Defintion of a Pavlova: a meringue based dessert, with a crispy outer, and a soft light inner. Usually topped with cream and fruit. Believed to have been created in New Zealand during the 1920's, in honor of the famous Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova.
Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
For the Creme Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream used for drizzling on top)
*make this at least a night before, it has to set up in fridge
1/2 cup whole milk (half evaporated milk and half water)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the pavlova base)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1) Whisk (by hand) yolks and sugar until pale (takes a few mins). Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan. Over med-high heat, bring to a boil, then take off heat (watch this closely).
2) Temper in the eggs: Whisking constantly, add about 1/4 of the cream mixture to the yolk/sugar.
Then whisking constantly, add the yolk/cream mixture to the rest of the cream mixture. Make sure to whisk CONSTANTLY. Don't skip this step or you'll end up with egg scramble instead of creme anglaise.
3) Then cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened and it lightly coats the back of the spoon. Should only take a couple of minutes. Take off heat. Stir in vanilla. Strain through a seive (to get any solids out, i promise there'll be a few even if you don't see them). Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
For the Chocolate Pavlova Base
3 egg whites (set out at room temp for about 30 mins.)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1) Whip egg whites at high speed until soft (not stiff) peaks form. This means when you lift the beater out of the bowl, peaks should form, but slightly fall down instead of sticking straight up. Then gradually (i really mean gradually) add the granulated sugar until stiff peaks form (the kind that stick straight up). Put away the electric mixer/kitchen aid for now- Won't need again until we get to the mousse.
2) Sift in cocoa powder and powdered sugar with a sieve. Fold into the egg whites/sugar mixure. Now here it might look like its never gonna come together, like its too dry or something, but your doin fine- just keep folding until it comes together and is all mixed.
3) Preheat oven to 200 degrees. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, divide the mixture into 4 mounds on the sheet, and spread out. Bake in the oven 2-3 hours until dry. Now would be a good time to straighten up the kitchen- and clean the mixer blades. At about an hour and a half, it might be a good plan to start on your mousse. Check out your pavlovas again, they should be gettin close to done. Its okay if there's cracks- that's normal. Pull out of oven when dry, set aside.
For the Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (I cut this in half- it's so rich)
*don't be tempted to leave out the citrus and nutmeg- they really do add to yumminess!
-3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
-zest of half one regular sized lemon
-4 ounces 72% chocolate (I got away with 60% since that was all I could find)
-1/2 cup + 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese (just buy the 8 oz tub) (set out at room temp for like 30 mins)
-small pinch nutmeg
-1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice (shouldn't need more than half an orange for that)
1) Warm 1/4 cup cream and lemon zest in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Don't boil it, just warm it up. Add chocolate, whisk in until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temp.
2) While chocolate mixture cools, whip remaining 1/2 cup cream, mascarpone cheese, and nutmeg with electric mixer for about a minute on low just to loosen up the cheese. Then add the orange juice and whip on med-high speed until soft peaks form.
3) Then fold with a spatula in about a third of the cream into the chocolate. Then fold in the remaining cream- I ended up having to pull out my wooden spoon again to mix it together. This step takes a while too. (but worth it!)
For the Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling)
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 recipe creme anglaise (the one we prepared at the beginning)
1). Fold mascarpone cheese and whipped cream into creme anglaise
1 pavlova base + scoop of chocolate mascarpone mousse (spread nicely around) + a drizzle of mascarpone cream + a little fresh mint to garnish = yum! enjoy kiddies! (you've definitely earned it!)
*It might be easier to make the mousse the day before too- just so all the work doesn't have to be done all at the same time- this recipe is a little intense for one day