Love and Confections: June 2010

June 27, 2010

Chocolate Pavlova

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Daring Bakers Challenge 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 personally love Pavlovas. Meringue is a great light, sweet and tasty dessert. Paired with chocolate, and it is heaven. I also like to eat Pavlovas with fruit, for a lighter dessert. Pavlovas are easy to make and once you start, you'll be hooked. I piped a few simple designs with a medium size pastry tip. I piped a base and either "built" it up on the sides to create a little cup or piped little peaks around the outside.

This recipe is comprised of 4 parts:
1. Chocolate Meringue
2. Mascarpone Mousse
3. Creme Anglaise (used in the Mascarpone Cream)
4. Mascarpone Cream

Chocolate Meringue Recipe:
- 90 grams Egg Whites
- 110 grams Granulated Sugar
- 30 grams Confectioner's Sugar
- 30 grams Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder

Chocolate Meringue Directions:
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200F. Line one or two baking sheets with silicone mats 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, 1 tablespoon 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 whites. (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 free form your shapes and level them with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
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.

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse Recipe:
- 335 milliliters Heavy Cream
- Zest of 1 average sized Lemon
- 255 grams 72% Chocolate, chopped
- 390 milliliters Mascarpone
- Pinch of Nutmeg
- 30 milliliters Grand Marnier or Orange Juic

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse Directions:
1. Place 120 milliliters Heavy Cream and 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, 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 1/4 of the Mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining Mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse or free form mousse on top of Pavlova.

Mascarpone Cream Recipe:
- 1 recipe Creme Anglaise (recipe below)
- 120 milliliters mascarpone
- 30 milliliters Sambucca (optional)
- 120 milliliters Heavy Cream

Mascarpone Cream Directions:
1. Prepare the Creme Anglaise. Slowly whisk the Mascarpone and Sambucca into the Creme Anglaise and let the mixture cool. Putt the cream in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the Mascarpone mixture.

Creme Anglaise Recipe:
- 235 milliliters Whole Milk
- 235 milliliters Heavy Cream
- 1 Vanilla Bean, split or 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 6 large Egg Yolks
- 75 grams sugar

Creme Anglaise Directions:
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 saucepam over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.
3. Pour about 1/2 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.

Pavlova Assembly:
- Pipe the Mousse onto the Meringues and drizzle with the Mascarpone Cream. Dust with confectioner's sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

I hope you try this recipe. It it very easy, delicious and great for summer!

Until next time,

MORE PICTURES TO COME... my computer is not liking me right now and I can't upload any more pictures...

June 11, 2010

German Chocolate Cake is not from Germany!

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First and foremost - I am NOT a coconut girl! For some unexplained reason, I just don't like the flavor or texture of coconut. Give me a Strawberry Daiquiri over a PiƱa Colada any day! Even though I do not like coconut, I refuse to make this recipe without the classic element. I suffer through it to enjoy to moist, delicious chocolate cake with creamy, gooey caramel frosting - and in the end, it is worth it!

Today is National German's Chocolate Cake day. Yes, you read that right. There is an " 's" in the title. The cake did not originate in Germany, like many believe. It is named after Englishman Samuel German, who created "Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate" in 1852 for the "Baker's Chocolate" brand.

The first published recipe for German Chocolate Cake was submitted to a local newspaper by a Dallas, Texas homemaker in 1957. The cake became popular and "Baker's Chocolate" sales increased. The possessive form - 's - was dropped in later publications of the recipe and the name still stands as we know today - German Chocolate Cake.

Now on to the good stuff...

German Chocolate Cake is a layered chocolate cake filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. Sweet Baking Chocolate is traditionally used in the actual cake, although some recipes today do not call for it. The Coconut-Pecan topping is a caramel made with egg yolks and evaporated milk, with coconut and pecans stirred in.

I first made this cake in my "Basic and Classical Cakes and Pastries" class in culinary school, and fell in love! This recipe is one of my favorites and a definite go-to cake for any occasion.

German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting
adapted from a culinary school recipe

German Chocolate Cake Ingredients:
- 240 grams Sweet Baking Chocolate
- 120 milliliters Boiling Water
- 240 grams Unsalted Butter, softened
- 480 grams Granulated Sugar
- 80 grams Egg Yolks
- 5 milliliters Vanilla Extract
- 300 grams Cake Flour
- 4 grams Baking Soda
- 3 grams Salt
- 240 milliliters Buttermilk
- 120 grams Egg Whites

German Chocolate Cake Directions:
- Chop Chocolate and melt in a bain marie over Boiling Water
- In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream the Butter and Sugar
- Add Egg Yolks one at a time, then Vanilla and Chocolate
- Sift Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt and add alternating with Buttermilk
- In a separate bowl, whip Egg Whites to stiff peaks and then fold into the batter
- Divide into 3 9-inch round pans lined with parchment
- Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes

Coconut-Pecan Frosting Ingredients:
- 240 milliliters Evaporated Milk
- 240 grams Granulated Sugar
- 60 grams Egg Yolks
- 120 grams Unsalted Butter
- 5 milliliters Vanilla Extract
- 120 grams Coconut, flaked
- 120 grams Pecans, Chopped

Coconut-Pecan Frosting Directions:
- Combine Milk, Sugar, Egg Yolks and Butter in saucepan on medium heat
- Cook until it thickens
- Remove from heat and add Vanilla Extract, Coconut and Pecans
- Beat in electric mixer until cool and spreadable

- Make sure cakes are level, after cooling
- Place 1/4 of the frosting in between each layer and stack
- Frost the top with 1/4 of the frosting
- Frosting the outside of the cake with the last 1/4 of frosting
- Buttercream, Coconut and Chocolate decorations are optional
- Enjoy!

Until next time,