Thursday, 22 August 2013

Bake Off Winner!

I love entering cooking and baking competitions because they're fun, challenge me creatively, and because I love to win! Every month for the last few months I have been entering the Food Network's Bake Off challenge and I have finally been successful and won! 

Last month's challenge was to bake Roger Mooking's Pavlova with Mango, Lychee Nuts, and Raspberries but I took a few liberties and made the dessert my own. I think that, plus how delicious my outcome was, really helped me to win. 

Check out my winning entry online at the Food Network's blog and read on for my adapted recipe. Both are delicious but I really like my decoration of a flower made out of thinly sliced mango. Thanks to Roger Mooking for a yummy recipe to adapt from and thanks to the Food Network for a great Bake Off. 

Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Mango Flowers - serves 6 - 8

1/2 cup egg whites, at room temperature (from about 4 eggs)  
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar  
1/8 teaspoon salt  
cup granulated sugar  
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch  
tablespoon raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar  
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract  
1 1/4 cups heavy cream  
1/4 cup lemon curd, purchased or homemade (recipe follows)
mango, peeled and sliced into thin ribbons
4 cherries, halved or 8 raspberries  

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and and salt until foamy. Add sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and vinegar and beat until stiff and glossy peaks form. Keep beating until the mixture doesn't feel grainy when you rub a little between your fingers.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spoon meringue mixture onto sheet in round dollops bake for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake until meringues have puffed and cracked on top and have turned a light brown, about 30 more minutes. 

4. Remove from the oven and let cool. While the pavlovas are cooling, whip the cream and stir in the lemon curd. 

5. To serve your dessert, place one pavlova on each plate, top with cream, and arrange ribbons of mango in a circle to look like a flower. Place a cherry or raspberry in the middle to complete the dish.

To make your own lemon curd, follow my easy recipe:

2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar 
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons butter

Combine egg yolks with sugar in a small saucepan. Add lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Place the saucepan on medium heat and stir until the mixture thickens slightly and will coat the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Stir butter into the curd and let cool in the fridge. - makes about 1 cup 

I don't know what's going to be in my prize box, but I know I'm excited to get it!  

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