Sunday, June 27, 2010

June Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Pavlova 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

Here is the recipe we Daring Baker's followed this month with my changes in red italics. This is a very rich dessert not at all similar to what Australians would call pavlova but more like meringues.

 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) Dutch processed 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.

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.

I piped several shapes -regular individual meringues and the tear drops studded with flaked almonds and the "S" shapes which became swans.

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  I omitted this
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone homemade
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice) this I replaced with Amaretto 


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.

I made my own mascarpone as there was so much required for this recipe.

Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):
1 recipe crème anglaise
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional) substituted Marsala
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.

My swan swam on a lake of Mascarpone cream.

This was not my most favourite challenge actually I was quite dissappointed. The quantity of mousse and cream was more than double what I needed for the amount of meringues. The meringues I felt were very dry and the mousse too thick, chocolatey and grainy in texture though not mouth feel. Apparently this is how it should be though I would have preferred a smooth mousse. However in saying that, my children loved them!  This is not a recipe I would make again but I would use the concept of meringue, mousse and a sauce to create a dacquoise because I like the idea of the crunchy and creamy textures.

Check out Aparna, Clumbsycookie, Anasbageri and other Daring Bakers who enjoyed this challenge and were more successful than I. Thanks Dawn for hosting the June Daring Bakers Challenge!


  1. Oh my Lord. You may have been disappointed but I love the sound and the look of it. That swan is gorgeous.

  2. I have to agree with you these are not the classic pav we have in Australia! But apart from your disappointment it seems they were a smash hit with the kids and your swan lake is stunning it looks so cute will done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. The swan swimming in a pool of creme is beautiful... I am sorry you weren't a fan, but if you were to serve that at a formal dinner people would be floored! Beautiful work! And I hope next month's challenge is one you enjoy for yourself!!

  4. Love the swans - what a fantastic presentation idea. Sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy the final product.

  5. I absolutely love the swans! Such an awesome interpretation. I agree that the mousse and cream were large recipes and the pavlova didn't yield enough for the amount of mousse and cream. Great job on the challenge!

  6. Wow made your own mascarpone as well as the other 4 components, that's quite a noteworthy task. Your swans are very beautiful. I agree that there was way too much sauce and mousse, I actually halved the recipe and still had stacks.

  7. Love what you did with them, and yes, the recipe was certainly heavier & more calorie ridden than the regular pav I know of. Those are gorgeous swans. I settled for the classic rounds!

  8. Look at that gorgeous swan, you certainly did these in style! Shame that it turned out dry - wonder if it was because of the smaller size? I made quite thick pavlovas and they were soft in the middle (proper aussie ones :)), although I'm quite sure I just stuck it in the oven and didn't pay attention to the given recipe's timing. Well done on making the whole shebang :)

  9. That's a very beautiful swan swimming on the lake of mascarpone cream *drool*

  10. You made a swan!! I have tried so many times to make meringue swans but I always break their poor necks! It is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

    and thank you so much for your kind words.



  11. I liked both your pavlova as well as the pretty swan in a lake. :) Pavlova and Swan Lake!!! :D

    Was a bit richer, but I made adjustments for that. And thanks so much for linking to me. I don't mind at all.

  12. I love your swan pavlova! I did find the mousse a tad too thick as well and I added a few drops of olive oil and it became much more creamy and manageable!

  13. Hi! love both your pavs!! ya this is quite rich,,i cudnt even finish one bite sized one,, could feel the calories gng straight to my waist ;)

  14. I love your shaped pavlovas, how cute! Well done on the challenge.

  15. The plating of the swan is so appropriate for such a beautiful and classy dessert!

  16. How beautiful! I just love how everyone interpreted this differently...gorgeous swans. Someday, I will try a traditional Australian pavlova. :)

  17. Marcellina, I absolutely loved your swans! The almonds added the details of the feathers and must've made it even more delicious. My mousse was grainy, but not in the mouth, just as yours, guess it was supposed to be that way.

  18. wow! you're so creative, that swan idea is genius! Not to mention almonds for the feathers... wow, im speechless :)

  19. Beautiful work, especially those swans! I think I'm too clumsy for something like that! I found the chocolate mousse very rich, but enjoyed the rest of this challenge. Marsala is a great idea--I'm still trying to use mine from the tiramisu challenge.

  20. simply amazing...the swan is such a work of art!
    great job with this challenge!

  21. Wooow they not only look delicious but also beautiful, I LOVE LOVE the swan.

  22. The swans look gorgeous! What a great idea.

    I'm a big fan of a chocolate meringue for pavlova. With strawberries or raspberries, chocolate is just the way to go. It's too bad that these ones came out too dry.

  23. I would never be able to make something so elegant. Your end product is simply beautiful. I hope you'll find a meringue recipe that you like better, so you'll make these pretty swans again.

  24. This looks beautiful Marcellina! I love that swan! So creative. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as you'd would have liked to, but it is still a great accomplishment to have completed it!

  25. Amazing swan! So cute it made me giggle!

  26. Your swan is so cute. Very creative. Well done on the challenge, even though it wasn't your favorite.

  27. I would have never thought of using the creme anglais to pool under the meringue.....what a great idea. Cannot argue with you that it just does not compare to a traditional pavlova....but we did get to try something new:)

  28. LOOK at those swans! I'm in awe -- so creative, Marcellina!!

    Julie @ Willow Bird Baking

  29. OK..your swans are stunning..really gorgeous, but I have to did you get such a beautiful mousse? best mousse I've seen thus far and the swirl is perfection! I overbeat my mousse after resting it in the fridge, so no gorgeous swirlies were to be had :( lol Fantastic job on the challenge..and..I'm linking you :)

  30. Totally in love with the swan pavlova! Elegant :-)

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  31. Marcellina what beautiful job you've done!!!
    Sure, a swan pavlova! :-D
    Your presentation is gorgeous and the little pavlovas with almonds or the mousse...I love them!!!
    Unfortunately, this time I had problems with lactose and so i couldn't try mascarpone homemade, but I'm so curious to try it...your is truly perfect!!!
    Wonderfull job my dear friend! :-*

    P.S.: I drool over for the hazelnut cakes...I would try them, too!!! :-****


Thank you for taking the time to comment and for letting me know what you think!