2010-06-27

Daring Bakers June: Chocolate Pavlova



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.
Paired with fresh Swedish strawberries and cherries, this was the perfect dessert for our Midsummer's Eve dinner. Midsummer is a big deal in Sweden and there are a lot of "musts" and traditions and expectations coupled with it, which I really don't like. So we decided to do Midsummer our own way - with a delicious, untraditional dinner consisting of Atlantic catfish poached in beurre montée (recipe to come) and then the Daring Bakers challenge as dessert.

We started a few days early by making mascarpone using the recipe from the February Tiramisu challenge. The actual challenge then had four parts: chocolate meringue, chocolate mascarpone mousse and a Crème Anglaise which was used in a mascarpone cream.

The meringue recipe was really good. Besides flat meringue shells for the Pavlovas, we also made decorative choclate meringue tops. The batter held its shape very well and allowed for some really high piping.



The Crème Anglaise was easy as well. But the chocolate mousse, well that's another story...



What went wrong? We used Lindt chocolate which I believe is decent quality. Can somebody tell us why we got grainy goo and a lot of oil? Into the trash it went and we made a second attempt (good thing we had bought too much chocolate). The second try threatened to end up the same way, but somehow we saved it although it still was a bit grainy.

The mascarpone cream also looked weird to begin with but ended up fluffy and delicious. And bountiful, which means we got to dip strawberries in it today, and there is still enough left for an apple pie tomorrow!

All in all, we really liked this challenge. By themselves, the parts weren't spectacular (especially the chocolate mousse where the flavor didn't seem to match the amount of work it took), but the sum of them can be summed up in the word YUM!

Thank you Dawn! Please visit the Daring Kitchen for recipes, a look at the other Daring Bakers' creations and lots of other good stuff.



Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

Chocolate Meringue:

3 large egg whites
110 grams white granulated sugar
30 grams confectioner’s (icing) sugar
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.
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 mls heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent)
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
255 grams 72% chocolate, chopped
390 mls mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)

Put 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.

Mascarpone Cream:

1 recipe crème anglaise
120 mls mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
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.

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

235 mls whole milk
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 1 dl 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.

Assembly:
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.

9 comments:

  1. I am sorry that your first batch of chocolate went a bit wrong... I wish I had some sort of explanation for you...! Your end result looks amazing, though, and it sounds like it was worth the effort!

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  2. Hmm, not sure what happened with your chocolate. Perhaps it was too hot, which would have cooked it? I know I took the cream/zest off the heat once it was warm enough, then I added my chocolate & whisked.

    Your final dish looks fantastic though, well done.

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  3. Sorry the hear the 1st batch of chocolate wasn't the best. I read on the web that the new chocolate bars especially the high% cocoa content can be very acidic so this might be the cause. Well anyway it seems the final result was stunning and I just love those really high towers you made they look impressive. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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  4. Thank you all! Liz, yeah that was my guess too, that the cream was too hot.

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  5. That's one gorgeous looking pav. Great pairing with those sweet cherries & strawberries! Pity about the wasted Lindt ... though am glad you had another go at the recipe. Looks like it paid off!! Mmmmmm

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  6. Lovely!the meringue looks perfectly stiff.The semi-sweet chocolate chips with 60% cocoa worked fine for the mousse I made.

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  7. well despite your problems with the chocolate you managed to create a stunning dessert!! great job!

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  8. Sorry about the wasted Lindt chocolate, but your final Pavlova looks really yummy! The piped meringues are so cute!

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  9. Jenny...your pavlova turned out gorgeous despite your chocolate mishap. I LOVE those chocolate meringue tops so much! Beautifully done all around and love the photos :)

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