June’s Daring Bakers was definitely a bit of a challenge for me. The components were not really the difficult part, it was more trying to find the time to complete it that ended up being the challenge. We left on our road trip at the end of May so I read about my challenge from somewhere in Minnesota, we were home for only a few days in the middle of the month, and by the time this posts and you read it I will hopefully be enjoying myself on a warm beach in Hawaii! Needless to say, I am so glad I was able to complete it. There were a few components that I had never made before and it really was a fantastic tasting dessert.It seems as though the pavlova has many different interpretations. From what I read online, the pavlova was first made in Australia to honor the Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova. It is usually baked like a cake, but it is made with meringue so it ends up crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Whipping cream and fruit are then added to the top of the cake to finish it off. However, the recipe that we were given to use seems to be more of a meringue than what the Australians would call a pavlova, but it seems as though they are pretty similar.Our challenge was comprised of four parts: the pavlova, the chocolate mascarpone mousse, the mascarpone cream, and the creme anglaise. I began by making the creme anglaise. It reminded me a bit of the creme we had made for the pastries in our croquembouche so I used a few of the tips that I learned from that experience. Everything went well during this process.
I then made the pavlovas. This was my first attempt at making meringue. I have never even made a lemon meringue pie, although it is on my top 100 list, so it was definitely a new experience for me. I wanted to make the pavlovas small because it sounded like they were really rich, and since it was just my husband and me eating them I didn’t want to have to polish off a whole pavlova in one sitting. These also turned out well. I did a few different versions, some bigger than others and with varied designs.
The chocolate mascarpone mousse was next. Another first for me! This did give me a bit of a problem but I was able to work it out. Right after adding the chocolate to the cream it seemed as though the fat separated from the rest of the mixture and I had a chocolate glom sitting in a pool of liquid. I was able to fold in the mascarpone cream and it brought it together, although it was still a bit grainy. But the flavor! Oh my goodness! I loved how you could taste the citrus flavor (orange and lemon) in the mousse, and it seemed even more pronounced after sitting in the fridge for a few days.
I had fun playing around with different ways to plate it. Also, I used both strawberry and mango to garnish my pavlovas. Both were equally yummy!
For the recipes and more versions of the pavlova, email me. Enjoy!