My First Daring Bakers Challenge: May 2011

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As a future pastry chef (still in training right now), I like to spend any free time I have in front of the computer clicking around to get new ideas and inspiration for some culinary creations. I am constantly looking for any excuse to bake – a neighbor mowed my front yard without asking if I would like him to, so he got a plate of triple chocolate chip cookies; a friend dropped by my house to feed my animals while I was working late so she got a fresh-out-of-the-oven strawberry cream cheese poundcake hand delivered; lemon burst cupcakes with swiss buttercream for a work function; red velvet layer cake for a friend’s birthday…and the list of reasons to bake goes on! So when I stumbled on this site called “The Daring Kitchen” during one of my random baking inspiration conquests, I was more than thrilled to join. Within “The Daring Kitchen” there are Daring Bakers (that’s me!) and Daring Cooks (that could be me, but baking is #1 in my world). Each month these two groups of cooks and bakers challenge each other to a new recipe. There’s no reward for the “best” one except for our inner desires to create new dishes, push ourselves to be creative and bake some amazingly tasty and unique creations we otherwsie may have never given a second glance to. So in April I signed up to be a Daring Baker, and May was my first monthly challenge…it’s a big one!

This month we were challenged by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt blogs to create a Marquise en Meringue. Sounds super French and fancy, doesn’t it? I truly had a blast making it, though it was a little time consuming, created a mound of dirty dishes and was an in-depth process. But I planned ahead for this and made it for Mother’s Day when the whole family was gathered at my house. I put the plates on the table and all I heard were big “ooooohs” and “ahhhhhs” and once everyone sunk their forks into the goodness in front of them, there were only closed eyes and big smiles on faces as everyone enjoyed each bite as slowly as possible to fully enjoy all the flavors that had combined on one plate. To try to sum up this dessert so you can visualize what it might be like….the marquise is what I would consider a frozen mousse, once it’s been out of the freezer for a few minutes, it soft, fluffy and pure joy on the tongue. The meringue is a pillowy, almost marshmallowy, pile of fluffiness quickly torched. The plate is decorated with caramel and sprinkled with spiced almonds on the side for some crunch. Also, even though I completely forgot to sprinkle the cacao nibs over the plate before the pictures were snapped, they were added before we dug our forks into them! Are your taste buds tantalized yet?

 

I learned a lot this month…since I’ve always been taught to make a new recipe exactly as it’s written before deviating and putting my own twists on it, I stayed very close to the recipe that Emma and Jenny provided. In the upcoming months, maybe I’ll be a little more adventuresome and make my own takes of the recipes. Also, you can tell I’m quite the novice when it comes to plating (which happens to be one of my biggest weaknesses in class as well) so it’s something I’ll work on practicing for future challenges. If you really want to see some great works of art, check out The Daring Kitchen, scroll to the center of the home page and you’ll see a slide show playing all the Marquise en Meringue creations from the Daring Bakers! I’ve been staring at my computer mesmerized with other people’s beautiful work and creative minds! You can also snag the recipes for these amazing treats on the home page of The Daring Kitchen.

I’ll have a Daring Baker’s post every month, so keep a look out for more fun creations!

Comments (10)

  1. Hey there, welcome to daring bakers! I’ve just joined the group myself and have been having a great time so far. Best of luck with your culinary education.

  2. Wow, how lovely. I am very impressed. Have a wonderful time working on it.
    I think I would like to try that sometime. It would be just up my alley. But right now $’s for big ingredients are rather scarce, but sometime :):).

  3. Megan, you did a terrific job on this month’s DB challenge, congratulations on finishing your first! And as a former pastry cook in training, let me tell you that you will improve only as you practice, practice, practice. That’s why Emma and I joined this group – because even though some of the challenges were downright simple for us (things we learned our first week in school), we always tried to add a new technique or gild the lily in a way that would push us harder and force us to practice. Use this forum for that. Ask questions, do your research. And by all means, improvise where you know you can.

    Thank you so much for participating in this month’s DB challenge. It was an honor and a pleasure hosting it and seeing your beautiful creation!

    • I tried to leave a comment on your blog but I kept getting an error notice, so I’ll just paste what I was trying to say here:

      Hi Jenny!

      I am a little slow getting to the comments on my first DB challenge post from May…just finished up finals earlier this week and the past couple of days I was helping make the presentation cake for the upcoming Army Birthday Ball (the benefits of living close to Wash. DC)! In any event, I saw that you left me a very sweet comment on my marquise post and I wanted to say thank you. It means so much to me to hear advice and a few words of wisdom from a pastry chef! I am so glad I joined DB and look forward to the upcoming challenges!

      By the way, your blog is fantastic! I love it 🙂

      Thanks,
      Megan (the pastry chef-in-training)

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