Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

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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


For those of you unfamiliar with Pavlovas (like me), they are meringue based desserts that are common in Australia and New Zealand. They are normally meringue disks, filled with whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit.

The real challenge for this is, of course, the meringue. Vegan meringue has been tried by many and with most people not having the best results. Julie Hasson is one of the nice vegan folks who worked really hard to come up with a meringue recipe that really works. I can’t post this recipe because it is on the membership side of her website, Everyday Dish. I use her recipes all the time and I have to say it’s definitely worth getting the membership!


Meringue recipe whipping in my stand mixer.


Meringue all whipped up and ready to go. I folded in 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder into the meringue and put in a piping bag with a large star tip.


Piped out meringue on parchment paper. This part was allot of fun to do and it tasted like chocolate marshmallow!


I baked the meringues at 200° overnight. They kind of remind me of the mad scientist experiments I did as a kid with chocolate chips and marshmallows in the microwave! They still felt really soft to the touch in the oven, but as soon as I took them out, they instantly hardened. They ended up being very crispy, but not in the light and airy way that meringues are. Not perfect, but definitely a really good start to having meringues!

I also made crème anglaise from the book Passionate Vegetarian. The recipe is really delicious and is a great dessert sauce. I mixed a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder with a cup of the crème anglaise for a second sauce.

The last item I made was chocolate mousse. This is my all time favorite chocolate mousse recipe that you would never guess is dairy-free! I’ve used it as a filling in cakes or just as is. It is absolutely wonderful stuff! I normally sub out the amaretto for more chocolate soy milk and it works great.


Here is the final product! A chocolate meringue disk with piped on chocolate mousse, on top of vanilla & chocolate crème anglaise, with sliced mango, kiwi and a raspberry. Very good stuff! It tasted wonderful and I am really happy with the end result.

Sorry for the lack of posts and this very late Daring Bakers post! I will be posting the Daring Cooks Challenge in a couple of days!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Daring Cooks: Enchiladas!

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Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

To make this challenge vegan, I decided to make the Potato-Chickpea Enchiladas with Green Tomatillo Sauce and Pine Nut Crema from Viva Vegan. This cookbook is by one of my favorite vegan authors, Terry Hope Romero. She is a co-author of some of the vegan bibles I refer to all the time: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Veganomicon and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

This was my first Daring Cook’s challenge and it was full of firsts for me! Before this, the closest that I got to cooking Mexican food was lazy nachos and guacamole. I knew absolutely nothing about it, but this is the exact reason why I decided to join the Daring Cooks! I was way out and of my comfort zone and that’s a good thing sometimes.


Green Tomatillo Sauce

My adventure began at New Season’s Market trying to figure out the strange world of tomatillos and chiles. Lucky for me, the produce lady was nice enough help pick out the tomatillos and chiles. She said the tomatillos should be firm & free of defects and the chiles should be wrinkle free and firm. Viva Vegan calls for jalapenos, but Dinoff is a bit of a baby when it comes to spices, so, I used Anaheim chiles.

To clean tomatillos: Remove the husks and wash well in warm water.


They have a soapy film to them, so make sure you rinse them until the skins feel smooth and squeaky clean.


Boil the tomatillos in a large pot for about ten minutes, until they start to split or turn olive green. Let cool for 20 minutes.


Blend the tomatillos (and their juices), garlic, chiles, onion and parsley until smooth. Viva Vegan calls for cilantro, but I happen to be a serious hater of cilantro! Parsley seemed to work fine for me and made it a pretty green color.


Heat up peanut oil and bring the sauce to a boil. Add veggie broth and simmer until the sauce thinly coats the back of a spoon. Stir in sugar & salt and set aside. Unfortunately, the pretty color goes away after cooking, but it is still really tasty. This sauce tastes exactly like I’ve had in Mexican restaurants!


Pine Nut Crema

The Pine Nut Crema is creamy and delicious! It bakes to a cheesy sauce texture, kind of similar to a ricotta. I think it will also go well with a tomato sauce. It’s really good stuff!

Blend silken tofu, pine nuts, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cornstarch and salt until smooth, scraping down the blender often. Season with salt & lime juice to taste and set aside.


Potato-Chickpea Enchilada Filling

Roast the chiles in a 400° oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the skin blackens and they collapse. Put on a plate and cover with plastic wrap for ten minutes.peppers

Remove skins and finely chop.


Dice yellow potatoes and boil until a fork easily pierces a piece. Drain and set aside.


In a large skillet or pot, heat up peanut oil with garlic. Add roasted chiles, onion, oregano and cumin. Cook until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add veggie broth, cooked potatoes, smashed chickpeas and salt. Cook until most of the broth has been removed. Mash the potatoes to create a chunky texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The filling is really good on it’s own. I could easily eat it as is!


Assembling the Enchiladas

Lightly oil a large casserole dish and spread some of the Green Tomatillo Sauce on the bottom. Place some more of the sauce in a pie plate. Drop a tortilla (I used flour tortillas) in the pie plate and coat both sides with sauce. Place the saucy tortilla in the casserole dish and spoon on 3-4 tablespoons of the filling down the center of the tortilla. Roll up tightly and continue with the rest of the tortillas, placing them tightly in a single layer. Pour about a cup of the sauce over the enchiladas and save the rest to serve later.


