Classic pavlova crowned with fresh cherries and Black Forest whipping cream, this is my take on an elegant recipe first created in the 1920’s.
Pavlova is a glamorous, sophisticated dessert, that is definitely worth making if you have a special occasion in your near future. Perhaps a garden party or an anniversary to celebrate? Pavlova has a certain “wow” factor, yet despite the look, it is quite a simple recipe to make.
Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert which, means the main ingredient is egg whites, then combined with sugar. When it is slow baked to a pale colour, the meringue is transformed into a crisp, sugary crust with a soft delicate marshmallow-like center, which is achieved by adding an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice to the eggs. When baked, the finishing touch to the pavlova is usually whipped cream and fresh fruit, making for a decadent finish to your summer entertaining.
The first time I had Pavlova was at a dinner party years ago and I think my jaw dropped when the host entered the room with this gorgeous dessert. One mouthful convinced me that this was a recipe worth trying to acquire. Unfortunately that night I was not successful in getting the recipe, and as a result, I had a few failures in my first attempts at making it. With determination though, I was able to recreate this beautiful dessert.
There are a few key factors that are very relevant to making pavlova. First of all, the eggs need to be at room temperature, and then when they are separated, to make sure there is no yolk in the egg whites. If this happens, the whites will not expand when beaten, and the volume is crucial for pavlova!
Pavlova needs to cool to room temperature in the oven once it has been turned off. This will take an hour or more, so give yourself enough time.
Pavlova is light and fresh like summer and makes me happy every time I make this classic dessert!
- 4 large eggs room temperature and separated
- 1 cup super- fine sugar *(see note at end of recipe)
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon cherry flavouring
- ¼ cup good quality dark chocolate sauce (I used St.Dalfour chocolate sauce)
- 1 tablespoon Kirsch or other cherry liqueur
- 1 cup fresh cherries or more if needed
- *to make fine sugar, place the sugar in a food processor for a few seconds.
- Preheat oven to 300F. (150C).
- Baking tray lined with parchment paper. Using a pencil, draw a 7 inch (18 cm.) circle on the parchment paper, then turn the paper over so the pencil does not transfer to the pavlova.
- Place the egg whites in a clean electric mixer and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time, waiting a few seconds in between each addition.
- Beat until stiff peaks are formed and have a glossy texture. To test if the sugar is completely dissolved, rub a little of the mixture between your fingertips; if it feels gritty continue to beat.
- Turn off the mixer and sift the cornstarch over the top of meringue. Add vinegar and vanilla, then using the beater, whisk in by hand until combined.
- Pile the meringue onto the paper and shape into a 7inch (18cm) circle. Make a slight indent into the top which will hold the whipping cream and cherries later.
- Place pavlova in the oven and reduce the temperature to 250F.(120.C). Bake for one hour and 20 minutes.
- Turn oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven to room temperature.(This step is important, so give yourself time)!
- Place whipping cream in a bowl and add the cherry flavouring. Whip until soft peaks form. In a small bowl, mix the chocolate sauce with the kirsch. Using a decorating bag with a 2½cm. star tip, paint a line down one side of the inside of the bag with the chocolate Kirsch sauce (if it's easier you can do this step by turning the bag inside out for half way down the bag, then paint the side with the chocolate). Don't worry if it's a bit messy. Spoon the whipping cream into the center of the bag. Pipe out the whipping cream over the pavlova to make a star-like pattern, then pull up and repeat around the top of the pavlova (there are many tutorials that you can watch online which explain how to do this). If this step is too much bother for you, just whip the cream with the chocolate sauce then spoon over pavlova. I tried this and it turned out lovely.
- Top with fresh cherries and serve immediately. Pavlova does not keep that well so it is best to try to use it up as soon as possible. Somehow I don't think this will be a problem for you! 🙂