Sunday, June 27, 2010

Daring Baker's Challenge: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

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.

When I read this month's challenge, I thought, hmm....I can do this. I'd made chocolate meringues on a whim last year...No problem. Mascarpone cheese is expensive though..especially for graduate students so I thought, great I'll make some. I'd been wanting to attempt mascarpone since I first saw the recipe on Deeba''s blog Passionate About Baking. However, this month has been a very busy time in the lab for me. The end of the month crept up and I realized I had to step on it to get done. I had a weekend workshop near DC for the weekend of posting so I wound up losing a bit of sleep to complete the task but I'm glad I did it. The recipe is made of 5 parts (on my end). 1) chocolate meringues 2) mascarpone 3) creme anglaise 4) chocolate mascarpone mousse 5) mascarpone cream. I used Dr. Fankhauser's mascarpone instructions (with the lemon juice option). In NC, it is pretty near impossible to find single pasteurized cheese. Apparently there's a law requiring milk to be ultra pasteurized. As a result, my mascarpone was prepared with ultrapasteurized milk. I've no other mascarpone to compare it too but the recipe came out well. I reasoned if it was being incorporated with other flavors, it should be fine. The rest of the recipes were required to be followed other than creme anglaise. I had no other recipe I favored so I adhered to the recipes posted by the daring kitchen. I'll go ahead and show you my results and they'll be followed by the recipe.

Step 1: Mascarpone....I was in a rush and didn't get a picture
Step 2: Meringues..I had fun with these and made a lot of different piped options

Steps 3-5...sauces were composed

Finally assembly..

This is the star shaped one. I was very pleased with how it came out.

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 .pdfHERE)
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.


  1. Wonderful that the pav worked out so well and great you could do it away from your normal kitchen. Nice photos. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. This looks decadently rich and yummy; I am sure it tastes just as deliciously chocolate. Umm... would like to have a taste. Congrats on making the mascarpone and meeting the deadline on the pavlovas with such a hectic schedule.

    The peaches and creme cake you made for the going away party looked absolutely scrumptious.

    Hope your flight from D. C. goes well.

  3. @ Audax, Thanks!

    @ June, Sorry you couldn't be here to taste it. Maybe you can taste the next challenge recipe!

    @Mel, I made mousse. The texture of this mousse was such that it was very thick and palatable to me. Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of the orange flavor in it but it was still ok. No texture issues with this one. :)