So this is it guys, my party piece! This is my go to dessert for celebrations. I made it on Valentine’s day, I made it when I hosted Christmas (the follow up to an absolutely delicious slow roasted duck) and I made it when a couple of friends came to my teeny tiny flat for a sofa-based dinner party. And let me tell you, it never fails to put a smile on people’s faces.
Maybe it’s the chunks of chocolate hiding in the meringue, maybe the lashings of rose scented cream or maybe just the fact that it looks pretty darned irresistible. For me the best thing about it is its simplicity. As long as you have access to an electric whisk of some description, the meringue is an absolute breeze and the cream will be whipped in moments, then it’s just an assembly job, where you can be as flamboyant as your heart desires.
The recipe can easily be doubled for a larger crowd but this one generously serves 4 and is perfect for a more intimate soiree. The meringue takes a while to cool in the oven so I tend to make the meringue the night before and top it immediately before serving.
And don’t worry about the cracks, how else will folks know it’s homemade? And who wants perfection anyway? Yawn.
Raspberry, Rose and Chocolate Pavlova
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
For the meringue:
3 large free range egg whites
150g caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
25g dark chocolate, chopped
For the topping:
250ml double cream
1 to 2 tsps rose water (to taste)
250g of raspberries
Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
Handful of toasted flaked almonds
A few chocolate chunks or grated dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180C / 170C Fan / 350F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a super clean bowl, with a super clean electric whisk (I went with a stand mixer) beat the egg whites until they form satiny peaks (they won’t stand up fully at this stage), then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue whisking until the mixture is stiff and shiny and gorgeous.
Switch off the whisk, add the cocoa, vinegar and chocolate and fold them in gently. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread into a smooth, fat circle. Pop it into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 150C / 145C Fan / 300F. Leave it for 1 hour, until it looks dry on the top, then turn off the oven, open it a crack (I pop a wooden spoon in the door to keep it open) and leave to cool completely.
Once cooled I put the meringue on a large plate, cover it with clingfilm and leave it until it’s time to serve.
Before serving, whisk the cream until thick and stir in the rosewater. Spread the mixture over the meringue and top with the fruit, almonds and chocolate. Enjoy!