Daring Bakers: Palm Sugar and Brown Sugar Meringues

June 27, 2010

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Chocolate Pots de Crème with vanilla chantilly and brown sugar meringue

I’m sure fellow Aussies/New Zealanders would understand my confusion when I first checked this month’s Daring Bakers challenge, which listed Chocolate ‘Pavlovas’ with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. What I saw from the challenge photos were in Australian culture, meringues. As in baked-all-the-way-through crispy meringues.

In case you were wondering, pavlovas are usually more of a thick meringue cake with a crispy exterior and squidgy marshmallowy centre and traditionally topped with whipped cream and fruit. But whichever name it went by, the challenge meant another attack on my egg white stash, which has now thankfully wilted down to 9. Yes that’s right folks, my notorious 64 egg white hoard has officially disappeared to more deserving hands and I feel almost 2kg lighter!

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Crumbled palm sugar meringue on roasted pineapple with a palm sugar and coconut caramel, white tapioca pearls and burnt honey ice cream


Now I confess, I have a weird relationship with meringue. I don’t hate it but I don’t like it either. And I’m not a fan of marscarpone unless it was blindingly disguised with coffee and an obscene amount of liqueur a la Tiramisu. So I admit, the host’s recipe, originally by Francois Payard, just didn’t appeal to me so I had to find a way to incorporate the essence of the challenge – meringue and something uh, creamy – into a dessert that’s not going to scare my fickle tastebuds.

First I was inspired by a recent dessert of Brown Sugar Pavlova that I had at Mumu Grill in Sydney, which so far, has been the only time I ate pavlova and actually liked it. And then with the onset of depressing blistering weather, I was desperate for a taste of summer so I thought I’d try out a meringue made with palm sugar or gula melaka. Sounded good on paper until I took out my rock hard palm sugar cylinders, which were more lethal stone weaponry than anything edible. But the cold weather can only mean that the sugar was in no danger of softening or melting so out came my weapon par excellence – my microplane grater. I worked my chicken arms right off grating enough for the recipe and then I whizzed it through the food processor to get it ultra fine and then partied on.

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So with the Palm Sugar meringues, I crumbled it and sprinkled it over roasted caramelised pineapple batons, a palm sugar and coconut caramel slick, white tapioca pearls and a scoop of burnt honey ice cream (that would be the weird, melting gulag sitting atop the pineapple). The pineapple was roasted by sprinkling it with brown sugar and chucking it in the oven until it’s burnished and golden. Unfortunately at that moment, my dog decided to give me a hard time so I forgot about it for 5 minutes and it got a little too browned on the bottom. Oops! Anyhow, the refreshing tartness of the fruit was heavenly with its sweet acompaniments and the palm sugar gave both the meringue and caramel a warm toasty flavour. Plus the tapioca pearls were just too fun – sticky, gelatinous, toothsome – it’s a chewy party in my mouth! Next time though, I think a coconut ice cream would give it a more summery kick, rather than the burnt honey. Nevertheless, it’s deliciously tropical.

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Now if you had to separate fresh eggs, what to do with the leftover egg yolks? Simple! No-bake pot de crèmes or chocolate pots, which you can top with a vanilla chantilly and meringue ‘nub’ (heh I like that word now… nub). With this batch, I couldn’t be arsed grating any more palm so I replaced it with average-joe brown sugar a la Mumu and a hit of orange rind (hello Microplane, how I love thee!). These chocolate pots are smoother, richer and denser than your average mousse but bear in mind, that the yolks aren’t cooked in it so be sure to use the freshest eggs as possible (unless you really shouldn’t have raw eggs. Er, in that case, skip it altogether).

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The original challenge recipe is after the jump in case you wanted to see it. To make the brown sugar or palm sugar version, just omit the cocoa and cornstarch, replace 70g of the white sugar with brown/palm sugar and fold in a dash of vanilla (purely optional). I’ll also leave you with the recipe for the burnt honey ice cream and chocolate pot du crèmes, just so you can try it for yourself, if you like.

Cheers to the host because what this challenge did do was incite me to actually get off my arse and make meringue for the first time. Though I did enjoy it to an extent, I just don’t find myself craving it in any shape or form. Sadly, what also happened was the whisk attachment of my hand mixer broke while I was whipping it and it sprayed meringue all over the kitchen. SIGH. We’re just not meant to be, aren’t we?

