Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Daring Bakers June Challenge-Chocolate Meringue

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.

I was so excited when I saw what the challenge was for June for two reasons; it's been a while since we've done anything with chocolate so I was happy and I've never made anything like this.  After reading about this recipe and looking at the pictures she posted, I couldn't wait to attempt this challenge.  I always look forward to the challenges; some are variations of recipes I've tried before while others are things that either I hadn't thought about/heard of or things I thought I just couldn't even begin to attempt.  I always learn things from these challenges and they encourage me to step out of my comfort zone from time to time.  This challenge was no different; I made something that I would not have otherwise made and I learned some new recipes and techniques to incorporate into my cooking. 

This challenge had a few steps but the end result was incredible.  This would make for a wonderful and impressive dessert and with fruit added to it, it would serve as the perfect, light dessert for the hot summer time! 

Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate pavlovas)


3 Large egg whites

1/2 Cup plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 Cup confectioners sugar

1/3 Cup cocoa powder


Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 200.  Line 2 baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.

Put the egg whites in a bowl and beat until soft white peaks form.  Increase the speed to high and gradually add in the granulated sugar until stiff peaks form.  (they should be firm but still moist)

Sift the confectioners sugar and cocoa over the whites, and gently fold ingredients together.

Fill a pastry bag with cream and pipe onto the line baking sheets in desired shape. 

Bake for 2-3 hours, until meringue becomes 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 heavy cream

Grated zest of lemon

9 Ounces chocolate, chopped

1 2/3 Cup mascarpone

pinch of nutmeg

2 Tbsp Grand Marnier or orange juice


Pour 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a saucepan and add the lemon zest, place over medium heat.  Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove from heat, and transfer mixture to another bowl and let cool until room temperature. 

Place the mascarpone, remaining cream, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl and whip on low until the marscapone is loose.  Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until soft peaks begin to form. (Do not over whip)

 Mix about 1/4 of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten.  Fold in the rest of the mascarpone mixture until well incorporated.  Fill a pastry bag with the mousse, and pipe on the palvova. 

Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling)


1 Recipe for creme anglaise - recipe below

1/2 Cup mascarpone

1 Tbsp sambucca (optional)

1/2 Cup heavy cream


Prepare the creme anglaise and slowly whisk in the mascarpone and Sambucca and let the mixture cool.  Put cream in a bowl and beat until peaks begin to hold.  Fold in the mascarpone mixture. 

Creme Anglaise


1 Cup whole milk

1 Cup heavy cream

1 Vanilla bean, split OR 1 tspn pure vanilla extract

6 Large egg yolks

6 Tbsp sugar


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

Combine the milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat once it reaches  a boil.

Pour about 1/2 a cup of the hot mixture into the egg mixture (to temper the eggs), whisking constantly to ensure the eggs don't scramble.  Pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put back over the heat.  Stir constantly , with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to thicken and can coat the back of a wooden spoon.  Do NOT overcook.

Remove the mixture from the heat and strain through a fine, mesh sieve into a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight. 

For the assembly:

Pipe the mousse onto the palvovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream.  Dust with confectioners sugar and serve with fresh fruit (if desired).

Additional Information:

Wikipedia’s definition of Pavlova

The history of Pavlova


Great video on Youtube – How to Make Pavlova

Another great video that uses whipped cream instead of the Mascarpone cream - Pavlova

One more from Epicurious – Australia Pavlova

Some great photos on Flickr:

La Tartine Gourmand – Red and Orange Pavlova
VROG in Bristol – Birthday Pavlova

Marco Veringa – Pavlova 6 (the fruit on this one is stunning)

Katiequinndavies – Double Chocolate & Raspberry Pavlova

My Food Obsession – Chocolate Banana Rolled Pavlova (something different!)

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