Sunday, June 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

Pavlovas was this month Daring Bakers' challenge, more specific Chocolate pavlovas filled with a chocolate mousse. This dessert is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova and probably originated in New Zealand. The base is a meringue which is crisp on the outside, but still chewy on the inside. It is usually topped with whipped cream and various fruits. I made a version with berries last year.

The chocolate mousse is very rich and pairs very good with strawberries. I was lucky that just this weekend the fields for picking your own berries opened. Those self picked berries are always the best and half always go to my tummy right away. It was a very nice dessert, but I think for next time I would probably just make one of the chocolate components, as they were really rich.

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 Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
adapted from Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard

Chocolate Meringue:

3 large egg whites
110 g white granulated sugar
30 g confectioner’s (icing) sugar
30 g Dutch processed cocoa powder

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 95° Celsius (200° F) degrees. Line a baking sheet 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.

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:

355 ml heavy cream
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
250 g bittersweet chocolate (72%), chopped
390 ml mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Put 120 ml 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 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.

Mascarpone Cream:

1 recipe crème anglaise
120 ml mascarpone
2 tbsp  Sambucca
120 ml 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.

Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above):

235 ml whole milk
235 ml heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
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 the mascarpone cream or serve it on the side. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!
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