Sunday, June 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

So I broke down and joined The Daring Bakers monthly challenge extravaganza. I was just so jealous that all these people had a reason to make croquembouche and I didn't. Not that I necessarily need a reason to make outrageous and decadent desserts. I just feel less guilty about it, if you know what I mean. Anyway, my first challenge came in on June 1st:
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.
This challenge couldn't have come at a better time. My dear friends Zach and LW (pronounced el-dub--yes, I actually call him that) were visiting from their new home in Hong Kong. Although he makes a mean egg drop soup, and LW taught him to make schnitzel, Zach is a dubious baker. During law school, he introduced me to the untold horrors of Break and Bake cookies, and I introduced him to the wonders of my mother's homemade chocolate chip cookies. LW tells a great story about how Zach decided to bake him his super special dessert. This turned out to be a package of Break and Bake cookies pushed down into a baking dish and baked into a single large cookie, and then, when still warm, covered with peanut butter, melted chocolate chips, and a crushed up candy bar of your choice. You can guess why Zach regularly requested I make him treats during law school.

Even though Zach is not the best in the kitchen, LW is a mastermind. We had planned to make Salted Caramel Ice cream, but he wanted to make another dessert seeing as he had access to a full! size! kitchen! Hong Kong kitchens are tiny and many don't even come with ovens. So I told him about this month's challenge, and he was game. We set to work on both desserts at Zach's house, which has a very large Kosher kitchen--a challenge unto itself. I kept having to make sure I was using the proper set of dishes since everything was dairy. Regardless, it was tons of fun to spend a day in the kitchen with LW, and even more fun to eat this delicious dish. I seriously wanted to drink the mascarpone cream.

This dessert consists of three distinct items: chocolate meringues, chocolate mascarpone mousse, and mascarpone cream. The recipes provided used Grand Marnier in the mousse and Sambuca in the cream. We didn't have access to either one, and I don't think they were necessary. The mousse also contains lemon zest, which we used. However, some people have strong objections to the mixing of citrus and chocolate, so if you don't like chocolate oranges, I suggest you ditch the zest.

Chocolate Meringues
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa

1. Preheat oven to 200F and line two baking sheets. Set aside.

2. Whip egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and add granulated sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form.

3. Sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold in. It'll take a few minutes for it to all become incorporated.

4. Fill a pastry bag or plastic bag sans corner with the meringue. Pipe into whatever shape you want: small  ones or one large meringue.

5. Bake for 2 to 3 hours until meringues are dry and crisp. Watch to make sure they don't brown or burn. Let cool when done.

Mascarpone Cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone
2 Tbsp. Sambuca (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. While meringues are cooking, whisk egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns a pale yellow.

2. Combine milk, cream and vanilla in saucepan. Bring to a boil and take off the heat.

3. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture whisking constantly. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spoon. Overcooking and not whisking will give you scrambled eggs.

4. Pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove any scrambled eggs.

5. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and refrigerate until cool. Move onto the Mousse, but come back to step 6 right before you assemble.

6. When thoroughly chilled, which is about the time the meringues are cooling, put the cream in the mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Fold into the mascarpone mixture.

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

1. Place 1/2 cup heavy cream and lemon zest in saucepan over medium-high heat. Once warm, add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Move to a bowl and let cool.

2. Place remaining cup of cream, mascarpone and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until it softens slightly. Add optional Grand Marnier and whip on medium until it holds in soft peaks. Do not overbeat.

3. Mix 1/4 of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate. Then fold in the remaining mascarpone until incorporated.

4. Go back to your Mascarpone Cream and complete Step 6.

5. Assemble. Pipe mousse on top of cooled meringue and drizzle with cream. Top with chocolate shavings and/or lemon zest. Devour.


Marcellina said...

Gorgeous mousse! That was a challenge for me! You did brilliantly!

Audax said...

It wonderful that you had access to a full sized kitchen and your final result looks so good, it must of been rich and delicious. Well done and the photography is great. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Aparna said...

Welcome to the DB community and congrats on a challenge done excellently.

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Ooooh, I've never had chocolate meringue or chocolate mascarpone. I'm definitely intrigued :)

Ms. WhitePlates said...

I shall take 4 please. These are lovely! I'm just now getting into citrus and chocolate, I think I might go for a bit of strawberry in mine (we may have an obscene amount of local strawberries in the fridge). My dad lived in Hong Kong for a number of years and his kitchen was ridiculously small. We made tea in the morning but that was it, everything else we ate out.

Natalie... said...

Oh wow your pavlovas look delicious, great job on this months challenge! Yumm!

Karen C. said...

I wish I stumbled upon this earlier. I had some leftover mascarpone cheese that I eventually threw out. This looks so amazing!

Maranda said...

Wow! Yours looks amazing! I am so glad you mentioned the chocolate orange thing in the forum because I strongly dislike chocolate and orange. Thanks to you I realized I should omit the lemon and Grand Marnier from mine. Thanks for that! Great job on this challenge!!


Dear Lord! I can't even look at it without hyperventilating! NEEEEED some of that! said...

That looks so good!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Oh, another of this challenge's recipes. Even more chocolate this time so I'm more interested in trying this food than I was before.

Liren said...

What did you say? Many Hong Kong kitchens don't have ovens? Well now, there goes my hubbie's hopes of living the expat life in Hong Kong! Seriously, it's his dream...but I will insist that if we do, the kitchen must have an oven.

All that aside, my heart is beating fast over this beautiful pavlova! Congrats on your first Daring Baker's (I have not dared...yet).

Kathy Gori said...

These are real beauties. I was just thinking about chocolate pavlovas the other day. I'm going to have to try this.

Renata said...

Perfectly done! They look delicious! Your mousse is so silky.. I wasn't able to get this texture on mine...

Petes said...

This looks so good. Great job!

Maria Beatrix said...

Good job! Really beautiful pavlovas.

Jean said...

Oh my gosh, how beautiful! Congrats on meeting the challenge! I have a friend who lived with her husband in HK for a few years and loved it!

What a fun time to spend with good friends.

Lisa Michelle said...

Congrats on a first challenge beautifully done! Your photos really showcase how gorgeous and mouth watering your pavlovas are!

Le's Little Cupcakes said...

I've never tried making chocolate pavlovas before, and I've never actually heard of the daring bakers' monthly challenges. Sounds interesting! Did you get to taste a pav when you were in NZ?

Btw yes it was that cheese brand and it tastes like plastic I tell you!

Le's Little Cupcakes said...

Oh and the pasta sheets turned out to be slightly thicker than normal but it was perfectly fine! You should defs try making pasta from scratch, it's fairly easy :)

Rysheda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tartlett said...

Your dessert looks absolutely devine! I had to take a second to comment becuase I was drawn by your name when I saw it in the DBer's forum. I too am an attorney, graduated in 2009, and was unemployed until a month ago. (Now, I am just underemployed). Anyway, I just wanted to say Hi; our similiar story and our love of food and baking just amazed me. (BTW my blog name:

Post a Comment

NOTE: I understand that Blogger is currently having issues with its commenting system. If the comment box or Captcha do not show up, or you experience other problems, please e-mail me with your browser version, whether your Java is up-to-date, and whether you are on a Mac or PC. Please feel free to send your comment my way as well--I appreciate them all and I'm sorry Blogger hates us right now.

Thank you for indulging my narcissistic tendencies and leaving a comment. My ego sincerely appreciates it. As a quick note before you leave me accolades and ask for my hand in marriage, if you need a question answered promptly, you're better off sending an e-mail or a tweet. My computer is all fancy-like and beeps at me when you do.