Sunday, June 27, 2010

Daring Bakers June 2010: Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

Recently I mentioned that I had joined The Daring Kitchen as a Daring Cook. Well, either because I'm crazy, am a glutton for punishment, or that I'm truly turning into a wannabe foodie, I decided to become a Daring Baker as well. Go me!!

That means you all get to read about my trials, successes, and failures in my attempts to keep up with all the talented Kitcheneers that The Daring Kitchen has to offer. So let's talk about my first Daring Baker's challenge.

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.

Several things were required for this challenge. We had to make the pavlova, the chocolate mascarpone mousse, and the mascarpone cream (which included having to make creme anglaise) from the recipes that were provided for us.

Looks pretty doesn't it?? Well. Things didn't go exactly as I planned with this challenge. First off, I cooked the pavlova's WAY too long. Instead of being crispy on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside, they were pretty hard on the outside and kind of chewy and crunchy on the inside. Yeah. Fail. We still ate them though and The Hubble loved the flavor.

Let's move on to that gorgeous pile of mousse sitting on top of the crunchy pavlova. The mousse took me two tries. Apparently I left my brain and abilities to read a recipe in another state? Country? Who knows where. So I ended up melting the chocolate in all of the cream instead of the little bit required. But I did have a helper in the kitchen for the first batch.

Little Butt enjoyed unwrapping all the squares of chocolate.

And dropping them in the pan of too much cream. She was such a great helper, until she took a bite out of one of the chocolate squares and I had to revoke her kitchen minion status. It was about this time that I realized I did the mousse wrong. So Little Butt went downstairs to watch television while The Hubble went to the store to get me more chocolate so I could start over.

While he was gone I made the creme anglaise, which turned out beautifully. It was then that I re-read the recipe and realized this needed to refrigerate overnight. So that went into the fridge. I made the mousse again, perfectly this time, and threw that in the fridge too.

However, let me tell you...the next day my refrigerated mousse ended up being a crumbly mess that I needed to microwave to warm and add a bit more cream and beating with a hand mixer to get it back to it's original moussey state.

THEN, I realized that the creme anglaise was only part of another recipe: the mascarpone cream! Hello!!! So I whipped that up at the last minute. I then plated everything and we struggled to cut our forks through the actual pavlova but ended up picking them up and breaking them with our hands to eat them. The mousse and the cream were delicious! I used Kahlua in the mousse in place of sambucca and I omitted the lemon and Grand Marnier from the pavlova (I do not like orange and chocolate). I then dusted mine with cinnamon because I love cinnamon with my coffee.

So there ya have it folks. My first Daring Baker's challenge was somewhat of a wreck. I did, however, create another pavlova thanks to another Daring Baker posting an Australian recipe. I will be sharing that one soon so keep your eyes glued to your screen! Here's a reason you should come back for that one: it was delicious!!!! And it worked!!!! (kinda...)

If you are interested in seeing how the other Daring Baker's fared with their pavlovas head over to the blogroll and give them a look see.

Until then, if you are feeling brave, here's the recipe (all of them) for this delicious ridiculously indulgent chocolate dessert.

Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
Retrieved from The Daring Kitchen 

Recipe 1: Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  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.)
  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. (Class made rounds, hearts, diamonds and an attempt at a clover was made!)
  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.
Recipe 2: Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):
  • 1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent)
  • grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
  • 9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
  • 1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone (don't forget we made this a few months ago - get the printable .pdf HERE) 
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)
  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.
  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.)
  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.
Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):
  • 1 recipe crème anglaise
  • ½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
  • 2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
  • ½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream
  1. 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.
Recipe 4: Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above):
  • 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
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
  2. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat. 
  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.
  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.

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.
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