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.
This is our first Daring Baker’s Challenge since starting our new blog and it was definitely a fun challenge to start things off! When I first read this recipe I was a little intimidated by all the steps and some new ingredients I had never heard of (Mascarpone…its a kind of cheese) but I was excited that our first task would be something neither Nicole or I had ever eaten- let alone baked.
PART 1: Chocolate Meringue
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
Lets get baking!
Step 1- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
Step 2- Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form.Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)
Step 3- 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.)
Step 4- 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.
Step 5- Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
PART 2: Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream)
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
Step 1- In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
Step 2- Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.
Step 3- 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.
Step 4- 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
PART 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling)
1 recipe crème anglaise (see above)
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream
Step 1- Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the mixture cool.
Step 2- Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed.
Step 3– Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.
[I found this step a little confusing, since the crème anglaise had already cooled in the fridge for several hours. I made it up ahead of time and then mixed it with the other ingredients just before I served it.]
PART 4: Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):
1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped [I used 70% cause I couldn’t find 72%]
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)
Step 1- 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.
Step 2- 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.)
Step 3- 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.
** This was probably the hardest part of the entire recipe and I’m not really sure why. My mousse just didn’t want to mousse! I followed the directions carefully so as to not have the mascarpone separate however in the end it did separate a bit. I left the mousse on the counter for about 30 minutes and when I came back I folded it again and it seemed to stay together and resemble more of what a mousse should look like.
ASSEMBLY- Using a piping bag or spoon pile a good amount of the chocolate mascarpone mousse onto the chocolate meringues. Then drizzle with the mascarpone cream.
THE FINAL PRODUCT!
Overall I was rather pleased with our first challenge. The entire process, from start to finish, was 3 hours! (Probably a good thing I tackled this one, since Nicole is busy running around with 2 yr old and a baby!) And while I was exhausted after this adventure the final product was delicious. It was really sweet but a nice treat to have along with a good cup of tea (so my mom and I found out!). I would probably make this again sometime but only for a special occasion since some of the ingredients were rather expensive and it was a time consuming project.
Can’t wait to see what next month’s challenge holds in store for us!