This is my go-to no-fail pavlova recipe that I have made again and again thanks to Nigella Lawson. When I first came across it, the purist in me protested. A chocolate pav isn't really a pav, I thought. Then I tried to imagine what a dark chocolate chewy marshmallowy meringue centre would taste like and I was out like a shot buying the ingredients.
I consider this a no-fail recipe because it always tastes good regardless of whether the meringue sinks or not. It also doesn't matter if it cracks because you just cover it up with cream anyway. In fact, I think this pav looks good because of the cracks. The cracks give a preview of the light and squidgy chocolate goodness waiting for you. As you can see from the photo, I overwhipped the cream. That's because I was busy chatting to my guests and my Kitchen Aid mixer was too efficient for its own good. That didn't matter either! You just end up gobbling down this pav because it's so tasty.
When I serve, I don't tend to put the cream and raspberries on the entire meringue disc. Instead, I serve the pav individually. I do this so that I can store the leftover meringue without it going soggy with the cream. The meringue keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge. Plus, when done this way, everyone gets a generous amount of cream, raspberries and chocolate shavings.
6 large egg whites
300 g caster sugar
3 T cocoa powder, sieved
1 T balsamic vinegar
50 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
500 ml double cream
500 g raspberries
3 T dark chocolate, coarsely grated
Preheat oven to 180 °C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Beat egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until that meringue is still and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound on to the baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23 cm in diameter, smoothing the side and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150 °C and cook for about 1 to 1 and a quarter hours.
When it's ready, it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the meringue disc cool completely.
When you're ready to serve, invert on to big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate so that you get curls rather than rubble.
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