Saturday, June 26, 2010

JUNE 2010 - Daring Baker's 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.

Obviously, I didn't make a chocolate meringue, instead a raspberry pavlovia. Aussie Aussie Aussie.....

I opted to tone down the rich sweetness of this challenge, so head over to the website for the original. Which tops the meringue with chocolate mousse and a creme. This mousse is AMAZING, and quick setting. For me I still found it a little too rich together, save in very small potions. I will make these two dishes again, but separately, with fresh fruit and cream.

Classic Australian Pavlova
Cooking time about 1¾ hours
Ingredients (serves 8)

4 teaspoons cornflour
6 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons powdered raspberry
4 drops red food coloring

Preheat oven to 200°C (395°F). Dust lightly with 1 teaspoon cornflour a sheet of baking paper place on a baking tray. Place a 8” (20cm) x 2.5" (60mm) springform cake tin without a bottom as a container to hold the whipped egg whites on the floured baking paper.

Using an electric mixer on the highest setting, beat egg whites and cream of tartar (or salt) in a narrow deep bowl until soft peaks form (using a narrow deep bowl ensures the beaters are well into the whites and will build up the greatest volume). Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly until thick and glossy. Add remaining 3 teaspoons of cornflour with the last tablespoon of sugar. Dissolving the caster sugar should take about 10-12 mins if using normal granulated sugar about 15 mins. (Test mixture by feeling a small amount of the meringue between two fingers if it is grainy beat longer.) Fold through vanilla and vinegar.
Spoon meringue into the springform cake tin. Shape the uncooked meringue using the springform cake tin as a guide into one giant meringue. Remove the springform cake tin and place the uncooked meringue cake into the oven. Reduce oven to 100°C (212°F). Bake for 1½ to 2 hours or until dry and crisp, test by tasting a teaspoon of the meringue from the top if it doesn't taste of egg it is done don't worry about the small hole made by this testing it will be covered by the topping. Test at 1½ hours and then every 15 mins until ready. Turn off oven and cool completely in oven (pavlova may sink and crack during cooling).

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

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

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Daring Cooks June, 2010 Challenge - Pâtés and Bread

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!

Chicken Liver Pate

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients (serves 12)

1 Kilo chicken livers
200g of duck or bacon fat
400g butter, at room temperature
4 large eschalot (French shallot), peeled, finely chopped
1 cup brandy
Salt & ground pepper
Juice and zest of one orange
2 cloves of roasted garlic (roast whole in the oven 180 for 20 minutes, then squeeze out flesh)
1 sml teaspoon sugar
80g unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup fresh continental parsley roughly chopped

When making chicken liver pate, it is crucial to buy very fresh livers. Choose livers that have moist and shiny flesh without any dry patches. Remove from the packaging, place on a plate, cover with foil and keep in the coldest part of the fridge. Use within 2 days. To clean the livers, use a small sharp knife to remove and discard any white sinew. Some livers have greenish patches which must be trimmed or they can give the pate a bitter flavour. Place the trimmed livers in a colander, rinse gently under cold water and then drain. Pat dry with paper towel.

Melt butter and fat in a large heavy bottomed pan on a low to medium heat. Do Not Burn. Add the Eschalots and ½ the Garlic. Brown slightly then add livers and sauté for 3 minutes. Add brandy, orange remaining garlic, salt pepper and sugar. Continued sautéing on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the livers are just off pink in the centre. Transfer to a food processor add parsley and blend until just smooth.

Spoon the pate mixture evenly into ceramic or glass ramekins or small dishes, and use the back of a teaspoon to smooth the surface. Set aside. Place the unsalted butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat until it just melts. Pour the butter evenly over the surface of the pate. The butter will solidify and prevent the pate from discolouring (due to oxidation) and will lengthen keeping time. Once the butter sets, cover the pate with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight to set and develop the flavours. The pate can be stored for up to 5 days in the fridge. Serve with toasted thinly sliced baguette (French stick), mini toasts, crackers, or with slices of nashi fruit or pears.

Check out the site for the baguette recipe.
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