Monday, April 5, 2010

'best quality' chocolate pavlova for easter

There is nothing I dislike more than Easter eggs, at least the Irish Easter Egg tradition of handing out large quantities of cheap chocolate - if you could even call it that! In our house, we have managed to accumulate six different Easter eggs all claiming to be from the same factory in Slough!
So I did think that today I would trawl through my recipe collection and somehow recycle these six eggs, changing them into something wonderful and unrecognisable from their former selves.
To cut a long story short, such a feat is impossible and the said eggs are lurking on the top shelf, sulking with rejection.
In an act of defiance, I made a chocolate pavlova, for which the recipe calls only for 'best quality' dark chocolate, and off I went....
The 'chocolate' eggs looked down in envy as I assembled this pavlova with beautifully dark, luxurious, 70% cocoa green & blacks chocolate. For the chocolate powder, I ground green & blacks drinking chocolate in my coffee grinder to a fine powder. Alternatively use cocoa powder.

For a chocolate pavlova which will feed about 8 people, you will need:

50g best quality dark chocolate, I used 70% Green & Blacks, finely chopped with a knife
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
3 tblsps best quality drinking chocolate, ground finely
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
raspberries/strawberries/summer fruits for decoration
500ml whipping cream
a little dark chocolate for decoration

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Lay grease-proof paper on to a baking sheet.
Clean your mixing bowl with boiling water to ensure that there is no residual grease from previous baking episodes and ensure that it is bone dry and cold before the eggs go in.
In the mixing bowl , whip the egg whites until they are stiff.
Gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time and continue to beat until the mix is shiny and forms stiff peaks.
Sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar, chopped chocolate and chocolate powder and gently fold into the egg white and sugar mix.
When all the ingredients are combined, make a large mound of mix on top of the grease-proof paper and spread it out slightly to the width of a small dinner plate, about 8" or so.
Turn down the oven to 150 degrees and cook for 1 hour.
You will know when it is ready if the outside is crisp and deliciously crusty and the centre feels springy and responsive to a good prod with your finger.
Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar until the pavlova and oven are cold. The pavlova can be left in the over overnight if necessary.
When it is completely cold, gently peel off the paper from the base and place on a serving plate. Whip some cream until thick yet workable and spread evenly over the centre of the pavlova. Adorn with raspberries, strawberries or anything else you fancy.... enjoy.

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