Meringue Archives - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

When Life Gives You Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake, Make Chocolate Meringue Cinnamon Rolls

March 27, 2011 at 12:05 am | Posted in Breads, Cakes, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Yeastspotting | 58 Comments
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Many years ago, in the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest, a marshmallow wrapped in crescent dough and baked, won the Grand Prize. Who woulda thunk it?

I’ve never been a huge fan of yeasted coffee cakes.  You know the cakey part of a NY style crumb cake?  I never eat it.  I pull off all the lumpy, sweet crumbs, I even search for lumps in the cake itself, ones that separated and slid into the doughy batter in hopes of camouflage. The carnage is torn remnants of golden cake, scattered around my plate in lots of odd patterns, left to wither and dry until slipped into the garbage mercifully.

I probably love every single yeasted bread, sweet and savory, that’s known to man, so why does yeasted bread suddenly become something ‘feh’ for me  when it’s called a coffee cake?  Drakes.  Yes, those little plastic-wrapped, miniature coffee cakes in a box, so moist, delicious and deceptively cute - but really evil, evil enough to make me want to eat a whole box in one sitting, evil enough that I hold all coffee cake ‘cake’ in comparison to them.  I’m humbled to admit it, but yes, it’s true….ack.

Hmmm…it probably didn’t help that my father loved a good deal on one or two day old pastry from the local supermarket bakery, when I was growing up.

There are some exceptions to this ‘cake’ rule, like babka, with lots of filling, whether it be chocolate or cinnamon, and of course, huge, gooey cinnamon rolls, sticky buns etc..just give me lots of filling or goo with the yeasty base, and it’s alll goood as a yeasted coffee cake.

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Italian (not French) meringue holds in the goo..a little seeping into the dough, lots of gooey goo.  I think this is it for me.  I don’t need as much filling to enjoy a yeasted coffee cake when meringue is baked onto the dough, stretching out the filling and making it well, just gooey-er  The dough our host’s provided to us is rich, silky, sexy perfection – easy to work with, and extremely easy to eat.  You cannot fail with this dough, no matter what you do with it, sweet or savory. 

Ok..I admit, I sort of snuck into cinnamon rolls because I was worried it would be yet another plate of scrappy cake remnants, dry and withering, while we ate filling and parts of the cake with filling on it.  With rolls, if it wasn’t moist or gooey enough, I could always drown it in cream cheese frosting on an individual basis.

Here’s some slight changes I made to come up with these chocolate meringue, gooey, cinnamon rolls. 

  • I used all the dough in the recipe (which makes two coffee cakes) to make one dozen chocolate meringue rolls.
  • I made an Italian meringue in lieu of the french meringue in the recipe, then added dark cocoa, for a deep chocolate meringue.
  • Combined the cinnamon with dark brown sugar instead of granulated.
  • Increased the cinnamon and chocolate chunks (I used Jamie’s version)
  • Topped the finished rolls with swirls and swirls of luscious cream cheese (aka – I could lick it off a dirty tire) frosting.  However, these didn’t need any kind of frosting!

I guess you could say I turned the meringue filling into a chocolate marshmallow meringue, after whipping it with the hot sugar syrup into oblivion.  However, this is a good thing when it came to rolling up the dough, — less leakage — and the chocolate, cinnamon sugar, and nuts sort of nestled in and stuck.  I froze the rolled tube of gooey love prior to slicing to also aid in holding the filling in.  I now wish I didn’t go to all those stops to hold the filling in, since seeing some of the crispy meringue bits on other Daring Baker’s cakes.  Looks too tempting.  I can’t wait to make this coffee cake again, as an actual coffee cake, with meringue seeping out of the cuts in the dough.

I love challenges that change my opinion, and this one most certainly reformed me as far as a yeasted coffee cakes go.  A silky, rich dough plus meringue is now my go to yeasted coffee cake.  Thank you Jamie and Ria for an eye-opening and delicious challenge!

Here’s a tip, a tip to anyone who loves to bake cinnamon rolls – ditch the butter that’s spread on the dough prior to cinnamon-sugar deposit, and use sweetened meringue instead.  Not only is it better for you, but it gives you a gooey-er cinnamon roll.   Now I know why a marshmallow wrapped in crescent dough and baked won the Grand prize in the Pillsbury Bake-Off many years ago.

