Nigellas Chocolate Pavlova

Date: 16.06.10
Author: Louise Haywood-Schiefer
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This year I have started baking. At first I just dabbled with the odd cup-cake here and there, but now my confidence is growing and my creations are becoming more elaborate.
During most of my days off I will do office work at home, but come 4 o clock I am itching to get in the kitchen and create something new.
It’s a good job I am busy work-wise at the moment, otherwise I would be the size of a door.
My finest creation so far is Nigellas Chocolate Pavlova. All hail that beautiful lady for bringing this into our bellies….

NIGELLAS CHOCOLATE PAVLOVA
INGREDIENTS
FOR THE CHOCOLATE MERINGUE BASE:
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
50g dark chocolate, finely chopped
FOR THE TOPPING:
500ml double cream
500g fresh fruit
2–3 tablespoons coarsely grated dark chocolate
Serving Size : Serves 8–10.

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff 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 a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23cm in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/gas mark 2 and cook for about one to one 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 chocolate meringue disc cool completely.
3. When you’re ready to serve, invert on to a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the fruit. Coarsely grate the chocolate so that you get curls rather than rubble, as you don’t want the fruits luscious colour and form to be obscured, and sprinkle haphazardly over the top, letting some fall, as it will, on the plate’s rim.
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