 
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.


Chocolate Pots de Crème

Adapted from Michel Roux

225g good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
3 egg yolks (from the Daring Bakers Meringue recipe below)
1.5 Tbl (22.5ml) liquid glucose / glucose syrup / light corn syrup
3 Tbl (45ml) warm water
225ml double cream

Method

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over gently simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water).

Mix the glucose and the 2 Tbl warm water to the egg yolks, then mix into the melted chocolate.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it has reached ribbon consistency and gently fold into the chocolate mixture, without overmixing.

Pour into the glasses or ramekins and refrigerate for about an hour berfore serving. If it has chilled for too long, sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes prior to serving. Top with extra cream and brown sugar meringue if you wish (recipe below).


Burnt Honey Ice cream

Adapted from Gourmet Traveller

150g honey
600ml pouring cream (35% fat content)
150ml milk
6 egg yolks
30g caster sugar

Method

Cook honey in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat until caramelised (about 7-8 minutes). Remove from heat, add the cream and milk (be careful because the mixture will spit and foam up), then return to the heat and stir until it just comes to the boil.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thickened. Pour cream mixture over and whisk to combine.

Return to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon (6-7 minutes). Strain into a bowl placed over ice and cool completely, then freeze in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes about 1 litre.


As written by Daring Bakers…


Recipe 1: Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova)

3 large egg whites
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder

Directions

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.


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

1.5 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 (don’t forget we made this a few months ago – get the printable .pdf HERE)
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)

Directions

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.


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

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

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.


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.


{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany July 13, 2010 at 14:33

Oh wow, just beautiful!

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chetana July 7, 2010 at 06:24

Hey Karen, first time to ur fab page…like te palm sugar meringue…sounds fun n interesting. Love all ur clicks….very pretty.
BTW a fellow food blogger fm Melbourne.

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Amanda July 6, 2010 at 02:37

What gorgeous photo's!
And the Burnt Honey Ice cream recipe looks divine – it is going "straight to the poolroom!"

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anda July 1, 2010 at 22:07

Exquisite!!!

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Ellie July 1, 2010 at 08:13

Love both of your creations especially the grilled pineapples with palm sugar meringue.

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john@heneedsfood June 30, 2010 at 22:58

Absolute perfection. What more can I say? …. Other than I want some NOW!

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Jessica June 30, 2010 at 15:31

Beautiful pictures! I can almost taste the burnt honey and delicious, creamy marscapone'. Yum!

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Conor @ HoldtheBeef June 30, 2010 at 06:58

The roasted pineapple looks incredible. I was dreaming about the grilled whole pineapple I ate at a Brazilian bbq place in Montreal recently (well, I ate some of the pineapple, not a whole one) but this is way more worthy of my daydreams. Ahh….

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MrJackhonky June 30, 2010 at 06:14

I LOVE the idea of using palm sugar! SO awesome. i bought a bag of palm sugar ages ago and have yet to crack it open, as i wasn't sure what to do with it (other than to bake something diabetic friendly with it).

Your photos are gorgeous! I love them. And I'm glad that I'm not the only person that hordes egg whites. I have about 30+ in the freezer. Which is kind of frightening as that has meant I have used 30+ egg yolks by themselves for various things…

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@gastronomygal June 29, 2010 at 21:03

Karen- these look sooo good right now. And it's barely 7 a.m. Do I have a problem?! Possibly- because I really want one of the choco pots.

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sunita June 29, 2010 at 11:11

What a creative take on the recipe and with such gorgeous photos too. Karen, i am simply loving your take on the challenge.

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Amanda June 29, 2010 at 10:51

oh those roasted pineapple batons – sensational! Great twist on the challenge.

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Emma @CakeMistress June 29, 2010 at 04:57

Give me spoonfuls of that chocolate pot de creme over meringue anyday *drool*

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berry lovely June 28, 2010 at 21:52

Wow, what a creative approach on the challenge. I really like your plating, looks like from a very hip restaurant.

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Asha@FSK June 28, 2010 at 21:31

beautiful creation! Love your interpretation of the challenge

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pragmaticattic June 28, 2010 at 21:06

This is so sophisticated and creative in terms of combination of flavors and presentation/plating. I love how you have reconceptualized this whole dessert. Amazing!

