So earlier this month I posted my Daring Cooks Challenge results and now it’s time for my first ever Daring Bakers challenge! I joined Daring Bakers because I like baking but I don’t often push myself to make things beyond my comfort zone (macaron-making excluded). This is a good way to try a few new baked goods. Like chocolate pavlovas.
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
Now, I’ve made something similar to pavlovas before (check it out here) and loved them so I was excited when I saw what the challenge was. Then I read through the directions. So many steps! I had to make the meringues, make the mouse, make creme anglaise. AND since I’m a masochist I elected to make my own mascarpone. I mean mascarpone is expensive stuff (at least $9 a tub!) and it sounded easy to make so I figured why not.
I had a plan of attack. Day 1, make mascarpone. Day 2 , make creme anglaise and meringues. Day 3, make mousse and mascarpone cream. Seemed reasonable enough. That is until my “roommate” broke my candy thermometer right before I was ready to make the mascarpone. Go figure. Needless to say Day 2 had a lot going on. Nothing was that hard to make or entirely that time-consuming. The issue for me was that a lot of this stuff was new for me and I wasn’t quite sure how this would all go down.
Luckily there weren’t too many problems along the well. The mascarpone took longer than anticipated because I couldn’t get the cream to the right temperature. Then the recipe I used didn’t make enough mascarpone (I ended up subbing in some ricotta for the remainder). Oh, and I didn’t have Grand Marnier and didn’t want to buy it so I used Brandy instead. AND I didn’t add the cream to my mascarpone cream. Other than that the whole process went really smoothly.
I made these as part of a book club/ dinner party that I hosted and it was a success (if I do say so myself!). The contrast in texture between the crunchy meringues and the airy mousse was great. I loved the booziness of the mouse and the sweetness of the mascarpone cream.
All in all a very elegant dessert that while time-consuming was worth the effort.
Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
Recipe 1: Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):
3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
- 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 ½ 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)
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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