Spoon generous dollops of Pine Nut Crema on top of the enchiladas. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the tortillas are slightly browned. Here they are right before baking:


I must confess, since becoming a vegan almost five years ago, I have not been thrilled with my vegan Mexican food options. Now I know, I just need to get off my lazy butt and make it myself! This dish is exactly what I’ve been wanting! The enchiladas are really filling and just plain awesome!


This ended up taking a huge portion of my day, but the payoff was totally worth it. Dinoff was even a big fan of it! I wish I had some more even as I am typing this! IMG_4391

Terry Hope Romero suggests making everything over the course of three nights and that is probably the way I will go next time. There will be a next time very, very soon!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Daring Bakers: Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Tiramisu used to be one of my all-time favorite desserts. What’s not to love about it? A fluffy, creamy filling with espresso soaked ladyfingers/cake and a hint of just a little bit of rum or marsala. Yes, please! Unfortunately, this is normally a rare treat in the vegan world. I made tiramisu once at school, but of course, it wasn't vegan. This is something I’ve been wanting to tackle for a while now.

Since tiramisu is a rare thing for me, I decided to make two flavors: traditional and chocolate caramel. I used the Tira Mi Su recipe from Urban Vegan and used marsala wine instead of brandy. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this book and after making this kick ass recipe, I will definitely be buying this book! This recipe is pretty simple, easy to follow and down right delicious! This will be a special occasion recipe for me because the ingredients are a bit expensive, but definitely worth it!

And now for brown pic mania. Sorry about the bad lightning!


Traditional Tiramisu


Bake sponge cake and cool on cooling rack. I forgot to take pics of the cake process! Whoopsie!


Cut the sponge cake into circles using a cookie cutter or cup. Slice the cakes in half length wise.


Whip Soyatoo! and set aside. This stuff is amazing! I cannot believe how similar it is to whipped cream!


Whip Tofutti cream cheese, marsala wine, sugar and vanilla until smooth and well combined.


Gently fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Remove half of the whipped mixture and set aside for the chocolate caramel tiramisu.


Pour espresso in a bowl and quickly soak cakes.


Transfer cakes to ramekins or cups and spread the yummy whipped filling on top. Set aside to decorate.


Chocolate Caramel Tiramisu


I used this vegan caramel recipe from A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise blog. While I do prefer a more traditional caramel recipe without using brown sugar, this recipe was super fast and simple to make.

Melt Earth Balance in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir until combined.


Add creamer and stir. I used coconut creamer and it worked great!


Bring liquid to a boil and boil for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.


Remove from heat. Add a slurry of arrowroot and creamer. Stir constantly until well combined and set aside until cooled to room temp.


Sift one tablespoon of cocoa powder to the saved whipped filling. Silly me, I forgot to sift! Add two tablespoons of caramel sauce. Gently fold until combined.


Add espresso soaked sponge cake and caramel to a ramekin. Smooth chocolate whipped filling on top and set aside.


Smooth tiramisu tops with a cake spatula.


I bought these handy little cake stencils at Ikea. Place the stencil on top of the tiramisu and sift cocoa powder until covered. Slowly remove the stencil. The tiramisu sticks a little bit to the stencil, but it still looks pretty cool.


For a cool little trick on your plate, place a spoon on a white plate. Arrange paper towels or parchment paper next to the spoon. Sift cocoa powder on top to cover the spoon and the exposed part of the plate.


The end result is decadent and freakin’ delicious! This recipe will definitely fool any omni and is just incredible! Dinoff is not a coffee drinker, and even he loved it!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Recipe Testing!!!

Earlier this month, I started testing recipes for a vegan baking book! It is tentatively titled “Vegan Bakesale”. So far, everything has been tasty and delicious!

Dinoff has been talking for years about missing the little baby sausages wrapped in puff pastry that he grew up eating as a kid. He even wrote to Tofurky requesting them! Needless to say, he was extremely excited when I told him about this recipe: Mini Sausage Rolls! This was my first time making any type of seitan and it was so easy! I don’t know why I’ve been scared about this all these years.

The end product is tasty sausages wrapped in flaky puff pastry dough. So, so good! Of course we had to eat it with vegan fancy sauce and creamy dijon.



These pretty little gems are Pinkilicious cookies! They are delicious, chewy and flavored with rosewater. Rosewater is a new ingredient for me and I have to say, I love it!


Gingered Chocolate Chip Cookies! Chewy and tasty!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Mom's Birthday Cake!

My Mom requested a chocolate raspberry cake for her birthday, so, of course I had to go with the raspberry blackout cake from VWAV. This lush and decadent dessert has four layers of cake with chocolate mousse, ganache, fresh raspberries and was wrapped in a chocolate band. This is one of the best tasting cakes I have ever made! It was rich and delicious!

To make the chocolate band, I followed directions similar to this; except I used a cake comb and a mixture of white & dark chocolate to get the striped sides.

I made modeling chocolate and molded the chocolate roses by hand. I also topped the cake with fresh raspberries and piped ganache.