Chocolate Pavlova Recipe
Updated: Jan 29, 2020
Pavlova (Pav) is a meringue cake that has a light and delicate crisp crust and a soft sweet marshmallow center. Pavlova is typically served with softly whipped cream and fresh fruit. There is a long standing debate about whether New Zealand or Australia invented this dessert, which has yet to be resolved. What is certain is that the name, Pavlova, was chosen in honor of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who toured both New Zealand and Australia in 1926.
A Pavlova is a meringue, and it is important when making a meringue that the egg whites reach maximum volume, so be sure the mixing bowl and whisk are clean and free of grease. Since only the whites of the eggs are needed, the eggs will need to be separated. It is easier to do this while the eggs are still cold. Once separated, cover the whites and let them come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes). Cover and refrigerate the egg yolks for another use. If possible, use superfine sugar (castor) when making this meringue as it dissolves faster into the egg whites than regular granulated white sugar. You can make your own by processing 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar in your food processor until very fine, about 30 - 60 seconds.
4 large egg whites(120 grams), at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (or lemon juice)
1 cup (200 grams) superfine (castor)sugar
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar (can use a flavored vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cornstarch (corn flour)
2 tablespoons (15 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch processed or regular unsweetened)
1 ounce (30 grams)semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (optional)
1 cup (240 ml)coldheavy whippingcream(cream with a 35-40% butterfat content)
1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated whitesugar(or to taste)
Fresh Fruit - passion fruit, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches, slices of oranges, gooseberries, and kiwi fruit are some good choices
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch (18 cm) circle on the parchment paper. Turn the parchment paper over so the circle is on the reverse side.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Then add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat, on high speed, until the meringue is shiny and holds stiff peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between two fingers. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth.)
Next, add the vanilla extract and vinegar and beat until combined. Using a small strainer, sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, fold in. If desired, fold in the chopped chocolate.
Before placing the meringue on the baking sheet, put a dab of the meringue on the underside of each corner of the parchment paper. This will prevent the paper from sliding or lifting up. Then gently pile the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges.
Place the baking sheet into the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Bake the Pavlova for about 60 - 75 minutes or until the outside is dry. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, when gently pressed. There may be some cracks and you will see that the inside is soft and moist.) Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven (about two hours).
The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.
Shortly before serving, gently place the meringue on a serving plate. Whip the cold cream and sugar in an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment (can use a hand mixer or a wire whisk), until soft peaks form. Mound the whipped cream into the center of the meringue and arrange the fruit on top of the cream. Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold well.
Makes 8 servings.