Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova

There is no nicer day in my opinion, than one that starts with hollandaise and ends with pavlova. It is quite the perfect situation that using egg yolks to make one yummy things results in spare egg whites to make something else just as yummy!
I often make pavlova when presented with lots of left over egg whites, and given that berries are now widely available (and so cheap and tasty!) I really wanted to give this chocolate pav of Nigella's a go.
Nigella pretty much does a different version of pavlova in each of her cookbooks, but I have never quite brought myself to try this one given what a departure it is from the classic recipe. Well, I have been missing out on something quite exquisite, even though it is somewhat different it is no less yummy for the addition of chocolate.
Pavlovas are truly the simplest dessert one can make, and since investing in a Kenwood mixer, I just love the ease with which I can now whip one up! This one was no exception, instead of the usual cornflour you add in cocoa powder and dark chocolate and instead of malt vinegar you add balsamic vinegar, which I think rounds it all out very nicely.

For the chocolate meringue base:

6 egg whites
one cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons best quality, unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved

1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

for the topping:

2 cups heavy cream
4 cups raspberries
2-3 tablespoons coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180C 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, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in.
Mound on to a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 9 inches in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150C and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it's ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of 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 on to a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate so that you get curls rather than rubble, as you don't want the raspberries' luscious colour and form to be obscured, and sprinkle haphazardly over the top, letting some fall, as it will, on the plate's rim.Serves 8-10.