Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
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 had actually heard of pavlovas before this challenge was posted - we make them for dessert during Passover sometimes, as the meringue crust is a great no-flour recipe. What I am used to is a meringue shell topped with yummy fresh berried and drizzled with melted chocolate. This recipe looked to be a bit more complex than that! I was a little concerned at first, as this is a very dairy recipe, I don't keep any sort of liquors in the house (neither Hubby nor I drinks it, so why have it?), and also because mascarpone cheese tends to be on the pricey side. Even with all of that in mind, though, I was determined to find a way to make this work!!
My first challenge, yet again, was finding an excuse to make this much dessert! Much as I love these challenges, they really are designed to make enough food to feed more than just two people... Well, it was still playoff time for hockey, and the Flyers were heading to the Stanley Cup final, so I invited a friend over and had my excuse. Of course, you know, I then had to turn this into a Flyers themed dessert... (See? The pictures will make this make a LOT more sense!!)
I started with the meringue, as it needed a long time in the oven to dry out, and could then spend time cooling so the mouse topping wouldn't melt. Making meringue isn't that hard, you just have to know what you are doing. Separate the eggs carefully, and whip those whites senseless! In order to make this a Flyers dessert, I transferred the meringue to a piping bag and made Flyers logos out of it. I had some success with the shape, not as much with consistent sizing... It worked out nicely in the end though!!
While the meringue baked I worked on the chocolate mascarpone mouse. Mascarpone cheese is pricey, though, and I wasn't willing to spend $15 on just the one ingredient to get as much as the recipe called for. I bought one 8 ounce tub and substituted for the rest. My substitution? Drained yogurt. I had gotten some full fat plain yogurt to give to Little Girl, but she wasn't so into it. So I had a lot of yogurt left... I strained it through a towel over a colander, and what was left was a thick, creamy, yummy "cheese" (or Greek yogurt, I guess...) that seemed perfect for this recipe! I also used soy milk instead of either whole milk or cream. While this wouldn't be a dairy free dish, I felt better using soy... The mouse came together pretty easily. I was a little concerned about the lack of sweetness, as there is no sugar added, just whatever is in the deep dark chocolate, and I wasn't using Grand Marnier to jazz up the flavor, but combined with the mascarpone, yogurt and soy milk, the mouse was really good - Hubby wanted to stick his face in it...!
Finally it was time for the mascarpone cream. I had never made creme anglaise before, but I have wanted to. This was a nice excuse to do it! It was also a good way to use the egg yolks leftover from making the meringue!! Yet again, I used soy milk as my dairy. While it took a while for the sauce to thicken, it wasn't hard to do. I think using soy milk, which is thinner than whole milk or cream, was the reason for the extra time. I think, if I make this dessert again, I will leave the creme anglais as it is for the sauce. I am not saying that the mascarpone/yogurt added to it wasn't good, it absolutely was! It is just that there is so much richness to this dessert already that it would stand up well to the "lighter" sauce! (I actually had no idea what Sambucca tasted like until I asked Hubby, and then I was actually glad I didn't have any interest in using it!)
All three components made, it was time to assemble everything. I actually chose to use the mascarpone cream as a base for the dessert, not just as a drizzle on top. So there was a layer (or lake...) of cream, then the meringue, then the mouse, followed by a little more cream. This was SO good! While I added some fresh fruit, it wasn't actually necessary. The crispy meringue matched with the cool, creamy mouse so well, and the creme anglaise sauce was just so refreshing! We all enjoyed this thoroughly, and were pretty much licking our plates at the end!!
Thank you so much, Dawn, for such an amazing challenge! Each element alone was fabulous, and together it was out of this world!!
If you would like to see what my fellow Daring Bakers came up with for this challenge, take a look here!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Finally, the last pate. When I first read the challenge, there actually was a recipe that came to mind before I started getting (or trying to get...) creative... A couple of years ago a friend of the family introduced us to a mock chopped liver. It tastes frightfully convincing. Not identical, and the texture is different, but it is really similar... So I thought it would be fun to make that for the challenge. The problem is that Hubby isn't really a fan, and Little Girl can't yet have it, as it contains nuts. Well, I solved that problem by going to Florida to visit my parents! While my father won't eat this, my mother and I both like it, and were glad to have the excuse to make it!This is a frightfully easy recipe. It calls for four basic ingredients: hard boiled eggs, sauteed onion, walnuts and a can of peas. That's it. Give it all a whir in the food processor (again, while the one year old is not napping!) and get it to the consistency you like! The intention had been to serve this with Friday night dinner, so having freshly baked challah as the bread pairing. But that kind of didn't happen... My mom and I looked at it after it was made and decided that we really had to "test taste" it for lunch with pita chips. So that is what we did...!
Thank you so much to Evelyne and Valerie for this challenge!! I would never have thought to make pate were it not for you, and I had a lot of fun exploring the possibilities!
If you would like to see the amazing (and sometimes frightening!) creations made by my fellow Daring Cooks, then take a look here!
Monday, June 7, 2010
Auntie Twin and I are very pale. We come by this honestly, our father is very pale, too. We got our first sunburns at age six months, including blisters. (To be fair, the family was living in Puerto Rico, and this was a long time ago, before sunscreen was as powerful and prevalent as it now is.) So we have always knows to be careful out in the sun, and to slather up with the highest SPF we can find. Inevitably, though, each of us gets burned about once a summer. It stinks, but we are sort of used to it. Last year, when trying to find some relief from my burn, I turned to something I had previously not had in the house, and it was amazing! I filed the fact away, and I plan to hold it for future use.
Auntie Twin and her family have a beach house. They go there almost every weekend during the summer. This weekend was no exception. Despite making sure that Little Miss was well protected, Auntie Twin wound up with a doozy of a sunburn. When she told me about this last night I let her in on my discovery from last year: diaper rash cream! She was a little hesitant, but sort of understood why I would think this worked.
This morning my phone rang. "I just wanted to thank you for that diaper rash cream hint - you are a genius!"
So there you go! A crafty mommy tip, and proof that once someone thought I was a genius!!!