We have finally returned from our travels and hope to post soon, but I am derelict in posting for Daring Baker's challenge this month. This post will be short and sweet as I am still digging out from post-travel backlogs...but
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 wanted to try out some smoked cherries in the dessert and thought that would work well with a nice anise scent. To smoke the cherries, we placed wonderful Ranier cherries in the smoker with a nice fruit wood until they reach the smoke level you like - it really just takes a few minutes. For the anise scent, I added 1 t of fennel seeds to the sugar in the meringue. Then I ran this mixture through the spice grinder and used the superfine sugar to make the meringues.
Recipe 1: Fennel Scented Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 t fennel seeds
- ½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch processed 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.
- Place fennel seeds and sugar in spice grinder. Blend until it is a fine powder.
- 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. (Class made rounds, hearts, diamonds and an attempt at a clover was made!)
- 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
- 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. (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.
Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for base):
- 1 recipe crème anglaise
- ½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
- ½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream
- Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone 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):
- 2 cups (235 mls) whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 6 large egg yolks
- 6 tbsp (75 grams) sugar
- 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.