It’s been half a month since I last posted up a recipe. Truthfully it felt a little strange going to the kitchen after spending no more than half an hour each day in it for the past two weeks (the purpose of these solely being to get some food and bring it back to eat in my room or merely to cross it while going from the back door of the house to my room). I felt a tad bit disoriented and confused, flustered even. My systematic cooking-taking picture method was no more; first I forgot to jot down the recipe, then I left the camera in my room, and it felt very awkward to snap pictures with my right hand while simultaneously stirring with my left (the way I’ve always done it because this is a one-woman’s blog). I figured last night while watching Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer series that I should probably make something simpe, lest it should turn horribly wrong. Then the Chocolate Pavlova recipe came up and I remembered I have a punnet of strawberries in danger to go bad, and thought the decision to watch the video was probably quite providential. It’s a more indulgent take on the ballerina Anna-Pavlova inspired dessert, with the addition of cocoa powder and dark chocolate splinters. Real easy and I’m only too glad that it turned out better than expected.
I halved the amount of ingredients on the original recipe (except for the cocoa powder and vinegar) for the simple reason that I wasn’t planning to serve this to 10 people.
[ 4 egg whites (my eggs were small. 3 if large) + 1 cup of caster sugar + 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar + 1 ounce dark chocolate, finely chopped ]
[ 1 cup heavy cream, whipped + 2 cups strawberries (or raspberries) + 1 ounce dark chocolate ]
Prepare the pan: Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius and line a baking sheet with parchment. Draw a 9-inch-diameter circle on the paper with a pencil, then flip the paper over so the pavlova won’t touch the pencil mark (you’ll still be able to see the circle).
Make the meringue: Beat the egg whites with a mixer until soft peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
Add the vinegar, sift the cocoa powder in and add in the chopped dark chocolate. Gently fold into the meringue.
Mound the meringue onto the parchment within the circle, smoothing the sides and the top with a spatula.
Place in the 150 degrees Celsius oven for 1 minute, then immediately turn the temperature down to 120 degrees Celsius. This makes sure that the outside of the meringue crisps up and will not loose its shape. Cook for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. When it’s ready, it should look crisp and dry on top, but when you prod the center it will still be gooey and soft.
Turn off the oven and open the door slightly; let the pavlova completely in the oven. When you’re ready to serve, transfer onto a big plate and peel off the parchment.
When the pavlova cools, spread the whipped heavy cream on top.
Scatter the strawberries (or raspberries). Coarsely grate the dark chocolate on top of the strawberries and sprinkle on a handful of chopped pistachio (optional).