Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chocolate Pavlova with Caramely Bananas & Mascarpone Cream

Christmas morning is the perfect time to justify a leisurely dessert-like brekkie. And it seems to me that the messiness of pavlova certainly mirrors the disarray of little ones rushing down the stairs Christmas morning. I don't know about you, but for me, Christmas mornings are as relaxed and comfortable as a holiday gets. No one minds if they don't look their best in front of mom's camera when there are gifts to unwrap and gasps of surprise to be heard.

While Pavlova is usually thrown together with summer berries (as in last summer's strawberry-basil pavlova) it can take a winter turn as well with the addition of chocolate in the meringue base. Sauteed bananas are coated in caramel and a sprinkling of nutmeg, and a mascarpone cream sweetened with maple syrup simply resounds of breakfast.

And did I mention it's all spiked with a wee bit of Baileys Irish Cream? Good Christmas morning!

Continue to Recipe...

Recipe: Chocolate Pavlova with Caramely Bananas & Mascarpone Cream
Serves 6-8

1) Make chocolate meringues the night before. Loosely cover at room temperature.
2) In the morning, whip up the mascarpone cream and leave in the fridge until ready to eat.
3) Do up the caramely bananas.
4) Assemble: Spread cream all over top of meringue and gently spoon the hot bananas over all.

Chocolate Meringue
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
6 egg whites
1 1/3 cup (300g) sugar 
3 Tb cocoa powder
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1.75 oz (50g) finely chopped milk chocolate

Heat oven to 350°F/180°C
1) In a freshly washed and dried large metal mixing bowl, add your egg whites. You can crack them one at a time over a smaller bowl and then add them and if you fear getting any yolk in...which you really don't want here. Start your mixer on low spread and mix until peaks form - a few minutes - then add the sugar and build up the speed. Mix for about 5 minutes, until the meringue is quite shiny and when you pinch it you cannot feel any sugar. 

2) Sift the cocoa powder over top, sprinkle the balsamic vinegar and chocolate pieces, and fold in well with a large spoon. 

3) Spread on a well-oiled (or baking paper is even better) baking sheet as a large fluffy disk about 3-4 cm high. Turn oven down to 300°F/150°C and slide in. Bake 1 1/4 hr. Cracks will form and peaks will darken. Take out and allow to cool before removing from pan.

Mascarpone Cream
9 oz (250g) marscapone
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1-2 Tb maple syrup 
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tb whisky cream liquor (e.g. Baileys Irish Cream)

1) Toss everything in a bowl and mix together. Keep cold until ready to use.

Spiced Caramelized Bananas
1/2 stick (50g) butter
4 bananas, sliced on a slight diagonal
1 1/2 cups (220g) brown sugar
1 1/4 cup (300 ml) full-fat milk
2 Tb whisky cream liquor (e.g. Baileys Irish Cream)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

 1) In a med-large saucepan, melt the butter and toss in the bananas. Cook a few minutes, until warmed but not yet too mushy. Scoop out and reserve.

2) Add the sugar and about 3 Tb of water (more or less depending on how much butter is still floating around.) Swirl a bit and cook until dissolved and caramel forms. Add in the milk and whisky cream. Stir well and gently heat until smooth and well-mixed. Add in the bananas and sprinkle with nutmeg.

 Dobrou Chut' / Enjoy.
-- Jo


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