vegan chocolate pavlovas with chocolate mascarpone mousse

We were out of heavy cream, eggs, and milk. I needed to make chocolate pavlovas (piped meringue cookies) with chocolate mascarpone mousse. So I whipped I together an eggless chocolate meringue, chocolate cashew mousse, and vanilla tofu cream. Not in a casual, oh this little thing (pointing to the dessert) sort of flippant remark. But, pavlova is nothing to scoff at, as I learned, the dessert takes time.

vegan chocolate pavlova with chocolate cashew mousse and cherries

Pavlova is the national dessert of both Australia and New Zealand and both countries claim it as their own. The dessert dates back to the 1920s when legendary Russian ballerina Anna Matveyevna Pavlova (1881-1931) toured Australia and New Zealand. She was thought to be the greatest ballerina of her time. A dancer as light and airy as the dessert named after her.

Eggless meringues are tough to mimic. Even more so when you’re in a hurry. Mine fell flat, without hardening, like a cross between chocolate chews and wafer thin brownies. Stringy and gooey. Not in a good way.

Then it was onto creating cashew cream in place of mascarpone and then folding the cream into chocolate mousse. Both turned out to be believable stand-ins, although not exact matches. Vanilla tofu cream was whisked into the cashew cream in place of creme anglaise (note: after sitting in the refrigerator overnight, the chocolate mascarpone mousse and the vanilla tofu cream were both stunning!).

A few cherries dotted the plate and I have to admit, they were better than the pavlova all together. Sweet, tart and unadorned.

vegan chocolate pavlova with chocolate cashew mousse and cherries (close)

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.

Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
recipes from Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard

Recipe 1: Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):

3 large egg whites (sub 3 tablespoons Ener-g Egg Replacer whisked into 4 tablespoons water plus 2 pinches cream of tartar, next time I’m trying this vegan meringue recipe)
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar (sub organic cane sugar)
¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar (sub organic cane sugar)
1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets
with silpat or parchment and set aside.
2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and
gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should
be firm but moist.)
3. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients
into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come
4. Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire.
Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon.
5. Bake for 2-3 (3 hours) hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight
container for up to 3 days.

Recipe 2: Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):

1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent) (sub soy creamer)
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone (sub cashew cream)
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)

1. Put ½ cup (120 mls) of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high
heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture
to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.
2. Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a
minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed
until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)
3. Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining
mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just
free form mousse on top of the pavlova.

Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):

1 recipe crème anglaise (sub vanilla tofu cream)
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone (sub cashew cream)
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream (sub soy creamer)

1. Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the
mixture cool. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are
formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Recipe 4: Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above):

1 cup (235 mls) whole milk (sub soy milk)
1 cup (235 mls) heavy cream (sub soy creamer)
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (use vanilla bean)
6 large egg yolks (sub 1 1/2 cups Silken tofu)
6 tbsp (75 grams) sugar (sub organic cane sugar)

1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
2. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the
mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.
3. Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from
making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture
and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture
thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
4. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover
and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.

Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with
confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.


  1. Audax says

    I'm always impressed with vegan bakers and the really hard task of making the monthly recipe. Your final version looks so good well done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Lucky Girl says

    goodness, i'm jealous! i tried making this vegan too ( 3 times! ) and the results were all flops. well done! it was a good challenge to get us thinking though! 😉

  3. bunkycooks says

    Great challenge! I know that being vegan makes it even more of a challenge. Your pavlovas look lovely.

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