For the recipe for this awesome meringue coffee cake, which you could make into my chocolate meringue cinnamon rolls, click HERE.  To see all the mouth-watering coffee cakes. fillings and other doughy, meringuey creations my fellow Daring Bakers came up with, click HERE.

Finally, I’m submitting these rolls to Susan over at Wild Yeast for her weekly Yeastspotting bread baking showcase.  I rarely have time to bake breads as of late, so when I do, I always send them her way :<).


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All Ovah Pavlova

June 29, 2010 at 7:57 am | Posted in Cakes, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free, Pies/Tarts, Puddings, Rainbow | 64 Comments
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Once  upon a time there was a Russian ballerina named Anna.

Tropical Pavlova

She was so dainty, delicate and light on her toes, that when she danced on a tour through Australia and New Zealand, they came up with a dessert to honor her – a dessert that was light, feminine and delicate, but sweet and hearty at the same time.

Have you ever had a meringue cookie?  Well, Pavlovas are a fancy, gooey and larger version of the meringue cookie, with a crispy shell and a soft cloud like, slightly chewy interior. They can be filled with anything, but berries and cream seem to be the most popular and authentic way it’s served down under.  I’m willing to bet that in order to remain light and delicate on her toes, Anna wasn’t eating too many pavlovas.  If that were actually the case, boy was she missing out!

If someone named a dessert after me..I’d be scarfing it down like a champ, as long as they rolled me to each destination.  Here’s a good question -  If given the choice, which would you prefer, a dish, whether it be sweet or savory, created for and named after you, or a song written for and about you?

 

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.

First I wanted to make an authentic pavlova, but, of course, with a twist because it ain’t me if it ain’t got a twist.  Since I’d never made a pavlova before, but know my way around all kinds of meringue preparations, I felt pretty confident I’d be able to pull it off.  Thanks to my pal, Audax, who provided the Daring Bakers with an authentic recipe that everyone was raving about, I was able to do just that.   However, Francois Payard is one of my favorite pastry chefs, so I had to make the recipe from his book that was provided to us. Every component, word for word would be emulated – especially since his lovely creations cost an arm, a leg and maybe an eyeball. His showroom, which is a mouth-watering and gorgeous feast for the eyes, is one of the best patisseries in NYC.

                   Perfect Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse…..before I murdered it.

Chocolate Cream Cheese MousseMuch better the second time around.

Since I didn’t dig into this challenge until the last minute, things didn’t go as planned.  I decided to bake the chocolate meringue in a tart pan.  Great idea, right?  Well, sort of.  You see, one characteristic of a perfect pavlova is that the crispy outer shell cracks and crumbles a bit after being baked and cooled.  Yes, this is a good thing palate wise, but not a good thing aesthetically, which counts when you’re a food blogger. I got the perfect tart pan ridges, but as it should have, it separated and crumbled a bit, so it really didn’t look like the meringue tart shell I was hoping for.

Tropical Pavlova

Where I really screwed up was on the chocolate mascarpone mousse.  Initially, I didn’t screw up, it turned out perfect – silky, creamy chocolate heaven.  BUT- I made it a day ahead and refrigerated it, so when it came time to assemble my dessert, the mousse was firm (due to the mascarpone cheese solidifying..which is normal).  I didn’t have time to let it come to room temperature so I could stir it gently back into its luscious, silky self – so I decided to take a beater to it, momentarily forgetting about the mascarpone cheese in it..

Mascarpone cheese breaks when over beaten, and it had already been beaten lightly prior to refrigerating it.  The extra beating, which was a lot of beating since I needed it soft for piping, turned my smooth and silky mousse into a grainy mess.  It still tasted great and was surprisingly smooth on the tongue, but it looked like shit.  Well, I had planned to cover it with fruit anyway, so now I just needed to cover all of it with fruit, and loads of fruit!

