I know, you know, all my friends know that I will never ever be awarded Miss Punctuality title. As a matter of fact I hate deadlines in my personal life (I live with them at the office). To make it sound nice, we can say I am an artist who thinks time pressure kills creative initiatives. Weell…. I am not, but still, it sounds better like this.
I finished the Pavlova in time, but since then there was not a spare moment for me (between work, my mom visiting, my daughter’s vacation and feeding my family) to sit down and post it.
So, I made the cocoa pavlova sprinkled with cocoa nibs for the extra crunch and munch, topped it with the chocolate mascarpone mousse, caramelized peaches and drizzled with some lavandel mascarpone cream. It is deeeelicious – crispy, strong, fresh and flavourful in the same time.
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
Thank you Dawn for a wonderful challenge and excuse my ……….. for posting it so late.
For the 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
cocoa nibs to sprinkle before baking
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. (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. 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!).
Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
For the 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) – I used orange blossom water
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. 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 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.
For the Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling)
1 recipe crème anglaise
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional) – I did not use it
½ cup (120 mls) 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.
For the lavandel 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
1-2 teaspons edible lavandel flowers
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 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 (it should be no more than 78 degrees C).
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.
For the caramelized peaches
5 medium peaches (diced, skin on or off)
30 g butter
moscavado sugar (to taste)
Melt the butter untill bublling. Add the peaches and sprinkle the sugar. Let them boil and bubble until the liquid is reduced. Add a splash of vanilla extract and take off the heat. Let cool completelly before assemblying.
Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas, spoon some peaches over and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top.