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. (Recipe HERE)
According to www.aussie-info.com, “In 1935, the chef of the Hotel Esplanade in Perth, Western Australia, Herbert Sachse, created the pavlova to celebrate the visit of the great Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova.” Since that time, the Pavlova has been adopted by the Aussies as a national dessert.
Pavlovas are made up of a meringue base with pastry cream or mousse mounded on top. They can be dressed up with fruit, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or anything else the chef chooses. I made individual Pavlovas, but the typical Australian Pavlova is made in a cake pan and cut into individual servings.
“So,” you might be wondering, after looking at the photo above, “Where’s the chocolate in these chocolate Pavlovas?”
I honestly did start out following the recipe as assigned in this month's Daring Bakers’ Challenge, but my first attempt, sadly, went straight into the trash. Luckily, I had only made the meringues, so the loss wasn’t great. My chocolate flavored meringues came out as hard as hockey pucks. To bite one was to risk a broken tooth!
So, on my second try I decided to go all vanilla (which Dan and I prefer, anyway). I also adjusted the baking temperature and time for the meringues, and they baked up perfectly – a nice thin, crispy shell on the outside but still soft and "marshmallowy" on the inside.
Next was to cook up the pastry cream, which was so good I could have eaten the entire bowl all by itself. It was eggy and creamy and vanilla-y. I refrigerated the pastry cream until the next day. Then I folded in some whipped cream, which made it even more decadent, and piled dollops of the cream into the meringue shells.
I added fresh raspberries and kiwi, and poured a light apricot glaze over the fruit. To dress it up, I drizzled a raspberry sauce on the plate around the dessert and dusted it all with powdered sugar.
Our neighbors, Dave and Lorraine, happily agreed to help us consume my Pavlovas. They were a hit. Here's Dan enjoying a bite.