When I caught wind of this blogging event, hosted by Maison Cupcakes, I knew it was going to revive my weary recipe blogging spirit! http://blog.maisoncupcake.com/forever-nigella/
There is certainly no doubt that chocolate delivered via the delectable Nigella is always a good thing. Before you roll your eyes, I promise I won't, on this occasion, go into one of my Nigella devotions again ( http://omoneloveblog.typepad.com/blog/2010/10/for-the-love-of-nigella.html ) but suffice to say that I am now tapping away happily and excitedly at the prospect of entering the challenge.
As it happened, it was my mother-in-law's birthday recently. A family lunch was planned and I decided to bring a chocolate cake for desert. So I presented a Chocolate Pavlova with Raspberries and Pomegranate served with a coulis for added decadence.
You will note that the photo I have shows that the Pavlova has been greedily attacked before I got the camera out. I can tell you quite gleefully that the rest of the decadent pavlova was consumed the following day which happened to round off an outstanding Valentine's dinner for two (please insert endless variations of lingerie wearing Nigella-esque finger-licking mental images of your choice here)!
The basic recipe is from Nigella (http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/chocolate-raspberry-pavlova-200). But as with all things that come my way, I have tinkered and fiddled to make a great recipe, in my opinion, a little bit greater.
Chocolate Pavlova with Raspberries and Pomegranate served with a Coulis
Ingredients for the Meringue Base:
- 6 egg whites
- 225g unrefined caster sugar
- 75g soft brown 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 raspberries
- Seeds from half a Pomegranate
- a mix of dark, milk and whitc chocolate curls to decorate
For the Coulis
- 100g raspberries
- juice of 1/2 a pomegranate
- 2-3 tbsp icing sugar
To achieve the very best meringue make sure that your bowl and mixing equipment is completely clean and free of grease, this will ensure that your eggs do not fail to whip up into stiff peaks. Another good tip is to separate the egg whites whilst the eggs are still cold from the fridge and then leave them covered in a bowl for around 30 mins to come up to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Drawn a circle of approximately 23cm on some baking parchment using a a non toxic pencil to trace around an inverted plate or round baking tin. Place the parchment on a baking tray and set aside.
- Combine the 2 sugars and mix together so that the caster sugar loosens the dampness of the soft brown sugar, set aside
- Whisk the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then gently whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar whilst continuing to whisk, and then gently fold in chopped chocolate. Continue to gently fold until everything is thoroughly mixed. Scoop out your now stiff and shiny chocolate meringue mix on to the baking sheet using the drawn circle as a guide, smoothing into a fat round mound. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C and bake for one to one and a quarter hours. When it's ready it should look crisp around the outside and marshmallowy on the inside. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue cool completely. It may develop some cracks but don't despair as that is the nature of pavlova an in any case t will be crowned beautifully with the topping.
- For the coulis combined the raspberries, icing sugar and juice squeezed out of 1/2 of a pomegranate and blend to a smooth puree. Pass the puree through a mesh sieve to completely remove all raspberry pips. Mix in more icing sugar if needed and pour into a serving jug.
- When you're ready to serve, invert meringue on to a cake stand or flat serving plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries and then the twinkling pomegranate seeds. Tip: pomegranate seeds can be easily remove from the halved fruit by bashing the outside of the fruit with a rolling pin whilst holding it over a bowl.
- Finish off with a careless scattering of luxurious chocolate curls
- Serve at once with the raspberry and pomegranate coulis to drizzle over
The completed pavlova is best eaten straight away or keep in the fridge and consume within 1 day. However, you can make the meringue ahead up to 2 days and store it in an airtight container until ready to use then just add toppings and make coulis before serving.