By this time I’m frustrated, so I made a mess of the fruit.  Instead of the perfectly symmetrical slices of papaya and mango that I envisioned in a beautiful concentric circle, I ended up slicing away haphazardly, slimy fingers squishing the fruit, leaving me with uneven chunks and slices that I layered on the tart sloppily, due to frustration, shoving a piece here, and another piece there. In the meantime, my grainy mousse started to ooze over the side, encapsulating the meringue tart shell like The Blob.

My chocolate pavlova was now drooping and sinking - exactly like the robot kid’s face in AI- Artificial Intelligence when he ate spinach (I think I’m the only person in the world who actually liked that movie).

Even after all of this, and even though I’m not a huge chocolate on chocolate person, it still tasted great, and the mascarpone cream with the creme anglaise base was to die for.  I’m dumping the leftover cream in my ice cream maker as soon as I get this tardy post up!

I had a much better ‘aesthetic’ result with the authentic pavlova recipe, although letting them sit overnight mottled the texture a little. I suppose you could say they sort of shriveled.  I made snowballs, and not just any snowballs, but pearl lustre dusted snowballs filled with white chocolate chantilly cream, passion fruit curd, little spheres of papaya and champagne mango (use a melon baller), which is the best mango ever. and chopped pistachio.  I used a regular sized ice cream scoop to form  perfect, fluffy, glossy meringue balls, pressing the back of a slightly wet spoon into each ball to make a well for fillings.

For the pearly look (which you can’t really see in the photos), I mixed some pearl lustre dust with a little almond extract and brushed it lightly over each ball after they baked and cooled.  Come to think of it, I don’t think the almond extract was needed because some kind of chemical reaction occured between the meringue and extract took place, giving my balls a pinkish hue.  Brushing it on dry probably would have been better. Live and learn.

For the recipe for Francois Payard’s Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse and Mascarpone Cream, click HERE,  To see the lovely creations by other Daring bakers, click on the links to their blogs, HERE.

Since fresh passion fruit is currently unavailable in my area, I used the above frozen passion fruit pulp.  It lent extraordinary flavor to the curd.  As fresh as you can get with frozen.

Pavlova Snowballs
4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch, sifted
passion fruit curd (recipe follows)
white chocolate chantilly cream (recipe follows)
6 to 9 balls of fresh papaya -use a melon scoop
6 to 9 balls of fresh mango – use a melon scoop
chopped pistachios

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy.  Start adding the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until you’ve used it all up.  Keep beating until stiff peaks have formed.

2. Add the vinegar, vanilla and sifted cornstarch and just beat until it is incorporated.  Preheat the oven to 225F.

3. On a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet, using an ice cream scoop, scoop 6 to 9  (depending on size of your scoop) meringue snowballs of the meringue onto the sheet, about 1-inch apart.  Wet a spoon, and with the back of the spoon, press the top of each ball to make wells, cleaning off and wetting the spoon for each one.

4.  Bake for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and let sit in the closed oven for another hour.

6.  When ready to serve, fill each snowball with passion fruit curd and white chocolate chantilly cream, then top each one with 1 papaya ball and one mango ball.  Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Passion Fruit Curd
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh passion fruit pulp, OR frozen passion fruit pulp
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
5 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS:
1. In the top of a double boiler, whisk egg yolks, sugar, hot juice, salt, and lemon Juice.

2. Cook over boiling water 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly, or until mixture thickens and you can draw a line through the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Cool 3-4 minutes, stirring several times.

3. Stir in butter, one tablespoon at a time, until melted in. Press plastic wrap on top of curd and let come to room temperature.  Chill for several hours in the fridge for best results.

Chocolate Mascarpne (or cream cheese) Mousse
1 1/2 cups (355 mls) heavy cream
9 ounces (255 grams) good quality chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone cheese (I’ve made this using cream cheese instead of the mascarpone and it’s just as good – use 1 and 1/2 bars of cream cheese (12 oz), softened)
pinch of nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place 1/2 cup of the heavy cream 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.

2. Put the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low speed for 1 minute until the mascarpone is loose. Do not overbeat, as the mascarpone will break. Mix about a quarter of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble your pavlovas or ready to serve as a dessert on its own.  If you refrigerate it for a long time..the mousse will firm up.  Do not beat it.  Let it come to room temperature then stir it and serve.

