Last weekend I celebrated a milestone birthday and had a wonderful party, joined by many of the friends we’ve made in this lovely place we now call home. Being me, of course there had to be a cake, but being summer, a fresh dessert was also called for. The original recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s “Forever Summer” recipe book and calls for Raspberries. The brown-ness of the chocolate pavlova, covered with the fluffy whiteness of the whipped cream, topped with the bright red of the raspberries and then the sprinkles of grated chocolate add summer to any table spread, but alas, I couldn’t find raspberries!!
Blueberries had to suffice and although the rainbow of colour wasn’t the same, my tastebuds still enjoyed the treat, and, as a friend commented on the night, the blueberries are of course one of the “Super Foods” so it was a far “healthier” option :)!
Well, it contained chocolate and looked great and everyone seemed to enjoy it, so give it a go and try whatever berries you can get your hands on, although I do advise that they are fresh and not of the canned or frozen variety, although they may be just as delicious if you’re dying to try this dessert in the middle of a cold white winter. The pavlova has to be crispy crunchy on the outside with the inside a squidgy mass of chocolate flavoured heaven and don’t be alarmed if it seems to collapse or crack. This particular recipe is meant to do just that.
for the chocolate meringue base:
6 egg whites
300 g caster sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder, sieved
1 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
50 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
for the topping:
500 ml double cream (normal NZ cream for any Kiwis trying it out – our cream is such good quality we don’t need to worry about % fat or double, etc.)
500 g blueberries, raspberries or any berry of your choice
2 – 3 Tbsp coarsely grated dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
- Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, followed by the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in.
- Mound the mixture onto a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23 cm in diameter, smoothing the sides and top.
- Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C and cook for about on to one and a quarter hours.
- When you prod the centre you should feel the squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disc cool completely.
- When you’re ready to serve, invert onto a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream ’til thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the berries.
- Coarsely grate the remaining chocolate and sprinkle over the top.