Chocolate Pavlova Two Ways

Pavlova may seem like an intimidating dessert to make, but it is actually quite easy.  A couple years ago, we featured a Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berries.  So good for spring and summer months!  But chocolate pavlova is my favorite kind of pavlova.  In fact, it is probably my favorite chocolate dessert.  The key to a good chocolate pavlova is figuring out the perfect cocoa ratio.  Cocoa powder deflates egg whites, so black cocoa powder is a must in this recipe to deliver the most chocolatey flavor and still keep that fluffy marshmallowy interior.

Since pavlova uses a lot of egg whites, making curd out of the egg yolks to top the pavlova with is a no-brainer.  This post includes a recipe for pomegranate curd and orange curd, as well as instructions for one large pavlova or smaller individual sized ones.

As I said before, pavlova isn’t that complicated.  Just a few steps, but each step is extremely important to end up with that crispy exterior but fluffy interior that pavlova is known for.

Whip egg whites and vinegar just until soft peaks form.

Pavlova recipes call for some kind of stabilizing agent for the egg whites, often lemon juice, cornstarch or vinegar.  I prefer balsamic vinegar for chocolate pavlova.  And don’t worry, you don’t taste the vinegar at all.  Adding it in with the egg whites as they whip creates a nice stable texture.

 

The amount of whipping time might seem excessive, but this is what takes the texture from meringue to pavlova.

Ultrafine sugar and not regular granulated sugar is what you want to use.  This is easy to find and carried in most grocery stores in the baking aisle with all the other sugars.

 

A small strainer/sieve is ideal for sifting the cocoa powder right into the bowl.  Sprinkle it all the way around the whipped egg whites, minimizing mixing time.

Minimal mixing time once cocoa is added is probably the most important step in this recipe.  Just a few seconds mixed in with the mixer, and then remove the whisks and gently fold in any remaining cocoa not mixed in.  Leaving a few streaks not mixed in is fine and creates a pretty marble texture once baked.  DO NOT vigorously mix or beat the cocoa in.  Otherwise you will end up with a soupy mess.

 

Unrimmed baking sheets work best and offer maximum space.

Once cocoa is mixed in, quickly transfer mixture to baking sheet.  Use a spatula to spread into a circular shape.  Pavlova will spread out when baking so make sure to make the circle only about 8 inches in diameter.

Or make 12 individual ones about 3-4 inches in diameter.  You’ll need two baking sheets to give them plenty of space.

 

Cracks are normal and more will appear as it cools.

Pavlova requires around an hour to bake, and then the oven is turned off, door cracked, and the pavlova slowly cools down for almost another hour.  Don’t be tempted to pull it out of the oven until that cooling period is over, because it is technically still baking.  Once that is over, just pull it out and let it cool to room temperature.  Do not put toppings on it until right before serving time since moisture from whipped cream, curd and fruit will eventually deflate pavlova.

 

All those important steps are what leads to this fluffy exterior that can hold up to all these toppings.

The pavlova can be made 1-2 days in advance.  Cover and store at room temperature.  If humidity is high, pavlova may only last 1 day before beginning to soften.

 

Chocolate Pavlova

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 70 minutes

Inactive Time: 50 minutes

 

6 large egg whites

9 g. (1 1/2 tsp.) balsamic vinegar

262 g. (1 1/4 cup) ultrafine sugar

12 g. (2 Tbsp.) black cocoa powder, sifted

pinch salt

Serving suggestions: pomegranate curd or orange curd (recipes follow), whipped cream, fresh fruit

 

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  For individual pavlovas, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside until ready to use.

In the plastic whipping bowl with the balloon whisks, beat the egg whites and balsamic vinegar on high speed (6 o’clock) until soft peaks begin to form.  Reduce speed to medium-high (4 o’clock) and slowly add in sugar.  Once all sugar has been added, increase speed to the highest setting and whip for 5 minutes.

Add cocoa powder and salt and whisk at medium speed (3 o’clock) for about 15 seconds until mostly combined, using a spatula to scrape down sides if necessary and gently fold in any remaining cocoa not yet mixed in.  Cocoa will begin to deflate egg whites, so minimal whisking is necessary.

For large pavlova, spoon meringue mixture into middle of pan and then gently spread into an 8 inch circle.  For individual pavlovas, divide meringue into 12 small circles, 6 per pan, about 3 inches in diameter.

For large pavlova: Reduce oven temperature to 300° F. and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Once baking time is over, turn oven off, crack oven door and let cool in oven for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely before serving.  Can be made 1-2 days in advance, depending on humidity.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

For individual pavlova: Reduce oven temperature to 300° F. and bake for 50 minutes.  Once baking time is over, turn oven off, crack oven door and let cool in oven for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely before serving.  Can be made 1-2 days in advance, depending on humidity.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

For Serving: Top pavlova with curd, whipped cream and fresh fruit.

 

Yield: 1 large pavlova or 12 individual pavlovas

 

Pomegranate Curd:

6 egg yolks

171 g. (3/4 cup) sugar

pinch kosher salt

86 g. (1/4 cup) pomegranate molasses

69 g. (1/4 cup) pomegranate juice

14 g. (1 Tbsp.) unsalted butter

 

In a medium saucepan stir together egg yolks, sugar and salt until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in pomegranate molasses and pomegranate juice.  Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes until thickened, stirring constantly with a wooden or non-metal heatproof spoon.

Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a heat proof container.  Whisk in butter.  Cover the top with plastic wrap, making sure to place the plastic wrap directly on the curd.  This prevents a skin from forming on top as it cools.  Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours until fully cooled.

Orange Curd

6 egg yolks, 171 g. (3/4 cup) sugar

pinch kosher salt

112 g. (1/2 cup) fresh orange juice

14 g. (1 Tbsp.) unsalted butter

In a medium saucepan stir together egg yolks, sugar and salt until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in orange juice.  Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes until thickened, stirring constantly with a wooden or non-metal heatproof spoon.

Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof container.  Whisk in butter.  Cover the top with plastic wrap, making sure to place the plastic wrap directly on the curd.  This prevents a skin from forming on top as it cools.  Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours until fully cooled.

 

Published by

Carmi Adams

Carmi Adams has loved cooking from a very early age; requesting fondue pots and cookbooks for birthdays as a child. She further pursued her passion for food at the Art Institute of Atlanta and obtained a degree in Culinary Arts. Carmi landed a job on the show Good Eats, which aired on the Food Network. For seven years she did everything from food research, recipe development and testing, product testing to feeding a hungry film crew. Now living in the central coast of California, Carmi enjoys the bounty of agriculture, vineyards and farmers markets at her culinary disposal. She has been using the Ankarsrum mixer for over 15 years and feels that it is hands-down the best on the market for home cooks.