June was a busy month for me, so as you might have noticed, I didn't have time to post (or make) the Daring Bakers' challenge. I have already done the July challenge though. But that's still a secret!
Reading about the challenge was the first time in my life I had ever heard about Pavlova. In case you haven't either, it's a dessert and it's named after the ballet dancer Ana Pavlova. It was created in Australia or New Zealand (it's still not clear where) when the dancer was on tour there. The dessert has a meringue base and can be decorated with whipped cream and fruit, or, as in this case, with chocolate.
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.
Chocolate Meringue (for the Pavlova)
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
1/4 cup (30 grams) confectioners sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200°F (95°C). Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper 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 tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form (the whites should be firm but moist).
- Sift the confectioners' 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.
- Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base)
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) heavy cream
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 ml) mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 ml) Grand Marnier or orange juice
- Put 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whish 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 1/4 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.
1 recipe creme anglaise
1/2 cup (120 ml) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 ml) Sambucca (optional)
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- Prepare the creme 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.
|Pavlova with the still-liquid-mousse|
Creme Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream)
1 cup (235 ml) whole milk
1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75 g) 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 1/2 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 mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioners' sugar and fresh fruit if desired.
|Pavlova with hardened mousse|
Where to start with this one? I had some difficulties baking the meringue base, although it was one of the easiest batters to pipe. The problem was that the recipe doesn't say exactly how long you have to bake it and I was making pavlovas for the first time in my life, so I didn't know what they were supposed to look and taste like. I baked them for 2 hours and then turned off the oven because they seemed dry. And I was right; they were really dry, right to the core. I'm not sure that's how they are supposed to be. I made them from two egg whites and there were six pavlovas, so if you make them from 3 egg whites there are going to be 9.
The chocolate mascarpone mousse took some time to harden, but the taste was quite good. However, when I was making the Creme Anglaise, I only used the remaining two yolks, because I didn't want to end up with spare egg whites in the fridge. In the end I was left with a whole cup of the mascarpone cream which is supposed to be for drizzling. Right now I'm not sure I understand what drizzling really means. I could ''drizzle'' this cream on 30 pavlovas and I still don't know if that would use it all up. So I'm left wondering, what would happen if I made 3 times as much (if I used six egg yolks)? I'm really glad I didn't. Overall, this was quite an expensive dessert, the most expensive I have ever done. Luckily I only made 1/3 of it. I was a little disappointed by the Pavlova, since I expected something so heavenly, but nevertheless, it wasn't bad. If I ever make it again, I'll try the original, not-chocolate one.
Approximate cost: 15.70 €