Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Daring Bakers June '10 - Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

This month's Daring Bakers challenge was Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse or, put simply, a meringue with chocolate pudding and pastry cream drizzled on top. It sounds more difficult than it actually is, really.

There are a number of steps to this recipe so plan accordingly. Mascarpone, if I can find it, is fairly pricey in my grocery store, so I made my own the day before. The meringue bakes for two to three hours and the crème anglaise needs to chill for at least two hours.

Overall, good recipe. Turned out delicious, and as an extra bit of flavor I added fresh raspberries from my garden.

Chocolate Meringue

3 large egg whites
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon white sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200F. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tabelspoon at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.) 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.)

Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
grated zest of 1 lemon
9 ounces 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or orange juice

Put 1/2 cup of the heavy cream plus 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 and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)

Mix about 1/4 of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse.

Mascarpone Cream

1 recipe crème anglaise
1/2 cup mascarpone
2 tablespoons Sambucca (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream

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.

Crème Anglaise

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.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 1/2 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.

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.

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.

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