Full disclosure, I have never made a pavlova before I made this one because I normally leave that to my neighbour Lynne, ‘Queen of Pav’. Anyway, I bit the bullet and made this chocolate and raspberry beauty for my lovely family for a post-lockdown reunion lunch. It was a hit!
- 4 egg whites
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 2 tbsps, cocoa powder, sieved
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 35g dark chocolate, very finely chopped
- 300ml whipping cream
- 225g punnet of fresh raspberries
- 1 tsp icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 tablespoons of coarsely grated dark chocolate or curls
- Preheat the oven to 180oC.
- Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and use a 20cm baking tin to pencil in a circle to use as a template for adding the meringue base.
- To make the French meringue base, you must use a bowl that is completely free of any trace of fat. It’s best to use a metal bowl (I used my Smeg kitchen mixer but a bowl with a freestanding electric whisk will also do nicely) wiped with a little kitchen paper dipped in vinegar. It’s also important not to get any of the fat from the egg yolk into the egg white or the meringue won’t form. I break each egg in a separate bowl to the mixing bowl, that way if I break one, it doesn’t taint or waste the rest of the whites.
- Beat the egg white until it forms satiny peaks. Beat in the sugar a tablespoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny and then the cocoa powder. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand or put aside your hand whisk. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate and the vinegar over the meringue. Gently fold everything in using a rubber spatula – preserve the air and the structure of the mixture but make sure everything is fully incorporated.
- Use a little of the meringue to stick the underside of each corner of the baking parchment to the baking tray. Mound the meringue mixture into the centre of the circle you’ve drawn on the baking parchment. Use the back of a spoon or a palette knife to spread the meringue so that it covers the circle evenly – it should be flat with the sides at the same level as the centre.
- Place in the oven on the middle shelf and immediately turn it down to 150oC. Cook for and hour and fifteen minutes. It should be crisp around the edges and squidgy inside. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and allow it to cool completely.
- If you make this ahead of time it will keep perfectly well in a cool room, don’t be tempted to put it in the fridge or it will go soft.
- When you’re ready to serve, invert it onto a flat bottomed plate or cake stand and peel away the baking parchment.
- Whisk the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla paste until soft and cloud like. Pile it on top of the meringue. Scatter the raspberries over the cream and top with grated chocolate.
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