Indulgent Chocolate Pavlova
This is the perfect dinner party dessert: A crowd-pleaser, gluten-free and easy to make-ahead; as well as being indulgent but not too heavy. Once you have mastered a basic meringue, you can play around with flavours (even adding juniper flavouring for a G'n'T meringue!).
I like to make mine with lots of sweetened cream and summer berries piled on top, but it can work equally well with a tropical, zesty lime cream, mango and passion fruit topping.
- 6 egg whites
- 1.75 cups (395g) caster sugar
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar/sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup (90g) dark chocolate (50-60%) (finely chopped)
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened) (sieved)
- 475ml double/whipping cream
- 5 tbsp icing sugar (sieved)
- Strawberries, Raspberries and Blackberries (a punnet of each)
- Line a large baking tray with baking parchment/greaseproof paper and turn the oven onto 150C (130C fan)/300F degrees.
- In a large, clean bowl, use an electric whisk to beat the egg whites until they form white medium peaks. (You should be able to invert the bowl over your head without the contents falling out).
- Continue to whisk at a lower speed, adding the sugar in a bit at a time. After 3-5 minutes you should have a glossy, thick and voluminous meringue mix.
- Add the vinegar (this helps to stabilise the meringue) and sieve in the cocoa powder. Whisk on a low speed until incorporated, and then fold the chocolate chips using a spatula.
- Use a small amount of meringue under each corner of the baking paper to stick it to the tray. Spoon the meringue mix onto the tray, spreading it out with a spatula into a smooth, thick-based circle.
- Place in the oven and bake for 1hr 15 mins. Without opening the oven door, switch the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven to cool for 1-2 hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare the fruit and when you are ready to serve the pavlova, use an electric whisk to beat the cream and icing sugar together in a large bowl until it forms medium peaks.
- To serve, scoop the cream over the meringue, smoothing it out with a spatula/palette knife and top generously with fresh fruit and a dusting of icing sugar.
- Drinking cocoa powder and cooking cocoa powder are not the same; make sure you get the unsweetened sort.
- Do not use a plastic mixing bowl to make the meringue: The electric whisk will scratch away at the plastic, mixing it into your meringue.
- Letting the meringue cool in the oven lets it cool at a more constant temperature. This keeps it nice and chewy in the middle and in the case that you have a simple meringue mix, will help it not to crack.
- Take care not to over-whisk the cream. If you do, you can rescue it by adding some more unwhipped cream (if you have any leftover!).