3 Tips to Save a Swiss Meringue Buttercream that has Run Amuck

All hail the supreme cake icing: Swiss Meringue Buttercream! Is it new to you? Learn it’s history, advantages, and make this buttercream recipe like a pro with these 3 tips if the icing goes berserk!

One of my weaker skills in the kitchen is cake decorating. I am not a natural and I have ventured little into serious cake decorating business. I decided to do something about it and give it a real try. Now before you can really give cake decorating a try, you have to start off with the right icing. There are many options but the uncontested icing for serious cake decoration is the Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe.

icing with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Import/Export : Unique Cooking Theatre

Friday evening after work I met up with The Montreal Friends Meetup Group for a unique event: a short street performance based on cooking comedy.

It was presented by the Nomades Urbains Troup. Two inventors of misunderstood genius whip up a personalized catering service that is unique in the restaurant world. On the menu: burlesque cuisine, pyrotechnical sauté, culinary chemistry and juggling fusion. A spectacular chef’s-tasting menu for the senses.

I took lots of silly pictures with my cellphone…hope it makes you laugh a bit. We did all walk away with our mouth stuffed with a meringue or 2…alas it was a horrible egg-y tasting one…perhaps part of the humor lol.

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Have Pavlova, Will Travel

I decided to use this month’s Baker’s Challenge was my father’s birthday dessert. The recipe itself was easy to do and pretty quick if you multi-task. But I faced quite an unusual challenge. I recently had major water damage in my apartment and I could not receive my parents for dinner at my place as my entire bedroom was spread over the living room and dining area. So my mom offered to cook and I was to bring dessert.

Pavlova does not travel well. I was super careful in the bus and subway, obsessively, to not bump the fragile meringue anywhere as to not break it. That was a success. But the problem I did have was wrapping it. Meringue will absorb humidity if it can. I could not prevent this unfortunately and when I finally made it that night at my parents the meringue, although still OK, was nowhere near its perfection out of the oven. But hey it still tasted awesome.

Oups…forgot to take pics while preparing it (preoccupied with renovations) and I forgot my camera so best I had was my camera phone…so pics are not great.

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.

Preparation time: The recipe can be made in one day although there are several steps involved.

  • While the pavlovas are baking, the crème anglaise should be made which will take about 15 minutes.
  • While it is cooling, the chocolate mascarpone mousse can be made which will take about 15 minutes.
  • There will be a bit of a wait time for the mascarpone cream because of the cooling time for the Crème Anglaise.
  • If you make the Crème Anglaise the day before, the dessert should take about 2 hours including cooking time for the pavlovas.

Recipe 1: 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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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!)
  5. Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe 2: Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):

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
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.

Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):

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

Directions:

  1. 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.

Recipe 4: Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above):

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

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
  2. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Assembly:
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.