Archive for June, 2010

Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse – Daring Bakers Challenge June 2010

Sunday, June 27th, 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.

Even though I end up with loads of egg whites after my cooking escapades, I never tend to make meringues out of them. I end up trialling out some macarons and other egg white based goodies like souffles.

I was really excited to try chocolate meringues though and these were a big winner with everyone, especially Nick – who just loved them and wants more (I guess I know what I may be making with any more egg whites).

The mousse was quite nice and a bit rich – I think it would be a great recipe for those who want an eggless mousse.

I decided to make half the mascarpone cream and crème anglaise, as I didn’t think I would need such a large volume, especially considering I had seen most people only do a light drizzle over there meringue and mousse. After plating and taking photos I poured a whole lot over the meringue and mousse as an ice cream substitute with its lovely vanilla flavour (even if I did over cook the crème anglaise – whoops).

What a great challenge (Thanks Dawn!) Even though I had a bit of trouble finding the time, I had no trouble finding people to help eat the dessert.

Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

Recipe Source: Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard

Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):

3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.

Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)

Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)

Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon. (Class made rounds, hearts, diamonds and an attempt at a clover was made!)

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 (for the top of the Pavlova base): (I left out the lemon and orange juice/ Grand Marnier)

1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent)
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone (we made this for the Tiramisu Daring bakers challenge – see the recipe here)
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)

Put ½ cup (120 mls) 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 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.)

Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova.

Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling): ( I made half this quantity)

1 recipe crème anglaise
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream

Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the mixture cool. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above): (I made half this quantity)

1 cup (235 mls) whole milk
1 cup (235 mls) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75 grams) sugar

In a bowl, 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 ½ 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.

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.

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.

Gluten Free Carrot, Zucchini and Apple Cake

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

When I was asked by Haystac whether I wanted to try out some of the gluten free products by Vitarium, I was excited to work with gluten free flour.

The texture was a lot finer, and to me resembled a something similar to the texture of cornflour. I was given both self raising flour and a packet mix of Chocolate Ripple biscuits to try. I’d like to pass on the Chocolate Ripple biscuit packet mix to someone who would like it (and live in Australia) – so please leave a comment and let me know if you’d like it and why.

Photo from Vitarium website

I decided to make something in-between a carrot cake and zucchini cake, even though I’ve never tried a zucchini cake, plus I wanted to add some grated apple too. And what is a carrot cake without the gorgeous icing? (Still a lovely carrot cake 🙂 ) But I decided to add the icing – just because it works so well and everyone loves it 😛

I have just submitted this recipe to the The Great Vitarium Gluten Free Bake Off which has just started and has some amazing prizes – check it out and wish me luck 🙂 I also want to wish all the other contestants luck for this competition, and think it is fantastic there will be such a great new range of recipes for those requiring gluten free diets.

Now, I’d love to have a try with the plain flour…

Gluten Free Carrot, Zucchini and Apple Cake

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups Vitarium gluten free self-raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
230g grated carrot
100g grated zucchini, excess liquid removed
50g grated apple, after excess liquid is removed
2/3 cup walnuts (optional, I didn’t use these)

250g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 160C.

In a large mixer, beat together the oil and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between additions. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and ginger and mix for one minute. Mix in the grated carrot, zucchini, apple and walnuts (if using). Pour into a greased and lined 22cm round tin. Cook in preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

For the icing, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar in two lots, beating well between additions. Add the vanilla essence and mix to combine. Spread over cooled cake and serve.

Pizza Wheels

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

These pizza wheels go so fast at any party we’ve had.

They can be made non-vegetarian by adding some chopped ham or salami.

I love them, and there’s not much more I really have to say about these – except how can you go wrong with a mini “pizza”?

Pizza Wheels

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

Makes more than 40

4 puff pastry sheets
6 tablespoons tomato paste
1 red capsicum, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
grated cheese

Spread the tomato paste over the puff pastry sheets, leaving a 1.5cm gap from one end. Sprinkle capsicums then cheese over the pastry leaving the gap. Roll the pastry toward the gap and then press the end onto the roll to join the pastry. This can be covered and placed in the refrigerator until needed.

Cut 1cm slices of the roll and place on baking paper on a baking tray. Cook in a moderate oven (180C) for approx 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and pizza wheels have browned. Serve when hot.

Mum’s Trifle

Saturday, June 5th, 2010


For my Mum’s birthday a couple of months ago, I designed a trifle just for her.


Although I don’t normally make trifles, I’ll make anything that my Mum wants for her birthday. So a trifle once or twice a year is not much to ask or give.


I decided to make the trifle layered and served in a cylindrical shape – making an individual portion and a cuter chic-styled trifle. And what would make a trifle more modern than pretty pistachio macarons!


The individual portion was frozen, and without enough time to allow it to thaw after removal of the acetate, it was eaten frozen – I hear it was lovely frozen. I ate a scoop from the bowl and thought all the flavours worked extremely well together.

Mum’s Trifle

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

Serves: 10

Vanilla Sponge
4 eggs
150g (1 cup) self raising flour
150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
40g (1/4 cup) cornflour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

4 egg yolks
125g caster sugar
20g cornflour
250ml cream
350ml milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped

2 punnets strawberries, cored and sliced in half

Vienna almond and nougat cream
100g nougat, chopped
150g Vienna almonds, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
600ml thickened cream
1/4 cup icing sugar mixture

Pistachio macarons, for serving – see my recipe here

Chocolate Sauce
100g dark chocolate
80ml cream
1 tablespoon Kahlua, optional

For the sponge, preheat oven to 180°C. Beat together the eggs and caster sugar for 4 minutes or until light, fluffy and increased in size. Beat in the vanilla essence. Fold in the sifted flour and cornflour. Pour into a baking paper lined tray. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then remove and allow to cool fully on a cooling rack.

For the custard, whisk the yolks, cornflour and caster sugar in a saucepan. Once smooth, whisk in the cream slowly, then the milk. Place mixture on medium heat and cook until the mixture has thickened or starts to boil. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl and let cool slightly. Place cling film over the custard – touching the custard so it prevents a skin forming.

For the Vienna almond and nougat cream, whip the cream with the vanilla and icing sugar mixture until thick peaks are formed. Fold through the chopped Vienna almond and nougat.

For the Chocolate Sauce, heat the cream in saucepan, until it just starts to bubble. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Add the Kahlua or other alcohol at this point, if using. Whisk or stir until smooth. This is best made just before serving.

To assemble:
Cut the sponge base to fit the serving bowl. Alternatively, cut 5cm diameter rounds from the cake (it may need to be cut in half depending on how tall the sponge is). Cut some acetate or projector film into 8-10cm high and approx 17cm wide (or enough to fit around the sponge/5cm cutting circles). Make the acetate into cylinders around the sponge or 5cm rounds and hold in place with sticky tape, with the sponge at the bottom of the cylinder.

If desired, you can brush the sponge with any liqueur you like.

Next, pour the custard on top of the sponge, smooth the top and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Place any individual portions in the freezer and set until the top of the custard is firm.

Place the cut strawberries around the edge of the glass dish or acetate strips and the remaining ones in the middle.

Cover with Vienna almond, nougat cream. Smooth the top and place in the fridge to set for a few hours before serving. For individual portions, place back in the freezer (otherwise the acetate won’t come off easily).

To serve: Remove acetate from any individual trifles. Place pistachio macarons on top of the trifle and serve with the chocolate sauce in a pourer.