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Aparna June 28, 2010 at 18:28

Thanks for the reply. I'm really interested in trying this out because palm sugar is something we use a lot in our cooking.
The monsson as are on here so the humidity will dissolve meringues. Once the rains stop, I'll give these a go. And will let you know how they turn out.

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nachiketa June 28, 2010 at 16:05
shaz June 28, 2010 at 14:00

Palm sugar meringues, such a great idea! I love how you managed to take the concept and run with it, my brain drew a total blank when looking at all the mandatories, so I just made it straight up. That pineapple is bee-yoo-ti-ful!

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citrusandcandy June 28, 2010 at 13:59

Hi Aparna!

From the challenge recipe, I substituted about 70g of the white sugar for palm sugar (it's not as sweet as regular sugar so had to keep some of the white in). I knew that palm sugar wouldn't break down like normal sugar so I was a little obsessive with processing it as fine as possible (I finely grated it first). I didn't notice anything different with the texture, only the taste, but that's because I pulverised it until it was almost powdery so it had no trouble dissolving into the whites :)

Let me know how you go if you do try it out! xx

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bake in paris June 28, 2010 at 10:41

This version of Palm Sugar meringues crumbles, roasted caramelised pineapple batons, a palm sugar and coconut caramel slick, white tapioca pearls and a scoop of burnt honey ice cream is simply brilliant! It is a refined dessert as I would expect to find in a six star hotel.

Sawadee from Bangkok,
Kris

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Meeta June 28, 2010 at 08:39

an awesome take on the challenge! wonderful!

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Memoria June 28, 2010 at 07:50

Wow. You are so creative. Your photography is always flawless. You did a fantastic job on this challenge.

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mlle délicieuse June 28, 2010 at 07:48

Which reminds me, I really should get off my arse and break into the Frosty ice-cream churner! =p

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Ladybird June 28, 2010 at 07:24

Dang, Karen! Those choc pots look deeeelish :) I could bathe in that chocolatey goodness..

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chef_d June 28, 2010 at 05:45

Wow I love both your versions, but I can't stop drooling–I mean looking at the chocolate pots de creme :))

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Audax Artifex June 28, 2010 at 04:31

I just love the idea of the pineapple and brown palm sugar so inspired and it looks so rich and delicious and great to hear that you mastered meringue (some what) LOL LOL. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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@bellyrumbles June 28, 2010 at 03:38

Palm sugar meringues, oh yum. Love your adaption of this month's challenge. The photos are fantastic as usual.

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Chef Dennis June 28, 2010 at 03:23

OMG….they look so good……your palm sugar meringues look amazing, and your pots de creme heavenly!! Thanks for all your hard work Karen!

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Aparna June 28, 2010 at 03:02

Love what you've done here, Karen. Absolutely beautiful. Don't like meringues either, but maybe I can take them in pavs.
The palm sugar meringues – did you get the same texture? Did you use the same amount as you would sugar? I would love to try them.

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chocolatesuze June 28, 2010 at 01:38

my soul is crying from lack of burnt honey icecream

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Laura June 27, 2010 at 23:54

holy deliciousness

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forager June 27, 2010 at 23:51

Ah I remember the brown sugar meringues at Mumu! These look amazing & so decadent & rich!

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Steph June 27, 2010 at 23:10

Karen!!! Holy crap you've outdone yourself this month! Love it all. The roasted pineapple looks insanely good.

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sasa June 27, 2010 at 20:20

Wow, you take amazing photos and I love the clean aesthetic of your blog – very inspiring ^_^

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Angelica June 27, 2010 at 19:18

LOL, thanks, Karen, for the statement on the pavlova vs. meringue! they're really 2 quite different things ;) Your palm sugar meringue looks wonderul, And love the usage of tapioca pearls, pineapple, and coconut–very tropical indeed! Great job!

And about your comment on my post– sadly, most taiwanese households don't have ovens… if they do, it's the miniature kind not the stovetop ovens. The one i have is super tiny, more suitable for just toasting bread -_-. Ahh well, i'm only back for the summer, at least ill have access to one for the rest of the year :D

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SinfulSouthernSweets June 27, 2010 at 19:10

Beautiful! Love your pics on this!

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Happy Cook June 27, 2010 at 18:40

I lov ethe glass version and what a wonderful idea of making maringu with palm sugar.

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