(Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.)

This month was a dessert I’d never heard of before – San Rival.  It’s Filipino – layers of meringue with nuts, separated with layers of buttercream.  I did both the meringues and buttercream in chocolate. 

The base started with 10 egg whites. They got beaten with a cup of sugar and a bit of cocoa.  Once they get to stiff peaks, a cup of finely chopped nuts gets folded in.  The recipe calls for cashews, but I had walnuts, so I used those.

The layers get baked in cake pans.  The recipe was written for one large "cake", but I thought they’d be cute as mini desserts. So I baked them in layers:

IMG_6011 IMG_6013

Then took a biscuit cutter and cut out small circles of each layer.  Other people said their layers came out too crunchy for cutting, but mine were only very crunchy around the edges.  I could have baked them longer, but I liked the texture as they were.

On to the buttercream.  I’ve made buttercream a lot, and so I knew what to expect.  I beat the eggs, cooked the sugar, poured it in slowly, let it cool, and added the butter.  I don’t even get nervous anymore when it looks just about to break – I just let it settle.

 IMG_6014

I had fresh eggs, which had very yellow yolks, so my buttercream came out pretty cream-colored.  At the very end, I added 2 ounces of melted and cooled chocolate.

Then the assembly. I stacked the meringues, piped the buttercream on them, and sprinkled walnuts on top:

IMG_6016

A whole plate:

IMG_6017

They came out really good. I like this buttercream recipe better then my current one – it’s much lighter.  Vanilla meringues with the chocolate filling would look impressive, too.  This one is going into my rotation for guest nights!

( see the recipe )

Chocolate Pavlovas

Sometimes, I bake because I want a snack.  Sometimes, I bake because I see something that looks interesting to try.  And sometimes I bake because I feel like spending a whole day baking.

This is one of those all-day-baking recipes.  It’s originally from the Daring Bakers June Challenge, but I wasn’t a Daring Baker, so I didn’t see it until the end of June, and didn’t made it until the end of July. 

It really was an all-day recipe.  I got up early to get the meringue bases in the oven before it got too humid.  I’ve made meringues before, but usually around Christmas, and never flavored.  Getting the cocoa powder folded into the eggs was a pain, but I got there eventually.  I piped them into rounds, and they went in the oven for 3 hours. 

Even without the rest of the recipe, the meringues were good to munch on their own.  I kept thinking they’d make a great base for ice cream sandwiches.

While they were baking, I made the creme anglaise.  It wasn’t particularly difficult – it’s just basically a custard.  After it cooled, it got thinned with a bit more mascarpone cheese and some heavy cream, to make it suitable for drizzling.

I waited until the meringues were out of the oven and cooling before I started on the mousse.  I didn’t know you could whip mascarpone cheese to soft peaks, but it does work!  Once it was done, it was easy to just pipe the mousse onto the meringues, and dribble it with the cream.

I’d make this again, although maybe not all together unless I was looking for an impressive “having people over for dinner” dessert.  I didn’t think the drizzled cream added much besides looks.  The mousse was wonderful, though, and will become my default chocolate mousse recipe.  And the meringues will make an amazing base for all sorts of things.  In fact, I think I have some leftover vanilla ice cream in my freezer right now…

( See the recipe )