Sunday, June 27, 2010

Baking and the Bar -- Pavlovas

Sara and I have entered a dark time in our lives.  We are studying for the California Bar.  What does this entail?  Usually 3 or more hours of dry bar lecture -- though sometimes we are lucky and get to listen to 7 hours of it! -- followed by another 4 or more hours of practice questions, essays, and studying.  Yuck, right?

Yeah.  Yuck yuck yuck!

So it's not surprising that we jumped at the chance to take a break with this month's Challenge.  In fact, we were especially excited for it because both of us are big fans of meringue, and Sara adores pavlovas in particular.

We're getting to be pros at anything involving whipping up some egg whites or cream, and then folding in chocolate or whatever other deliciousness, so this recipe posed no problems for us.

I finally invested in some proper pastry piping bags and tips, so for the first time we did not struggle with our piping.

We turned out some beautiful shapes for our pavlovas.

They included circles, a rectangle, a Christmas tree, a raindrop (sort of), a little bear's head, a plant sprout, and a star.  Oh, and a certain part of the male anatomy.  (Blame Sara for that last one. Ironic, since she explicitly banned them in any form at her own bachelorette party last weekend!)

Our mousse was a perfect consistency, and we both very much enjoyed the chocolate-orange combination.  In retrospect, we would have wanted to vary the colors a little -- perhaps a lighter, non-chocolate pavlova with the chocolate mousse, or a different flavor mousse with the chocolate pavlova.  Oh well -- next time!

The mascarpone cream added some variety and was quite tasty.  We were ultimately glad that we did not have any Sambucca on hand and had to omit it from the cream, as that seemed like a strange addition to the other flavors.

In the end, our pavlovas looked great and tasted divine.  We can only hope that our success in the kitchen this month can translate to success on the Bar in July!

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.