White Chocolate Chantilly
3 ounces best-quality white chocolate, very finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:
1.  Heat the cream on in a sauce pan over medium heat until it starts to boil.  Pour over chopped white chocolate in a bowl.  Let sit for 1 minute.

2. Stir the cream and white chocolate until combined and no lumps remain.  Let come to room remperature than cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until cold.

3. Whip the cream until soft peaks form.


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What beautiful little feet you have, Miss Macaron!

October 28, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Cookies, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Fruit | 89 Comments
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The spring and summer of ’08 was when it all started.

I was a newbie feeling my way around the blogosphere, and I kept encountering these colorful, little round sandwich cookies with feet.  I knew what they were, but I was oddly fascinated by the popularity of these sweeties, and also quite fascinated with the myriad of discussions pertaining to these babies, and the challenges that came with executing them perfectly.  Smooth, even shells and FEET were apparently crucial to achieving the ultimate beauty of a French macaroon aka macaron, and people seemed to tear their hair out over it.  Soon, I was to become one of those people.

macaronmaking

Now, I know summer isn’t the best time to tackle macarons, because I spent two months or more, on and off, trying to execute these darling, little cookies, and come summer, the humidity left me with flat-chested bitches with lopsided feet (one thing I must admit, I always got feet, no matter how ugly they were).

My kitchen was strewn with baking sheet after baking sheet, different colored little mounds of drying macaron batter along with failed attempt after attempt. Containers of aging egg whites were lined up like soldiers, and streaks of tant pour tant (the finely ground amalgamation of almond meal/flour and confectioner’s sugar) across the floor, marred by perfect kitty paw prints.  I had egg white in my hair, my fingers were every color of the rainbow, and disposable pastry bags were the main component of my garbage can.  After that fiasco, I thought to myself,

“NEVER AGAIN..these are a major pain in the ass!  I’ll just buy them, and kudos to those bloggers who mastered them, because dammmn, they are mega-bitchy cookies – cookies in a permanent state of PMS!”

You can see some of my VERY mediocre results (and bad photos) starting HERE.  I’m only sending you there because of the cool flavors. ;D

Well, well, well..wouldn’t you know it, this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge just so happened to be macarons.  Now I had no choice, I had to do lunch with the bitch…and dinner, and breakfast and..umm, well, she had to live wth me for a while..even though she left one hell of a mess the last time she stayed over.  ARGH!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S of Baking without Fear. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.  Thanks, Ami!

macaroncollage

I decided to start with Pierre Hermes’ famous Ispahan macaron.  Am I freakin’ crazy?  After all I went through that fateful summer, was I really going to attempt to construct the Grand Dame of macarons when there was a good chance my shells wouldn’t turn out?  Yep, because as most of you know or have realized by now..I can never keep things simple.  Well, in the case of Mizzz Ispahan, I was going to actually make it simple – hard to believe, huh?  I decided to ditch the raspberry gelee center and use raspberry jelly instead – as in the stuff in the jar.  Why not?  Does it really have to be a perfect cube of perfectly set raspberry gelee?  It tastes the same for chrissake..so, that’s my attempt at simplifying my life via taking shortcuts.

However, I do not want any rose essence, rose oil, rose water, rose anything in my baked goods.  Why, you ask?  Because rose tastes likes a baby smells.  So does lavender (scented grandma), violet and all other flower essences that many love to add to baked goods, to me anyway.  Leave the flowers for looking at, smelling, and guilty husbands, thank you – just keep them out of my mouth.  Alright, now we’re getting somewhere.

ispahan2

The Ispahan in front was made using Claudia’s recipe/method.  The small ones in back, Helen’s.  Notice the difference?  Flat with bad feet, to puffed with nice feet.

Thing is, I’ve seen so many different versions of the lovely, but mighty Ispahan, that I wasn’t sure which road to take.  I decided to go with Trissa’s (of Trissalicious) Ispahan, and well, it’s written as Pierre Hermes’ recipe, so, why not?  Plus, her Ispahan looked so gorgeous, I couldn’t resist, even though I knew mine wouldn’t come close.

