It’s time for the August Daring Kitchen Challenge! Thank you first to Marcellina in Cucina for hosting. I was so excited to give this a try because I don’t think I’ve made a real meringue since college. I make Swiss meringue buttercream almost exclusively when I’m not make chocolate frosting, but a good old meringue on its own hadn’t made its way into this kitchen.
So, what is a pavlova? A pavlova is simply a meringue baked until light, airy and crispy, traditionally topped with fruit and cream. There are as many variations as you can possibly imagine. They can be a single round, layered, miniature, piped into a little bowl shape…
For the challenge, I knew right away I wanted to make chocolate pavlova. Because I love chocolate. And I’m honestly not a huge meringue fan, so I wanted to add some sort of flavor to the base. I did some hunting around and finally settled on a version I adapted from Brown Eyed Baker. It was quite sweet in the end, so I’m glad I made whipped cream with just a hint of sugar. It really helped cut the sweetness. I do love that it’s light for a dessert, it’s definitely unique around these parts, and it has a fun little crunch to it. It’s also really versatile and, with some advance notice, pretty darn easy to pull together. I would definitely consider bringing one of these to a future dinner party or attempting some other meringue-based desserts, like the ever-popular macaron.
Thanks again, Marcellina! I can’t wait to see the other submissions!
Chocolate-Dark-Chocolate-Chip Pavlova with Whipped Cream & Berries
For the Meringue:
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped
For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Garnish:
Dark chocolate chips
First off, it’s very important that the egg whites be at room temperature when you start. I left my whole eggs out all day, but you can also put them in a bowl of very warm water for 15 minutes.
Heat your oven to 325ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment and grease a 9″ circle. Add flour and tap off excess. Set aside.
Whip your egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar gradually. Once sugar has been incorporate, beat on med-high for 10 minutes until sugar has dissolved. Add the pinch of salt. Beat for one more minute.
Sift in cocoa powder and fold gently to incorporate. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread the meringue out on the parchment to cover the circle you greased and floured. Place sheetpan in oven and immediately lower the temperature to 250ºF. Bake for approximately 1 hour until shell is harden and hollow when you tap it (gently!)
Turn off oven and allow your meringue to cool in the oven. This could take anywhere from an hour or longer. I wound up leaving mine in there overnight. At that point, you can either serve immediately or wrap up and store in an airtight container for up to two days. Humidity is not kind to meringue, so keep the weather in mind when you bake this, especially if you plan in advance. When I baked it, it was actually a pretty hot day and I was a little worried, but it survived beautifully all night in the oven and all day today in foil in the pantry.
To make your whipped cream, place cold cream in a mixing bowl and whip on high until medium peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-mix.
When you’re ready to serve, spread the cream over the meringue and top with fruit and chocolate. Don’t be too alarmed if a plop of whipped cream suddenly causes a crack and deflation. It still tastes really good!