Here is one of my stand-by desserts that I like to make during the summer. Not only is it surprisingly light, it is also not too rich, but filling enough that one slice is all you need. I think it is the perfect end to a rich dinner, and easy enough to make earlier in the day, although I am a fan of making it the night before.
6 egg whites
2 cups superfine sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened (extra dark) cocoa, sifted
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar OR red wine vinegar
2 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
1-2 ounces dark chocolate
assorted fruits, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silpat. If using parchment, lightly trace a 9-inch circle. (I use a cake pan)
3. Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form. (I put my Kitchen Aid on high)
4. Slowly beat in the sugar, 1 spoonful at a time, taking care to keep the sugar away from the edge of the bowl. (I get impatient and do heaping tablespoons, one at a time). Meringue will be stiff and shiny when the sugar is mixed it. (When you raise the whip, there will be a column of meringue that will stay together without wilting)
5. If using the Kitchen Aid, remove the bowl from the mixer, knocking as much of the shiny meringue mixture back into the bowl as possible.
6. Sprinkle the cocoa, vinegar and chopped chocolate over the meringue. Gently fold in the additions until completely mixed in.
7. Spread the meringue on the parchment in a 9-inch round. Carefully smooth, it will be sticky.
8. Put the disk into the oven and IMMEDIATELY lower the temperature to 300.
9. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes). The pavlova will look crisp and dry on top and edges, but the center will have some give and squishiness to it. DO NOT REMOVE FROM OVEN!
10. Turn off oven. Leave pavlova in oven with the door slightly ajar until the pan is completely cool.
11. To serve, place a large platter inverted over the pavlova. Holding the cool pan and platter, turn the platter right-side up (the pan will now be upside down). Remove the pan and peal off the parchment or silpat.
12. Whip your heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add confection's (powdered) sugar until desired sweetness (not too sweet!). Arrange fruit organically, but fairly quick. (Don't take 5 minutes. The random look is beautiful, trust me!) If desired, coarsely grate some chocolate over the top and viola!
13. Bring to table before slicing. Let people see your creation as it significantly less visually impressive once served!
Please check back for more recipes, and leave comments! I'd love to know how it turned out!
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson, Food Network