More horizon expanding coming your way. Watch out now!
Firstly, I was pleasantly surprised to find out on Friday that I’m a finalist in Cupcake Hero as the cupcake chosen by the host to go up against the cupcake with the most votes. Thank you all for your support and I hope I win but I’m already on top of the world by being chosen! I hope the flavor of the cupcakes comes through when Dorothy makes them! I’m definitely encouraged.
Moving on to other good news.
I finished my ACLS course today and am now certified to save lives. Yay!
I’m going to Vegas in a couple days. VEGAS! YIP YIP!
Just booked it a couple days ago. I know. Super last minute. At the end of my third year I managed to cease functioning and neglected to plan a vacation in a timely fashion which led to this last minute-ness. But it works out because we got a really great deal.. and will be staying here for 3 nights. Oh yeah.
I don’t really like gambling which would seem like the logical thing to do in Vegas. (But Vegas has other things to offer. Like this show. Which I’m seeing. Happy happy joy joy!) To me, it’s basically signing up to lose money and maybe some people have a good time doing just that but I don’t. Especially since I currently make no money and am hundreds of thousands of dollars in education-induced debt. I don’t mind watching other people gamble though. And getting some free drinks on the floor.
When it comes to baking though I’m learning to be more of a gambler. This past week has been a huge growing experience. I’ve taken some risks and it’s been a complete success! I entered my first Cupcake Hero, submitted to Regional Recipes, and now am presenting my first Daring Bakers challenge. It’s been so great pushing myself to try new things and be creative at the same time. Sure I had to make a couple things more than once but, in the end, things were delicious and looked decent enough. I’m a baker in progress and loving the journey. Corny, I know, but I’m basically on top of the world right now and I tend to get sappy when I’m happy.
This challenge wasn’t too difficult. I did have to re-do the pavlova because I didn’t bake the first one long enough but it tasted great both times so I didn’t exactly mind making a second batch. And (I’m typing it out loud so I stick to it) although I followed the recipe verbatim this month because I was shivering in my booties, next month I plan on mixing it up and putting my own spin on things. Yeahhhh gambling!
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.
3 large egg whites
1/2 c plus 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
1/4 c confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 c cocoa powder
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200F. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold it together. This will take a little bit but be patient, young grasshopper.
Fill a pastry bag with the meringue and pipe into shapes or just free-form it.
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
1 1/2 c heavy cream
zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 oz 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 c mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp orange juice
Heat 1/2 cup 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 rest of the cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the orange juice and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)
Mix about 1/4 of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated.
1 c whole milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream, divided
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 c mascarpone
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent scrambling the 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.
Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Slowly whisk the mascarpone into the anglaise and let the mixture cool at least 2 hours in the refrigerator or overnight.
Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.
Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired (I topped mine with mango.)