Trissa’s filling is a lychee-white chocolate -rose ganache.  Others I have seen call for a rose-lychee buttercream..and yet another, a raspberry-rose buttercream.  Well, WHICH IS IT?  I didn’t think deep thought was appropriate here, considering I needed to just focus on how I wanted to make this beeeotch of a cookie.  I love white chocolate..love lychee – subtract the damn rose scented whatever, and I’m all set.  I treated some fresh raspberries with pectin, then dried them in my oven for about 10 hours, grinding them into a powder when they were completely dry.  Perfect topping for my soon to be imperfect Ispahan.

lemonthyme2

Remember when I said I was going to make things simple for once?  Scratch that.  I ended up making several flavors, leaving most everything to the last minute.  Fooled you all, didn’t I?  Actually, I fooled myself too.  Here are the macarons I decided to make..

  • Ispahan, as mentioned above, in which my mac shells for the large ones baked flat and looked awful.  NO DO OVERS, it’ll have to do.
  • Lemon-thyme shells with a Swiss meringue filling
  • Pumpkin
  • Chocolate shells with vanilla swirls, dots, stripes and squiggles on top (wasn’t quite sure if it would work, but it did!) – filled with white chocolate ganache.
  • Vanilla shells with chocolate swirls, dots, stripes and squiggles on top, some filled with chocolate ganache, some filled with Nutella.
  • Chocolate shells with cocoa nibs, filled with cocoa nib spiked buttercream
  • 100% Vanilla.  Vanilla sugar and beans in the shells, vanilla bean buttercream filling – topped with vanilla sugar.  I’m definitely a vanilla gal to the highest degree.

Why does it seem like this entry is missing something..OH, that’s right, I haven’t whined about a problem yet.  Here was the problem….the recipe Ami provided, by Claudia Fleming, did not result in an aesthetically pleasing macaron for me.  I used her recipe for most of my Ispahans – which was a mistake, since those were the ones I really wanted to turn out lovely (Hey, what did I know?  However, I wasn’t going to make another batch of large pink shells, so that was that).  The method she uses requires oven drying, then baking in lieu of air drying then baking.  I really tried..tried everything, but I kept pulling out sheet after sheet of uneven feet, and shells that flattened in certain areas once cooled.  No idea what I did wrong, but I truly believe it’s the recipe or method, because I chose to use Helen’s (of Tartelette) recipe for all the other macaron flavors, and they turned out gorgeous!!  Smooth, silky shells, beautiful, perfect feet..chewy on the inside, delicately crispy on the outside etc.  Why didn’t I use Helen’s recipe in the Summer of ’08?  Well, factoring in the humidity, those probably wouldn’t have turned out either, so I won’t bash myself in the head over it.

pumpkin

Even though I went overboard as usual and once again ended up with egg white and tant pour tant in my hair, colorful fingers, sheets of piped macarons drying all over my kitchen, this time it was well worth it.  Miss Macaron, you have an open invitation to stay at my place any time you’d like, and you can thank Helen for that.  I’m even considering doing Macaron a Month entries at this rate.  So many cool flavor combos to explore!

Macarons – Claudia Fleming
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.

2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.

4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.

5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).

6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.

7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield: 10 dozen. Ami’s note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons.

Pumpkin Filling
2 oz room temperature cream cheese
2 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup canned or fresh cooked and pureed pumpkin
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a bowl, beat together both cheeses.  Add pumpkin, the sugar and spice.  Mix until smooth and uniform.  Chill for about an hour or so.

2.  Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, then pipe onto every other macaron shell (tinted with powdered or gel orange food color) and sandwich with another macaron shell.

Major Lisa Tip:  I found I ended up with much smoother shells and more even feet when I let the tant pour tants sit out, uncovered overnight to dry, as opposed to folding it into the beaten egg whites right after grinding.  It definitely has to do with the oils in the almonds, and the moisture content.  I HIGHLY recommend preparing your tant pour tants the night before macaron making, colored or not.

Check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll for some more amazing macarons by my fellow Daring Bakers!


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