Cooking my way through Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets, plus other treats I come up with
Sunday, June 27, 2010
June 2010 Daring Bakers' 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
The recipe consists of three parts: the chocolate meringue base, the chocolate mascarpone mousse, and the mascarpone cream. In addition, I chose the option of making my own mascarpone cheese (sounds scarier than it actually is).
I was very skeptical of the recipe at first. I didn't know if the meringue would hold up against the rich chocolate mousse, and the mascarpone cream seemed a little excessive. As it turns out, the components work very well together! The mousse is light enough to not completely overwhelm the delicate meringue shell, and the rich custard cream rounds out the sharpness and acidity from the dark chocolate and Grand Marnier in the mousse.
The only flop was with the chocolate meringue shell. Instead of baking up crisp and light, it settled into a hard disk. As luck would have it, I only discovered this in the morning, right before I was going to assembly the whole thing and bring it to work. Adrenaline rushing, I quickly whipped up a vanilla meringue shell replacement (for future reference, it only takes two hours to make, bake, and cool a 10" meringue shell).
In hindsight, I had probably added too much cocoa powder; instead of measuring by volume, I should have done it by weight. Besides, the combination of egg whites and cocoa just makes me nervous. Meringues seem to be highly sensitive to the amount and type of cocoa powder added (natural cocoa powder is acidic, dutch-processed cocoa is slightly basic), and it's easy to end up with unreliable results.