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Chocolate Pavlova is a guaranteed good use of time in the kitchen. It is a French twist on an Australian/New Zealand classic.
Traditionally, Pavlova is a soft meringue filled with fruit and whipped cream. This French one fills the meringue with chocolate mousse.
Note: Making the Pavlovas on the day they are going to be used is best because of their soft, moist consistency. Keeping them in a cool place after they are baked is also preferable. Put the Chocolate Pavlovas together right before serving them so that the soft meringues don’t become soggy.
1. Preheat the oven to 250 F. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a baking sheet. Streak the baking sheet with butter so that the parchment paper doesn’t move around then line the sheet with the paper.
2. Mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Set aside. Beat the egg whites and lemon juice until they begin to froth, then gradually add the sugar and cornstarch. When the egg whites become stiff, beat a little more and add the vanilla. When they are stiff enough, the egg whites will not move in an upturned bowl.
3. With a large ice cream scoop or spoon, place 6 balls of the Pavlova mixture (about 1/2 cup each) on the baking sheet. Then, with the rounded side of a small ladle or spoon, press down and around to form a hollow in the center of each of them. This will transform the balls into discs of about 4-inches in diameter … and if they aren’t all quite that size, don’t worry about it.
4. Place the Pavlovas in the preheated oven. Leave the oven door half open and bake the Pavlovas for 1 hour and 30 minutes. At the end of that time, they will have a thin, crisp outer layer. The insides will be soft. For Pavlovas, this is how it should be. Take them out of the oven and place them on a cooling rack.
5. Break the chocolate into pieces and put it in the top part of a double boiler or in a homemade one made by fitting a heatproof bowl into the top of a pot partially filled with water. (The water should not quite touch the bottom of the bowl placed over it.) Melt the chocolate over the pot of simmering water. Once melted, set the double boiler aside off the heat—still with the chocolate sitting over the hot water. The chocolate will cool but not harden. If for some reason the chocolate is left until it begins to solidify, warm it a little just before folding it into the whipped cream.
6. Whip the heavy cream and as it forms soft mounds, gradually add the powdered sugar. The cream is done when it does not slide up the side of a tilted bowl.
7. Fold in the melted chocolate and the salt.
8. Cover and refrigerate the chocolate mousse until you put together the Chocolate Pavlovas—that is, just before serving them.
9. To assemble the Pavlovas, place a Pavlova meringues on each dessert plate and place a scoop of chocolate mousse in the middle of each meringue. Sprinkle some toasted almonds over the mousse and sieve cocoa powder and powdered sugar over each plate. A fresh dark cherry at the side of each dessert looks pretty.
Banana cupcakes with Nutella and vanilla swirl buttercream.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!