Chocolate and Cherry Pavlova
I only discovered this recipe last week, it is incredibly delicious so I had to share it straightaway!!..It is inspired by the retro dessert, black forest gateau, but made with chocolate meringue instead of sponge – it’s fantastic. The recipe is from Rosie Birkett’s cookbook ‘The Joyful Home Cook’, and with recipes like this, it truly is a joyous book! Cherries are in season at the moment, but this recipe would work well year-round, even when they are out of season, as they are macerated in Marsala wine which sweetens them. Although it is made with meringue, once made up, this dessert does keep quite well in the fridge as unlike traditional meringues it is mixed with hazelnuts and chocolate which give it a coarser texture that doesn’t dissolve with the addition of cream. Having said that, I do think it tastes better fresh, and there won’t be much leftover once you get started on it!…
100g dark chocolate (I use Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate), roughly broken up
4 egg whites
220g caster sugar
½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
100g blanched, skinless hazelnuts, roughly chopped
500g cherries, pitted
175ml Marsala wine or cherry liqueur
350ml double cream
10g dark chocolate for grating
- First, macerate the cherries. Put them in a bowl and cover with the Marsala wine, tossing them so that they are thoroughly coated. Set aside.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (a bain-marie).
- Whisk the egg whites in a spotlessly clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Gradually, in batches, add the caster sugar, whisking constantly until the mixture is thick and glossy. Whisk in the vinegar. Pour the melted chocolate down the sides of the bowl, turning the bowl to distribute it evenly, then add the nuts and fold them through lightly so that the meringue is marbled with the chocolate.
- Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment, draw a 20cm circle on each and spread the meringue mixture evenly onto each circle – creating two meringue discs.
- Bake in a preheated oven, 110’c fan, for 2 hours. Remove from the oven, lift the meringues and parchment onto wire racks to cool.
- Whip up the cream until it just forms soft peaks – being careful not to over-whip it.
- Drain the Marsala from the macerating cherries and fold it into the cream – it will seem runny at first but will thicken as you incorporate it. Now fold in half of the cherries.
- Peel the baking parchment from the cooled meringues. Place one of the meringues on a serving plate, spread with just over half the cream mixture and top with the other meringue disc. Top with the remaining cream mixture and then the remaining cherries. Grate over the dark chocolate and serve.