Pavlova, an Australian/New Zealand dessert traditionally consisting of a meringue base with whipped cream and berries. My first and only experience with a pavlova happened during my quarter studying abroad in Australia. While I absolutely loved traipsing through rain forests, searching for turtles on the beach, and wandering around new cities, I found that the cuisine fell a little short of my expectations. As a vegetarian who didn't eat cheese, the barbecue and other meaty delights were off the list. So, small as I am, I probably lost a good five to ten pounds over that three-month period! Some of the few things I found to eat, though, were desserts (this was before vegan tendencies). Almost every night for dessert in the Daintree Rainforest we were served pavlova. Many of my peers found the meringue and fruit combination not quite to their taste, but I really enjoyed the sugary cookie with berries and kiwi!
But as far as vegan desserts go, meringue falls on the more impossible side of the spectrum. Egg whites have this amazing leavening capacity and subtle flavor that make them hard to replace. But there comes the point when you have to try! My motivation - this month's daring baker's challenge.
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.
Using a vegan meringue recipe from AP269 and my own favorite chocolate "cream" recipe, I attempted this month's challenge. Ok, so this is probably the last vegan meringue I make, but I quite enjoyed the chocolate and strawberry combination!
2 1/2 cups tapioca starch - divided
1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
Maybe add a tsp of cream of tartar
1. All ingredients should be really cold (store in the refrigerator overnight).
2. Mix half of the tapioca starch with the rice flour, sugar and baking powder.
3. Add coconut milk and stir.
4. Knead well and let rest for 30 minutes.
5. Add remaining tapioca starch and knead well. The dough should have the consistency of shortcrust. You won't be able to pipe it, but you could use cookie cutters to make the pavlova bases.
6. Bake in preheated oven at 150°C/ 300°F for about 15-20 minutes.
They are a bit chalky in texture and taste a bit too much like rice. But, what can you expect when veganizing the unveganizable?
Chocolate "Mascarpone Cream"
14 oz silken lite tofu
1/2 cup coconut or almond milk
1/2 - 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 - 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Heat milk over medium heat. Melt chocolate chips in the milk.
2. In the meantime, food process tofu until smooth. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla.
3. When chocolate is melted add to the food processor and blend until uniform color. Make sure to taste it for desired sweetness.
4. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To Assemble, layer meringue, chocolate cream, and sliced strawberries. Enjoy!