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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.

I was pretty excited when I saw this month’s challenge. I have seen quite a few pavlova recipes pop up on Tastespotting, and they have had my interests piqued, so this month’s challenge finally provided the perfect opportunity to put on my apron and give one a shot.

A pavlova is a meringue-based dessert that has a crisp exterior and a light, almost cotton candy-like interior. It is traditionally decorated with a topping of cream and fresh fruit. For this challenge, we were to make chocolate pavlovas topped with mascarpone mousse and drizzled with a mascarpone cream. I went dairy free with this challenge, so I adhered with the chocolate meringue recipe pretty much to the letter, but deviated in my chocolate mousse and cream recipes. I had remembered seeing a gorgeous cherry chocolate pavlova recipe over at BBC Good Food, so that served as my inspiration for this challenge. My final pavlova consisted of the chocolate meringue, a layer of cherry compote (that you can almost see poking out from under the mousse in the picture above), a layer of chocolate mousse, and a cherry almond cream for drizzling.

I have to say, I am a fan of the pavlova. I loved the contrasting crunch of the outer shell of the meringue with the soft interior of the meringue. It is overall a pretty sweet dessert, but it makes for a great indulgence on a summer day!

You can view all of my recipes after the jump.

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Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

This month was my first foray into the Daring Cooks, and I was excited to get the chance to try my hand at making pâté. Traditionally, pâté is meat-based, and often includes liver, or gizzards, or other animal parts. Luckily, our hostesses also included recipes for fish and vegetable varieties. Since pâté is not usually eaten on its own, we were also required to make a bread to accompany our pâté. While we were required to use one of the three pâté recipes provided, we were given free range to choose any bread recipe we wanted. The only other restriction was that the pâté had to be baked or refrigerated (or both) for a significant amount of time, so that it would have to be unmolded into a serving dish.

I chose to make the Tricolor Vegetable Pâté that was provided. The pâté is comprised of three different layers – a white bean layer, a red pepper layer, and a pesto layer. I decided to halve the recipe since there would only be two of us eating it. The recipe was fairly straight forward and the only trouble I ran into was when it came time to assemble the various layers for the pâté. The red pepper layer completely absorbed the pesto layer! In a moment of panic I quickly threw together the other half of the pesto recipe, thinking maybe I could just add that on top of the little pesto that was still showing. I really wanted to get the tricolor effect when the final pâté was unmolded. Unfortunately, this pesto pretty much got absorbed too, so I didn’t really achieve the tricolor presentation that I was going for. Although once the pâté was sliced, you could get a little glimpse of the tricolor action.

The bread recipe I chose to make was the 100% Whole Wheat and Flaxseed Bread recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I’m happy to say that this recipe was a total success. I actually think it was my best loaf of bread to date, and was a great accompaniment to the pâté.

You can check out both recipes after the jump.

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