bake something. All for good reason, since I did decide to bake one last thing before the move. ..Blueberry Coffee Cake.

I had one baking pan prepped (greased and floured) from another cake recipe, which I didn’t use, so for the sake of using the pan this cake came to be. Weird excuses, I know, all in the name of baking :D

The recipe is Ina Garten’s for Blueberry Muffins, but I made a cake instead of muffins. I halved the recipe to fit in the 8-inch x 2inch baking pan.

You will need:

6 tablespoons (3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
¾ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream
1/8 cup milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ pint (1 cup) fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare an 8-inch x 2 inch round baking pan by greasing it and dusting it with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake for 30 mins until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a rack to cool completely.

This cake was incredibly moist and definitely scrumptious.

I am off to India for a few weeks, will try not to forget updating here while I'm busy gorging on mom's food :D

Stuffed Poblanos

I was at the Farmers Market earlier today and saw these gleaming Poblanos piled high. I knew just the thing to make and bought them .

I made Stuffed Poblanos baked till scrumptious.

You will need:

1 cup uncooked basmati rice

1 ½ cups water 4 large poblano peppers
1 tsp Oil
1 cup cooked black beans
1/4 cup yellow corn

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 fresh Jalapeno, chopped

¾ cup Sour cream
¾ cup crumbled Cotija cheese (about 4 oz)

½ cup chopped cilantro

2 Tomatoes chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Note: If you can't find Cotija, use grated Parmesan which is similar in taste

Wash Basmati rice, and cook with water until done. Set aside to cool.

Prepare poblanos for filling. Wash and dry the poblanos with a paper towel. Cut around the stems using a paring knife and give it a little twist. The stem should come off with the seeds as shown below.

Trim the seeds and save the stems, they are the little caps for your stuffed poblanos.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and minced garlic and sauté for a few seconds. Then add the chopped jalapeno and black beans. Cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, combine the cooked cooled rice, black bean mixture, sour cream, cilantro, chopped tomatoes and the cotija cheese. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Fill the peppers and place the stems on top. Place the four filled poblanos on the baking sheet and bake in oven for 25-30 minutes and then broil for 5 minutes. The poblanos will look blistered and wrinkly. Serve while still hot.

If you have leftover rice, use it in a burrito or eat it the way it is. ;)

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