Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Black Forest Pavlova: January's Winning Dessert

This is an Australian recipe that I was really looking forward to making and found that it looked so amazing and delicious.  When it ended up being the winning choice, I was very excited.  I did have to improvise a few ingredients due to inability to locate but little did I know that my problems were just beginning.  There were a few minor conversions to be made with temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit, but my main problem came with the hand mixing.  I had completely forgotten the properties of plastic and how they affect mixing when needing stiff peaks.  Not mixing in a glass bowl did ruin my eggs, and since the recipe called for 8, I didn't have enough.  However not being one to give up, I decided to go with what I had and try to bake it anyway.  So of course it may not have been as pretty as it was meant to be, it did turn out tasting amazing!  And it is a reminder for everyone out there that if you are mixing anything that calls for "stiff peaks" be sure to use glass instead of plastic.  Here is the recipe, enjoy!

Parchment Paper
Glass Mixing Bowl

For the meringue.
8 egg whites
2 cups granulated raw sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I am not sure what the difference is between this and Dutch cocoa but I couldn't find Dutch Cocoa anywhere)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

For the topping.
2 cups thickened (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons strong espresso coffee
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Almond flavoring
1 10 oz jar of Maraschino Cherries (Morello cherries could not be located)
3/4 cup dark chocolate curls (To make chocolate curls run a potato peeler down the edge of a block of chocolate.)

Preheat oven to 420ºF Place a sheet of baking paper on two large baking tray and draw 8" circles.
Separate your eggs making utmost care not to contaminate the egg whites with any egg yolk. Any fat in the egg whites will prevent them from beating properly and will weigh them down.
Beat your egg whites in a glass bowl until they are stiff and add your sugar slowly along with the vanilla essence, one tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff peaks form. Turn your bowl upside down to make sure the whites are stiff enough. If not, beat another minute or so then check again.
Sift the cocoa powder into the raw meringue and fold through carefully ensuring you leave streaks of cocoa rather than fully incorporating it.
Shape the meringue into the two rounds on the baking paper/trays. Place meringues into oven and immediately turn temperature down to 240 degrees. Bake for 60-90 minutes then turn off the oven, do not remove meringues until oven is cool.

Beat the cream, coffee, almond and sugar until stiff peaks form. With a silicone spatula spread half of the cream over the bottom meringue, place cherries on the cream and sprinkle half of the chocolate shavings over the meringue.
Place the top meringue layer over the bottom. Spread the remaining cream over it along with the cherries and chocolate shavings. Drizzle cherry syrup from the jar over the entire pavlova.

Some of the delicious starting ingredients
Draw 8" circles on your parchment paper
Beat the eggs until frothy
Take a smile break of your sous chef
Have a silly break
Add the sugar and almond and beat until stiff peaks form (This is where my transfer to a glass bowl could not save the meringue)
Taste tester
Swirl the cocoa powder into the meringue and shape onto the circles (As you can see without thick meringue this didn't work out for me, so I decided to just pour it onto my baking sheets and hope for the best)
Remove when oven is no longer hot (I only cooked for about 60 minutes when it started to stiffen due to the thinner surface area, I didn't want to overcook it)
Mix the cream, espresso, almond and sugar
Mix until stiff peaks form
Excited to taste it!

Lay down a layer of the meringue (Mine was crumbly but still delicious)

Add a layer of the espresso cream, cherry and chocolate curls
Top with more meringue
Finish off with a final layer of cream, cherries and chocolate curls, serve & Enjoy!  (Regardless of my meringue disaster it still tasted amazing and was a treat to eat!)

If you would like to view the previous winning desserts they can be found here:

December's Winner: Pumpkin Tiramisu

November's Winner: Caramelized Banana Pudding

October's Winner: Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

September's Winner: Apple Raspberry Crumble

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