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Thursday 5 August 2010

The Most Amazing Chocolate Pavlova

Pavlova, indeed all meringues and I have a fickle relationship. I love pavlova, but for the longest time pavlova hated me. This was until...I realised that pavlova is just insecure. To be successful, one must stroke pavlova’s ego with words of kindness and a light touch.

Anyway, this AMAZING chocolate pav is a Nigella recipe, from her Forever Summer cookbook. Many of you will have seen the recipe before, but I have ever so slightly tweaked it to make it the best pudding you’ll eat this Summer. This year. Possibly even your life.

This serves anywhere from 6 - 10, depending on how greedy you all are.

You will need:
  • 6 room temperature egg whites
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 50g dark (70% cocoa) chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 500ml double cream
  • 250g frozen raspberries
  • 250g fresh strawberries
  • 2-3 tablespoons coarsely grated chocolate
This may seem like an awful lot of ingredients, but fear not, it’s not as complicated as it looks. I highly recommend measuring everything out before you begin, because then you can just plonk it in at the right point without faffing about with scales et al.

Make it!
  1. Preheat your oven to 180˚C, and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. You want to be able to pull the whisk out and see soft peaks still standing
  3. Gradually add the sugar, handful at a time, until the egg whites become stiff and shiny. They will change quite dramatically in consistency, and almost look over beaten, but don’t panic, that’s meant to happen
  4. Sprinkle over the cocoa and the vinegar, and gently fold in, until well mixed.
  5. Mound the mixture onto the baking sheet in a fat circle, smoothing the sides and top. The mixture should hold it’s shape. If not, you’ve over beaten and you’ll need to add another egg white.
  6. Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 150˚C and bake for 1 to 1 and a quarter hours. Leave to cool in the oven with the door open.
  7. When you’re ready to serve, bung it out upside down onto a large plate. Whip the cream until stiff but not stodgy.
  8. Cover with lashings of whipped cream and artfully arrange the berries on top. Grate some chocolate over and serve!
Some Hot Tips:
  • Don’t even try to serve this neatly. Get a large spoon and save yourself the hassle.
  • It’s meant to look cracked and cratered. It’s...charming.
  • I use frozen raspberries, because the combination of the cold and sour berry, the cream and the warm chocolately heaven is, well, orgasmic.
The Tips That I Wish Someone Had Told Me:
  • Room temperature eggs. A must. If they’re straight from the fridge, fill a bowl with tap hot water and immerse until warmed.
  • Use a stainless steel bowl. Or plastic. Don’t, whatever you do, use ceramic. The egg whites can’t grip to the sides, so they slip back down and wont rise as much as you need.
  • Wash and dry your instruments thoroughly before you use them
  • Make sure there is absolutely no yolk or shell in the egg whites. Yolks are fat, and fat is the enemy of meringue. Shells are just mean, and I have no scientific reason why they ruin your meringue, but they will.
  • I always beat my egg whites by hand. It takes longer and more effort, but it’s easier to see when to stop beating. Obviously when I say I beat the eggs, I mean I get my boyfriend to do it while I watch and bark orders.
Do do do try this! It’s delicious and will instantly give you cooking cred with your friends. It’s become my signature dish.

Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson is available from £11.04 at Amazon.


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