So if you know me…you know that sweets aren’t really my thing. At least not like salty-crunchy-starchy-delicious things are. But…there’s a catch. I like to make sweets…and as long as there are others around to eat them up…I’ll keep making and you keep eating. Which brings me to the Pavlovas…made while on vacation when there were lots of people to make them quickly disappear.
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.
3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
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.
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.)
Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white.
Mixing the cocoa powder and sugar into the meringue looks like it will never happen…just continue to fold gently and it will eventually come together.
I free-formed the meringue onto a silpat…you can really make them any size and shape you’d like.
I also filled a pastry bag with the meringue, and piped it onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Overall, I liked the look of the free form shapes better, but they were a little big for 1 serving.
Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I was a little surprised at the extended baking time…but they worked out perfectly.
Onto the mousse…
Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
1 ½ cups heavy cream
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp Grand Marnier
Put ½ cup 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 mixtureto 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…I whipped by hand…as I was quickly using up every dish, bowl and utensil in the kitchen…and a good arm workout never hurt anyone.
Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed (or continue to whip by hand with whisk until your arm almost falls off…either way…whip until it holds soft peaks. Warning: DO NOT OVERBEAT as the mascarpone WILL BREAK.
Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated.
I used two spoons to shape canelles of the mousse, plopped them onto the pavlovas and finished it with a loose whipped cream drizzled over the top. The final tough is missing…and is actually a common mistake of mine. I had a few fresh mint leaves to place artfully on top…and once again…forgot about them entirely until the camera was turned off and the plates scraped clean.
Sigh. Next time….