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.
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
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 95ºC. Line two baking sheets with baking paper 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. (I made a round nest and a heart nest)
Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
These nests were filled by a luscious, rich chocolate mousse. I made only half of this recipe, and still ended up with enough to fill the nests (as seen above) and have 3 1/2 cup serves to freeze for the children.
Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
1 ½ cups double cream
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon (optional - I skipped this)
250g 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp Grand Marnier (or orange juice - but I used Creme de Cacao instead)
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. I made little quenelles with teaspoons.
There was supposed to be a mascarpone cream made with a creme anglaise, drizzled over the top, but I made a mistake because I was halving the mousse recipe on the fly, and ended up making a light chocolate ganache as the start of the mousse. And then I only had enough cream to remake the mousse, and had to skip the drizzle. I could have gone back out to the shops, but I had a lot of other cookery going on, as I made and served these for our anniversary dinner. Which in hindsight was probably a bad idea, because after stuffing myself with prosciutto tomatoes, and beef wellington, and perfectly steamed broccoli that just mopped up all those delicious juices, and roast potatoes, there really wasn't much room for dessert. I made room, because after one bite of the sweet, chewy meringue contrasting with the dark, rich, creamy, bitter mousse, I couldn't stop. But I did, because I could only fit in half, and the rest went back in the fridge. But not before I caught this quick texture shot.
I was trying to capture the contrasts in the textures, but the photo doesn't really do it justice.