Daring Bakers June: Too much of a good thing?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jasmine tea cocktail = good thing

Dinner with girlfriends = good thing

Three lots of dessert to share = good thing

Espresso martinis all around = very, very good thing

Dancing on rocket fuel = highly recommended and definitely a good thing

I had a few too many good things last night, so this post may come out a little garbled and not all that good.

Which would be a shame as I wanted to do this month’s Daring Bakers challenge justice.

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

Pavlovas are no strangers in the Skewer Kitchen, as they are  a very Aussie dessert (although the Kiwis reckon they invented it). So luckily, this month’s challenge was actually something I could whip up (pun intended) easily = good thing. 

I ended up with four free form pavlova shells.(I used 4 eggwhites instead of 3 because that’s how many I had leftover from something else. EDIT: I've come to realise that the challenge recipe says to bake it crisp, but I went on autopilot and just left the pavlova shells in a low oven for a couple of hours)

Take one empty shell. A good tip from The Cook's Companion - turn the shell upside down to fill, so the base and sides stay crisp.

However, I’ve never served pavlova with all the rich add-ins required by the challenge recipe – mascarpone, pastry cream, chocolate AND cream. I reread the recipe a few times just to make sure that I’d read it right. Whoa, that’s a lot of cream = not sure if such a good thing.

So I “sixthed” the pastry cream recipe and played around with the ratios until I managed to make enough filling for  two of my four pavlova cases.

I have to say that the filling tastes absolutely beautiful = good thing.

Add chocolate mousse swirls

However, I probably wouldn’t make that combination again because it was really, really rich and I prefer pavlovas with just plain whipped cream and fresh fruit. The chocolate pavlovas shells on the other hand, were amazingly good – crisp on the outside, gooey and marhsmallowey on the inside and very, very chocolatey. Definitely on my “to bake again” list.

Fill with mascarpone cream and top with poached pear

For the challenge recipe, do visit out host’s blog, or the Daring Kitchen. And don’t forget to visit the other Daring Bakers.

Oh yes, for the pear on top, I peeled, cored and halved a couple of pears and poached them in a light sugar syrup and a cinnamon stick. When cool, store in the fridge. To make the "swirl" shape , thinly slice on the diagonal, from base up to the stem-end but do not cut through. Fan out and twist as you go.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and do come back for Malaysian Monday ☺


Marcellina said...

Beautiful pear swirl, Shaz! Yeah, I agree it really was too much of a good thing! I made the whole version and I think I bought 1 1/2 litres of cream (including cream for the mascarpone). That's a lot of cream!!!

shaz said...

Thanks Marcellina. Wow, 1 and a half litres? Actually, even with my pared down version, I used 2 x 300ml cartons because I made the mascarpone from scratch too.

Emma @CakeMistress said...

Beautiful pav, and that pear on top is lovely too.Chocolate pav has been on the to do list for a while, although I might omit that amount of cream based on everyone's feedback.
(PS. High Five on the Espresso Martinis!)

Audax said...

I just love the pear on top so beautiful and yes the chocolate pav is to-die-for. Love your photos also. Wonderful results on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

bakingrush said...

It really looks beautiful, I loved your pictures.


shaz said...

*high-fives Cake Mistress* those martinis were so, so good!

Thanks Audax :) pavlova maestro

Thanks Bakingrush, nice to meet you :)

Deeba PAB said...

Hola dahlin'... am lovin' what you did with the pavs! Would have sixth the filling too had I been any good with Math. I too figured that much cream was not = too GOOD!! Love the first pic with the balerina slippers. Creative & pretty! You've done some magic with that pwar on top, and I'm pretty darned sure it ain't as easy as you make it out to be! Well done indeed!! xo

Liz said...

I love how you filled the shells with the cream and mousse. Looks delicious - the pear on the top is a great idea.

shaz said...

Thanks Deeba - the slippers belong to the youngest Miss who was quite concerned taht I gave them back after I'd finished the photos :)

Thanks Liz - was tryign to go for a tutu look with the pear.

Aparna said...

Very, very lovely. Where's the garble? I got it alright! :)
The pear on top looks perfect.
Was just watching Nigella on tv last night making a pav, and she did just what you did - turn the meringue upside down and then top with cream.

pragmaticattic said...

I love the pear on top. Beautiful. Plus it is such a great flavor combination (and some fruit cuts the richness a bit). I also cut back on the amount of mousse.

Jennifurla said...

so beautiful, really great job

grace said...

the poached pear trick is awesome, and i love the little beads. this is the pavlova of my dreams. :)

Natalie said...

Oh, I love the idea of a pavlova shell filled with cream. :) And I totally agree about the amounts of cream and mascarpone in the recipe...
Glad to see I'm not the only one who thought it was a bit much...

Heavenly Housewife said...

To much of a good thing= great!!! :D Live it up daaaahling and eat cake while life is good.
*kisses* HH

ajcabuang04 said...

I've never made pavlovas but these look great! I love the addition of the pears on top. They look like it would be a good contrast to the rich cream

Would you mind checking out my blog? :D

Maranda said...

I kept wondering what that thing on the top was. Then you said it was a pear and I realized you are the most amazing person! That pear swirl is genius and so beautifully executed. Definitely swirled pear = VERY good thing! And hello espresso martinis! Yum!! Great job on this challenge! I love the ballet slippers. Nice touch!

chocolatesuze said...

i had to look twice at your gorgeous pear swirl! so pretty!

Karen @ Citrus and Candy said...

Pear and chocolate are so good together. And oooh pretty swirl, I love it. I love the shells too - means I can fill it more with chocolate :)

shaz said...

Ah, nice to see I'm in good company then Aparna, thanks!

pragmaticattic - I really wanted to use berries, but it's winter here, so choices were a little limited.

Jennifurla - thank you!

grace - oh you are too kind. May you have sweet dreams :)

Natalie - it was tasty but we just couldn't finish a helping, well, actually, I could, but I felt bad about doing it :)

HH - too much of a good thing goes straight to my hips :) The funny thing is, if this was served to me at a restaurant, and I didn't know how much cream had gone into it, I would have eaten it without blinking.

ajcabuang04 - thank you. The pears did work very well to contrast the cream.

Maranda - thank you, don't know that I'm that amazing. I was actually quite surprised at how easy it was to twirl the pear, it's really soft once it's poached.

chocolatesuze - aww, thank you!

Karen @ Citrus and Candy - I had to do swirls becasue I was too lazy to pipe!

Anh said...

great work, Shaz. I love that you have paired it with pear and reduce the cream. Cream + pavlova are friends, but too much is just.. too much :)

shaz said...

:) Anh!

Esi said...

I still haven't made it, but this is one I want to try. I agree, all those fillings sound rich, but really good!

shaz said...

I'll come visit when the pav is ready :) Yes, the filling was very tasty, just couldn't eat too much all at once.

Lisa said...

shaz, shaz, shaz..I am so with you on the super rich fillings and I wish I had halved mine klike you did (I'm making ice cream out of the leftover mascarpone cream). I had so much mousse, I literally overfilled my tart until it consumed every facet of my choccie pavlova. That said, your pavlovas are gorgeous. Love the litte dragees topping them!

Nachiketa said...

WOW!!!!! this post blew me away...

poached pear is an awesome idea :)

The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts