Thursday, May 05, 2011
Pavlova with Berries and Dark Chocolate Sauce
From my favorite domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson.
If you are a fan of Nigella then you know that she includes at least one recipe for a pavlova in pretty much every cookbook. This one is from Feast and I adapted it a smidge and added chocolate sauce on top. Note, this is NOT a dessert that you make at the last minute. The pav needs to bake for 1.5 hrs and then be allowed to cool completely in the oven. The rest comes together in a snap, tho. Also, it looks magnificent and the guests at the dinner party where I served this dessert were thrilled. Also? Gluten-free.
Really important note: DO NOT USE egg whites from a carton. It will result in a fail. Use whites from eggs you cracked yourself being very careful not to get a single speck of yolk in them. Save the yolks for use in making ice cream or custard.
Makes 10-12 servings.
For the pav:
8 egg whites
2.5 C sugar (super-fine if you have it)
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 C heavy whipping cream
3 C assorted berries (I used macerated strawberries and added blackberries before serving)
dark chocolate sauce
Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment and trace a 10" circle in the middle; set aside. In the bowl of your mixer, add egg whites and salt. Whip at high speed until satiny peaks form. Beat in sugar 1/4 C at a time until meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over cornstarch, vinegar and extract and whisk to combine. Mound onto baking sheet within the circle and smooth sides and top with an offset spatula. Put in the oven and IMMEDIATELY reduce temp to 300. Bake for 1.25 to 1.5 hrs. It will have risen and cracked on the top and a little around the sides. If it is not dry and crispy looking on the outside give it a little more time in the oven. When done, turn off oven and open door, leaving the pav inside to cool completely.
When ready to serve, whip the cream until soft and fluffy but not stiff. Invert the pav onto a serving platter and mound whipped cream on top. Spoon over berries and drizzle chocolate sauce (warm slightly if need be for ease of pouring) over top. Serve immediately and be sure to eat it all up. This is not a dessert that can be easily stashed in the fridge to be eaten later. The cream will separate a bit and the pav will get soft and mushy. And, OMG, this is one heavenly dessert. It is light and airy yet satisfying.