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  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on June 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , pavlovas   

    Daring Bakers 30th Challenge: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse 

    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. I nearly missed this one. I totally forgot to check the new challenge after it went live on June 1st. I clued in mid-month and got busy. I’m glad I got to make the mascarpone cheese from scratch, since I missed the Tiramisu challenge. A tub goes for $8 in the store. Quite the markup for curdled cream…:)  It took a little longer than expected, and I may have over cooked it a bit, but it all came together fine in the end. I spread this challenge over a couple of nights. I did not have any Grand Marnier or Sambucca, so used Limoncello and Crème de cacao instead. Despite the copious amounts of cream present in each component, the taste was quite light and not too rich. Time consuming dessert, for sure, but I can see the mousse in crepes down the road, and the mascarpone cream as a nice dressing for many types of desserts, from fresh fruit, to tarts and tortes. Very nice challenge.

    Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

    Mandatory items: The recipe is comprised of three parts, four if you include the crème anglaise. You must 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

    Recipe 1: 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


    1. 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.
    2. 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.)
    3. 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.)
    4. 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. (Class made rounds, hearts, diamonds and an attempt at a clover was made!)
    5. Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

    Recipe 2: Chocolate 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)


    1. 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.
    2. 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.)
    3. 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.

    Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):

    1 recipe crème anglaise
    ½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
    2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
    ½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream


    1. 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.

    Recipe 4: 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


    1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
    2. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.

  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on June 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Cooks 14th Challenge: Three Spice Liver Pâté 

    Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

    A nice recipe, if a little gory in its uncooked state. Prepared this one in time for a family BBQ. Nice consistency and balance of spices. I realized too late I also had to bake a baguette from scratch for this challenge. Having baked quite a few of these in the past, I submit a picture of one baked three Christmases ago. So, either I’ve only completed  half of this challenge, or was partly way ahead of it, you be the judge. 🙂

    Three Spice Liver Pâté

    Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan

    1 lb / 454 grams pork liver (or beef or combination)
    1/2 lb / 227 grams ground pork
    1/2 lb / 227 grams pork fat (or pork belly)
    2 cloves garlic
    2 shallots
    1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
    1/2 tsp / 2 ml cinnamon
    1/2 tsp / 2 ml coriander (ground or crushed)
    1/2 tsp / 2 ml cumin
    3/4 tsp / 3 ml salt
    1 tbps / 15 ml coarse freshly cracked peppercorns
    2 tbps / 30 ml cognac
    2 bay leaves
    1 package of bacon

    Preheat oven to to 350ºF (180ºC).

    Cut liver and pork fat into small pieces and add to food processor. Add ground pork, garlic, shallots, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Grind until smooth.

    In mixing bowl, incorporate the meat and liver mixture with the cognac and eggs.

    Line bottom of baking or ceramic pan with overlapping pieces of bacon. Place a bay leaf on the bottom and then fill with meat/liver mixture. Cover top with another bay leaf and then overlapping pieces of bacon.

    Place in oven in the larger baking pan and add enough water to cover 2/3rds of the pan containing the meat/liver mixture. Bake for about 1-1.5 hrs.

    The pâté will contract and the juices will be on the bottom. Allow to cool and soak up the juices. Remove any excess bacon and discard the bay leaves.

    French Baguette
    yield: Three 16″ baguettes

    1/2 cup / 120 ml cool water
    1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast
    1 cup / 240 ml flour

    1 tsp / 5 ml active dry yeast
    1 cup to 1 1/4 cups / 240 ml to 300 ml lukewarm water*
    all of the starter
    3 1/2 cups / 840 ml flour
    1 1/2 tsp / 7 ml salt

    *Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

    Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water, then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly.

    Mix active dry yeast with the water and then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you’ve made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer.

    Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

    Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15″ log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.

    Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they’ve become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450ºF (240ºC).

    Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8″ vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.

    Bake the baguettes until they’re a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2″, and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.

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