Monday, July 5, 2010
Nigella's Chocolate Pavlova
I've been trying to make this dessert for a few weeks now. But you have to leave it in the oven for a while and my oven didn't have that kind of time to spare. I don't know about you guys...but weekends are my only time to really get down and dirty with the cooking / baking. During the week, pavlova was just out of the question.
I found this lovely dessert in my newest cookbook find, Nigella Fresh, formerly published as Forever Summer. I've never had pavlova before. If someone asks you what pavlova is like, don't compare it meringue, or divinity. The consistency is very different than either of those. It looks fluffy but it's not. It's not dense either. The edges are crispy..in a fragile way and the inside melts in your mouth.
I have a nice little tip that I saw Nigella do on one of her shows: get out a plate that's about 9" and use it to trace a circle on your parchment paper. Turn the paper over and place on your baking sheet. This will give you a guide when mounding the "meringue" (which I guess it still is until it's been baked).
I don't have step by step instructions. Time did not allow. I was preparing this for a July 4th get together with some friends and I still had a ton to do. (you know the drill....cleaning, cooking, getting ready yourself...yadda yadda yadda)
6 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (Nigella said to use bittersweet chocolate, but I didn't have any)
Preheat your oven to 350'F
Prepare your parchment paper with your guideline (as suggested above) and line your baking sheet with it.
Beat the egg whites until shiny peaks form. Beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the "meringue" is stuff and shinny. My peaks were forever shinny but they took forever to become stiff. Must be my old beater.
Sift the cocoa powder onto your meringue (you really don't want lumps), add the vinegar and the chopped chocolate. Gently fold it all together until the cocoa powder is thoroughly mixed in.
Just when you think you've done that...check the bottom of the bowl. I'll bet there's some dry cocoa down there.
Scoop it all out onto your parchment paper lined baking sheet to fill in that 9" circle. Smooth the top and the edges.
Place into your preheated oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 300'F. Bake for about an hour or up to 1 hr. 15 mins. The edges will look crispy and the top will look dry. Turn the heat off, leaving the "meringue" inside....keep the oven door cracked open and allow to cool completely.
Just before serving, top with 2 1/2 cups of whipped cream and your choice of fresh berries
I chose Raspberries, Blueberries and Blackberries to give my dessert a patriotic touch.
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and back to our regularly scheduled program.
I have some good things lined up for this week. A lovely pastry that started out one way and ended up completely different than I had imaginarily planned. I also have one more Morel Mushroom post, a corn casserole and a delicious sandwich. Oh, and I just found out that will be getting a flat of fresh strawberries from one of my co-workers. Her family owns a prize winning strawberry field in Oxnard. Can't wait for those babies. I think I'm going to try making some pound cake or angel food cake to go with some of those. Maybe some strawberry shortcake. Any other suggestions? Recommendations?