Australians have a penchant for Pavlova. Most of us enjoyed them regularly in our childhoods. I know I certainly did. For ‘the one’ with his sweet tooth, Pavlova is a favoured dessert for any occasion. If you then add chocolate to the equation, this becomes a dessert to lust after. Chocolatey, gooey softness in the centre and crackly crunchiness on the outside combined with the smooth creams and fruit – you are tasting heaven. If you make the pavlova discs a day ahead and store them in an airtight container, you can then assemble about an hour prior to serving. You can use any fruits for the topping you wish. Anything that is in season is great. Select from frozen berries, fresh strawberries and passionfruit pulp or cherries. I adapted this recipe from Recipe+ Magazine, August 2009 Issue.
Chocolate Pavlova Stacks
Cooking time: 50 minutes plus two hours cooling time
5 egg whites
1 and 1/3 cups caster sugar
1/4 good cocoa powder
250 grams dark eating chocolate, chopped
600 ml cream
fruit of your choice for decoration
beaten egg whites and sugar
1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celcius (130 degrees Celcius fan forced). Using a pencil, mark a 20cm diameter circle on three (or however many discs you wish to make) sheets of baking paper. Line three baking trays with baking paper, pencil side down.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a large, clean dry bowl until firm peaks form. Add sugar gradually, beating until completely dissolved. Beat in sifted cocoa powder.
adding cocoa to egg/sugar mix
3. Spread meringue on circles on prepared trays. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until firm, swapping trays halfway through cooking. Turn off oven. Cool meringues in oven with door ajar for two hours.
4. Meanwhile, combine chocolate and 1/3 cup cream in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool. Using an electric mixer, beat remaining cream in a small bowl until firm peaks form.
5. To assemble, place one meringue layer on your serving plate. Spread with one third of chocolate mixture, then a third of whipped cream. Repeat layers. Top with desired fruits. Serve at once.