Raspberry and Chocolate Pavlova Recipe
Have I mentioned before my lack of love for a hairy summer fruit? Possibly I have, but for any of you newbies, I don’t like a hairy summer fruit. This includes gooseberries, blackberries and raspberries and extends even to a peach and it’s bum fluff like skin. On the acceptable summer fruit list are such joys as strawberries, nectarines and cherries. However, I do sometimes allow raspberries to sneak onto the acceptable list because, despite the hair and annoying seeds, I love their flavour. They are fragrant, tart but not sour and go so, so well with chocolate. So today, lets appreciate this seasonal coupling by enjoying a Raspberry and Chocolate Pavlova.
Who else could have invented this indulgent dish than Queen Nigella herself, and for that, I thank her. Ever since I mastered meringues, I love making meringue based desserts. They look impressive and are usually enormous, serving our large family, of which ours is mostly permanently starving boys. And oh so simple to make, just some whisking, for quite a long time, then some baking and cooling. The decoration is simply some more whisking, placing of fruit and grating of chocolate, hardly a trial. Your guests will be super impressed and will fear you will have missed a whole day of sunbathing in order to make such an impressive dessert. The edges of this Raspberry and Chocolate Pavlova are crisp while the centre is soft and chocolatey with the odd bite of dark chocolate chips. The pavlova’s sweetness, crispness and softness is so wonderful with my usually banned raspberries. They add a touch of well needed juice and bite, even though I have to gloss over their hairy seediness.
This is pure crowd pleasing chocolate, cream and raspberry heaven, but you don’t have to play by my rules. This can be made slightly more black forest with some cherries or go with strawberries for a super traditional summer feel. You can fashion this Pavlova into just what you want it to be, but I’d keep away from cheese or gravy, which would be George’s strange additions.
Classic dessert ingredients here, apart from the unusual addition of balsamic vinegar. Don’t be put off, this just ensures the meringue stays good and chewy in the middle, it doesn’t impart any odd flavours.
Make a start on this head turning dessert by pre heating your oven to 170 degrees fan assisted and lining a large baking sheet.
Then separate your eggs, adding the whites to your stand mixer or a large bowl and keeping the yolks to use on another occasion. I am such a terrible hoarder, I froze mine. Whisk the whites until you have stiff peaks.
Once you have reached this stage, keep whisking while you add the caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time until you have added the whole 300 grams.
Carry on whisking the meringue until its super thick and glossy and you can no longer feel the sugar in the mixture when you rub it between your fingers. It should be completely smooth.
Finally fold in the chopped chocolate, balsamic vinegar, vanilla extract, and sifted cocoa. No need to dirty a big sieve just for 3 tablespoons, why not use a tea strainer. The chunks of chocolate will add a bit of added bite and surprise to the finished meringue.
Give the chocolate meringue a final whisk then tip the whole lot onto your lined baking sheet.
Smooth the top and sides of the chocolate meringue mix into a rough 9 inch or 23cm circle. This should be slightly rough looking, no need to be super precise. Thank God.
Put in the oven, turning it down to 150 degrees immediately, for around an hour, maybe an hour and fifteen minutes. The end pavlova should be crisp on the top and edges with still a hint of softness in the middle.
Ignore the cracks, they show character, a bit like my crows feet. Turn the oven off once it’s cooked but leave to cool completely in the oven with the door ajar.
Once the meringue is cool and you are ready to serve, whip your double cream with just a touch of vanilla extract. You’re looking for soft peaks here, nothing too stiff.
Now, take your pavlova and placing your plate, board or cake stand over the top, turn the tray upside down so the top of your pavlova becomes the base. Don’t be nervous, if your pavlova falls to pieces, it’s super easy to cover/patch any cracks and such with the whipped cream and fruit.
Slather the bottom, which is now the top, with your whipped cream and smooth over.
Pile your raspberries onto the cream in an elegant tumble then grate on some dark chocolate or crumbled flake.
Serve immediately in delicate slithers or whopper wedges.
Light, rich, chocolatey, fruity this is summer dessert heaven. And it’s bloody huge, so either you have got one great big Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova all to yourself or enough for a hungry lunch/supper party. On a side note, leftovers make a wonderful slightly soggy treat for the next couple of days. Channel your inner Nigella by eating this straight from the fridge in a silky dressing gown, or your inner Lucy Loves in one of your son’s oversized tee shirts, the choice is yours.
Raspberry and Chocolate Pavlova Recipe
You will need a hand whisk and a bowl or stand whisk
Serves 8 to 10 quite greedy people
6 egg whites, keep the yolks for ice cream or freeze them
300g caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
50g dark chocolate, chopped into tiny pieces
500ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
500g raspberries or strawberries if you would rather
A couple of tablespoons of grated dark chocolate, or crumbled Flake
Make a start by lining a large baking sheet with baking paper or a non stick sheet and pre heating your oven to 170 degrees fan assisted.
Separate the eggs and add the whites to a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Freeze the yolks for another time. Whisk the eggs whites for a couple of minutes or until they hold stiff peaks. Now spoon in the caster sugar one spoonful at a time, whisking thoroughly until all the sugar has dissolved. Keep whisking until the mixture is glossy, smooth and super thick, this will take longer than you would imagine.
Spoon in the chopped dark chocolate, vanilla extract, balsamic vinegar and then sieve on the cocoa, I used a tea strainer. Whisk again to incorporate these final ingredients.
Tip the meringue onto the lined baking sheet and use a palette knife to fashion it into a rough 9 inch/23cm circle. Place this in the oven, immediately turning the temperature down to 150 degrees. Cook the pavlova for an hour to one hour and fifteen minutes. The cooked meringue will be crisp on the top and sides but still have a bit of squidge in the middle. Leave it to cool completely in the oven with the oven door slightly ajar.
Once the pavlova is cooled and you are ready to serve, whip your cream until it forms firm-ish peaks with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Place a large plate, board or cake stand on top of your cooled pavlova then turn it over so the bottom of the meringue is now the top. Slather the now top of the meringue with the whipped cream, pile on the raspberries then grate on a generous amount of dark or milk chocolate or crumble on some Flake.
Devour in large wedges. Any leftovers can be eaten from the fridge within 2 to 3 days.