Time for another Daring Bakers‘ Challenge! And this time, there’s chocolate!
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.
For the full recipe, and to see the results of other Daring Bakers, check out the Daring Bakers’ Pavlova Page.
And as I am wont to do, I had to change the recipe up a little bit… I made the Chocolate Pavlovas (Meringues) from the recipe, but had to go to town on the topping. In order to cut down on the fat content, and the chance that I would eat an entire truckload of Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse, I lightened things up a little bit with a Saffron Vanilla Crème. I call it a “crème” instead of whipped cream, as I make it in my food processor rather than the stand/hand mixer. It’s something I learned to do from a Moroccan cooking class with Bonnie Stern (remember the Baklava Snake? same crème, now with saffron), and have been doing ever since as my standard dessert accompaniment. I wanted to play with flavours, and so in came saffron to accompany the vanilla bean. Yum.
For assembly: place a Mini Chocolate Meringue on a plate, top with Saffron Vanilla Crème, and some fresh fruit. A cherry on top not only satisfies the cliché, but also complements the dark chocolate and warm saffron flavours. Eat with great delight.
Mini Dark Chocolate Meringues
- 3 large egg whites
- ½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (30 grams) icing sugar
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat (or parchment paper) and set aside.
Using a stand/hand mixer, Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until you get stiff peaks when you remove the beater from the mixture. (I have done this by hand, and it is doable, but you’ll be working some serious muscles by the time you’re done. Good luck if you choose to go the “manual” route.)
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites to make a chocolate mountain and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it won’t ever work, but I promise, if you keep folding gently it will eventually come together. Gently.)
Fill a pastry bag with the chocolate meringue, and pipe the meringue into small circles about 3″ in diameter.
Bake for 2 hours, until the meringues have dried out completely. Let cool, and serve or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Saffron Vanilla Crème
- 6 strands of saffron
- 1 Tbsp. lukewarm water
- 1 c. (250 mL) whipping cream, chilled
- 1 tsp. vanilla paste (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract + 1 tsp. icing sugar)
Soak saffron in water for at least 20 minutes, until through the miracle of blooming, the soaking water changes from clear to canary.
In a food processor, blitz whipping cream until it begins to firm up. Add the vanilla paste and the saffron plus 1 tsp. of the soaking water, and blitz for an additional few seconds, until the cream looks like a rather soft version of whipped cream. Enjoy with all sorts of desserts!