Sunday, June 27, 2010

Daring Bakers': Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

I mentioned in my last post that I have become a member of the Daring Bakers.  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.

 As this was my first month with the Daring Bakers' I was a bit nervous about my first challenge.  I had made meringues and mousse before, but I had never even heard of creme anglaise.  I followed the directions exactly as written and moved past the "not scrambling the eggs" part, but then I thought I might have overcooked the mixture after returning it back to the stove.  Thankfully the creme was fine after it cooled, but boy was I nervous for a couple of hours!  I guess that's why they call it a challenge...

I really enjoyed my first challenge as a Daring Baker!  I stepped outside of my comfort zone and tried something new that I likely never would have attempted otherwise.  

Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
taken from Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard

Chocolate Meringue
3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
¼ cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F degrees. Line two baking sheets with 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 sugar about 1 Tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)

Sift the powdered 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. (I made hearts, squiggleys, and circles)

Bake for 3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
1 ½ cups heavy cream
zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier (or orange juice)

Put ½ cup 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 (or orange juice) 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.

Creme Anglaise (component of the Mascarpone Cream below)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp sugar

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.  Set aside.

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.

Mascarpone Cream
1 recipe crème anglaise
½ cup mascarpone
2 tbsp Sambucca (optional) * (I omitted)
½ cup heavy cream

Prepare the crème anglaise and make sure it has cooled completely. Slowly whisk the mascarpone and Sambucca into the creme anglaise and set aside. Put the heavy cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

To Assemble:

Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with powdered sugar and fresh fruit if desired.  I brought my pavlovas to a dinner party and assembled them with the help of my friends. 

My makeshift assembly area

Piping the mousse onto the meringue

 Drizzling the mascarpone cream

Finished product: Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate 
Mascarpone Mousse and Mascarpone Cream


  1. Looks great! Nice job on your first challenge.

  2. Congratulations on your first challenge! Looks delicious! Well done!