Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Chocolate Pavlova 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
After trying a Pavlova on my own just a short time ago, the Daring Baker's announced their June Chocolate Pavlova Challenge last month.  While I do love chocolate, I was very skeptical about this chocolate version.  While we all LOVED the traditional version we tried here......I knew that the chocolate version would be entirely a different thing.  The traditional version topped with flavoured whipped cream and fruit is light and summery.  The chocolate version is dense and rich and is a hit of extreme chocolate.  Based on the amounts of filling required for the traditional Pavlova I reduced the size of the chocolate mousse filling recipe by 1/2 as the recipe as stated would make way too much filling for a 3 egg Pavlova.  The amount of Creme Anglaise drizzle required is also way more than is required for the recipe so I scaled it back to 1/5 of the original making just over 1/2 cup of glaze.  Not being able to find any mascarpone cheese meant that I did have to make my own again as we did back in the Tiramisu challenge over here.....and it turned out beautifully again.....this time I used just regular grocery store whipping cream without any problems.
Over all, I found the dessert so completely changed by the addition of the chocolate and the heaviness of the mascarpone mousse filling (compared to a whipped cream filling) that I would not describe it as a Pavlova......it's not the same kind of dessert experience at all.  If you like super intense chocolate flavour you may well like this dessert.  If you love traditional Pavlova this will be different.  Since I love traditional Pavlova....I think I would just leave well enough alone and continue to make it in the traditional manner as it is really not to be improved upon for me.  I would be tempted to make the chocolate Pavlova base again.....but not the mascarpone mousse nor the Creme Anglaise drizzle.  I much prefer the lightness of the traditional whipped cream filling with fresh fruit and could do without all the added steps required for the fillings as presented here.  The challenge has pointed out some options to try as far as making some alterations from the traditional recipe that I never really thought about before.....so for that I really enjoyed this challenge.  Plus there's nothing wrong with a good hit of chocolate now and again:)

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.


    Felicity said...

    Man, that looks good! : )

    Vivian - Let's Try These... said...

    how vibrant you Pavlova turned out! I really struggled with getting the chocolate colors to come out even mildly attractive. I wish I had mnade less of the creme to drizzle on top... the recipe made way too much (as you stated) but the leftovers were yummy over ice cream!

    Marcellina said...

    Your pavlova looks really good! But I agree that it was too rich if you like the original - which I do. Yesterday I rehashed the idea by making meringues with less cocoa, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 2 teaspoons cornflour and topped them with a light whipped ganache and strawberries. They were a hit with my family and friends! You were right to reduce the quantity of mousse and creme. I unfortuately didn't! Way too much!

    Marty said...

    Oh wow, your picture is really eye-catching. Fantastic! Thanks for stopping by at my blog and for your comments. Am a crafter myself, so I'll definitely be exploring your site for ideas!

    Cakelaw said...

    Yopav looks amazing!! Your pate is also very pretty. But I am with you - this was too much.

    LittleRed said...

    Thanks for all the positive comments:) I love Pavlovas and was intrigued to discover that a chocolate meringue was an option. Marcellina, I will have to try your version with a whipped cream topping and fresh fruit....I bet it's delicious