Daring Bakers: Chocolate Pavlova with Banana Mascarpone Mousse and Vanilla Mascarpone Ice Cream

Choc Pavlova + Banana mascarpone mousse + Vanilla mascarpone ice cream + choc mascarpone sauce 1

July 3, 2010 Update: This post was featured on FoodBuzz Top 9 today

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.

I didn't think I was going to post about this at all. It has been a very trying month for me with few reasons to smile. Truth be told, it has been a challenging couple of years, really. While this blog has kept me sane through most of it, in my frustration, I turned my anger on it.

For some time, recently, I have been contemplating discontinuing blogging. While food is a passion and blogging a medium for expressing it, it really was meant to be a hobby, albeit a serious one. My profession is something else, atleast it is supposed to be.

Choc Pavlova + Banana mascarpone mousse2

Anyway, I lost interest in creating anything. I just wasn't upto putting on my culinary thinking cap when things were falling apart around me. But, eventually, I realised that the distraction that had worked so effectively so far, still had it's magic. Besides, I had made a commitment to the DB group and my conscience wouldn't let me break it..

Making the components of this challenge took away my mind from the reality, even if just for a couple of hours. It was a much needed break and breath of different air that I sorely needed. So, although late, here is my creation for this month's Daring Baker's challenge - Chocolate Pavlova with Banana Mascarpone Mousse and Vanilla Mascarpone Ice Cream.

Choc Pavlova + Banana mascarpone mousse + Vanilla mascarpone ice cream + choc mascarpone sauce

Verdict: Anyway, as to the dessert, it is indeed a fantastic one, at once light and rich with the different components coming together beautifully. Although, we were asked to make everything chocolate, since I am not a chocolate fan, I made a banana mousse instead. Also, I churned the mascarpone cream into ice cream. The rich creaminess lends itself very nicely for a smooth, creamy ice cream even without an ice cream maker.

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 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. 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. (Class made rounds, hearts, diamonds and an attempt at a clover was made!). Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Banana Mascarpone Mousse

1 ripe banana
3 T heavy cream
2/3 cup (160g) mascarpone
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 T powdered sugar

Puree the banana with the cream until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the powdered sugar and nutmeg. Add the mascarpone and beat until you get a creamy mixture of mousse consistency. Whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks.

Chill for atleast 10 minutes before assembling onto the pavlova.

Crème Anglaise
(a component of the Vanilla Mascarpone Ice Cream below)

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. DO NOT OVERCOOK. 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.

Vanilla Mascarpone Ice Cream

1 recipe crème anglaise (above
2/3 cup (160g) mascarpone

Once the creme anglaise has chilled, add the mascarpone and whip to make a smooth mixture. Adjust sugar if needed. At this point follow your ice cream maker's instructions to churn and freeze for ice cream.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture and after an hour, beat the mixture to break down the ice crystals and incorporate air. Repeat atleast 2 more times and then let freeze for atleast 4 hours.

Chocolate Mascarpone Cream

1/2 cup crème anglaise and mascarpone mixture (recipe above)
2 T heavy cream
1 T semi sweet chocolate

Melt the chocolate into the cream and cool to room temperature. Stir into the creme anglaise mixture.

Stacked Pavlova Assembly

Place one layer of the pavlova on the plate. Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas. Sprinkle cocoa powder or chocolate shavings on the mousse layer and then arrange banana slices over it. Place the next layer of pavlova on the slices and repeat. Drizzle the chocolate mascarpone cream over the top. Top with the Vanilla Mascarpone ice cream.