Chocolate Pavlova

Pavlovas make such an impressive dessert and I love how versatile they are- you can leave out the chocolate and change this to vanilla flavours instead, allowing you change toppings to things like passion fruit or lemon curd. But today we’re all about the chocolate, which I thought would be a perfect Sunday treat!

Here’s what goes in:

For the meringue:

6 egg whites

300g of caster sugar

3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, sieved

1 teaspoon of balsamic or red wine vinegar

60g of dark chocolate, or substitute with 30g of milk chocolate and 30g of dark chocolate to lighten it

1 teaspoon of baking powder

For the topping:

500ml of whipping cream

Fresh raspberries or strawberries

How to do it:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a flat baking tray. In a dry bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and then gradually add the caster sugar, a large spoonful at a time, while you keep the mixer going. I love using my electric cake mixer for this because it means that I can be a little hands-free while it’s working its magic.

Once all the sugar is in, your meringue should be stiff and shiny.

Using a really large baking spatula, gently fold in the baking powder, cocoa, vinegar and the chopped chocolate – setting aside an extra block or two to grate and sprinkle over the whipped cream before serving. Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Scrape this out onto your baking sheet, making a circle formation. Try to create something that resembles a cake, with swirls and peaks.

Pop your meringue in the oven, and immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C. The baking time should be anything from an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. To check if it’s ready, open the oven door and gently tap the meringue. It should be firm and dry to the touch. If you’ve achieved that around the one-hour mark, don’t overcook it because you want it to have a soft, marshmallow-like texture in the middle.

Turn off the oven and open the door slightly to let the meringue completely cool. To serve, gingerly peel the paper from underneath and place it on a flat platter or plate. Whip the cream into soft peaks and pile it on top of the meringue. Then add fruit and grate chocolate over the top, for a grand finish!

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