Chocolate – decadent, rich, smooth and most definitely addictive. There are not many I know who do not succumb to the magical powers of chocolate. Over the last few years I’ve seen such an exciting boom in flavor pairings with chocolate that it really seems there are no limits to the delicious creations one can make using chocolate.
The Daring Bakers’ challenge this month put a smile on my face for two reasons. One being I really enjoy a good pavlova as the variations are numerous and one can use seasonal fruit to create a lovely, eye-catching dessert. Two – it was a chocolate pavlova!
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.
Although the recipe was different to the usual way I make pavlovas, I decided to stick to this recipe. I wanted to make a layered pavalova cake using some of the succulent summer fruit available at the markets.
Juicy, ripe and sweet peaches with a scattering of fresh ruby red raspberries to balance the chocolate richness was the way I decided to go with the challenge.
My CSA man had just made a lovely delivery of fruit and veggies and among other things the crate contained some incredible aromatic peaches. I was excited to get the work and experiment with them.
I love roasted fruit and peaches and nectarines are so perfect for this method of cooking. One can create a stunning yet simple dessert within minutes.
For the pavlova I decided to roast the peaches, drizzled with some aromatic honey and infused with fresh thyme from the garden. Once cooled it would provide for a wonderful highlight to the final dessert.
Experience with the Daring Bakers has always shown that there are always enough leftovers for a few other dessert variations. I usually enjoy this as it often provides a second challenge to create other desserts using the same components of the main challenge. This time was no different.
I adjusted the recipe for the mascarpone cream, which uses a crème anglaise as a base. I just added the mascarpone to the crème anglaise and decided to leave the whipped cream away. My waistline would thank me late for this, I hoped.
This creamy sauce turned out to be absolutely delicious poured over the honey roasted peaches and made a perfect summer time dessert on its own. The chocolate mascarpone mousse, while rather dense, was great with a few fresh raspberries.
The challenge was fairly simple and straightforward. I did not have any trouble with the components and divided the entire challenge over three days due to the fact I did not have enough time this week to do the challenge in one go. It was less hectic and with a good plan I started with the crème anglaise. On the same day I also completed the chocolate mascarpone mousse. I used Bailey’s Cream instead of Grand Marnier and cinnamon instead of nutmeg for a slightly different flavor combination. Both creams were stored overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day I had just enough time to make and bake the meringues. As I was planning to make a layer cake, I decided to make 3 concentric circles. I like the slightly rustic look of pavlovas and shaped these free-handedly.
On the final day I completed the mascarpone cream, roasted the honey peaches and while they cooled, I assembled the pavlova cake.
Layers of crispy chocolaty meringue, slathered with thick, rich chocolate mascarpone mousse and a tangy scattering of raspberries make the bulk of this cake. It is then topped with soft, juicy, honey roasted peaches with a subtle aroma of thyme. Decadent!
The recipe below is with my adaptations of the recipe from Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.
Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse, Honey Roasted Peaches and Fresh Raspberries
Recipe Adapted from Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard
Printable version of recipe here
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) 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. This might look like it will not happen, but if you fold gently 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. For the layer pavalova cake you’ll need 3 concentric circles.
- Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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
pinch of cinnamon
2 tbsp (30 mls) Bailey’s Irish Cream (Orange juice)
- 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 cinnamon in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Bailye’s cream and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. Make sure not to 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.
Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling)
1 recipe crème anglaise (see recipe below)
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
- Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and let the mixture cool.
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
- 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.Care must be taken not to overcook the mixture.
- 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.
Honey Roasted Peaches
4 ripe peaches, sliced in thicker wedges
3-4 tablespoons honey, use a good quality one with a flowery aroma
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
- In a bowl mix together all ingredients and transfer to an ovenproof baking dish.
- Roast fruit and honey for 15 minutes until fruit is softened and syrup is thick.
- Remove and allow to cool.
2 punnets fresh raspberries
Assembling the Pavlova
Either pipe the mousse onto the meringues or use a spatula to spread it over the meringue. Decorate with the fruit. If you are making the layered version then spread some of the mousse on the base meringue, scatter with raspberries then place the second meringue. Spread another mousse layer and then place the final meringue layer on top of this. To conclude spread with mousse, arrange the honey roasted peaches on top, then decorate with a few raspberries.
Just before serving drizzle some of the honey syrup and the mascarpone cream over the top.
Notes: You’ll definitely have leftovers with this. A great dessert idea is using the honey roasted peaches with syrup and drizzling some of the mascarpone cream over the top. It makes a lovely refreshing dessert. If you have some extra meringue leftover too, coarsely crunch it up and scatter over the top.
I was worried that the recipe would yield something more like a meringue rather than a traditional pavlova. Pavlovas are usually made with the addition of cornstarch, white vinegar to the egg whites and allows for a crispy shell, while the interior remains moist and gooey. As the cornstarch was missing in this recipe I suspected it would be more meringue-y. I decided to bake the meringue for just under 2 hours instead of going the full 3 hours. This resulted in a lovely moist interior – not 100% pavlova-like but close.
On the whole however, we totally succumbed to this dessert. I served it last week when Germany played Ghana (World Cup 2010 fever) to friends at a spontaneous BBQ. This my spontaneous dessert ;o). The crunchy meringues against the smooth and rich mousse paired so well with the sweet honey peaches, while the tanginess of the raspberries provided a lovely contrast to the entire sweetness on the dessert. The hint of thyme was perfectly subtle and added a great note to the fruity peaches.
Thank you to Dawn for selecting great and very addictive way to challenge us this month.
More chocolaty Daring Bakers’ challenges from WFLH:
|Chocolate Caramel Tart||Danish Braid - Chocolate & Raspberries||Dobos Torte with Quark Chocolate Mousse|
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