This is probably the most requested dessert I make – and why wouldn’t it be? Chocolate. Pavlova. Cream. Berries. It has all the food groups covered. Plus it’s a Nigella recipe – from her Forever Summer book – and that makes all the difference.
The addition of balsamic vinegar in this one is, a tad on the odd side, but Nigella uses some sort of acid in all her pavs. It helps the middle stay spongey and the outside crispy.
Another thing – the recipe calls for raspberries, but as you can see I used a combination of strawberries and blueberries. No one complained. Other than this, I haven’t changed Nigella’s recipe at all – it is perfect as it is.
I used this recipe in Wish You Were Here…although you would, of course, have to read the book to see where.
What You Need
For the base…
- 6 large egg whites
- 300 grams caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (sieved)
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 50 grams dark chocolate (finely chopped) – a few little chunks don’t matter
For the topping…
- 500 millilitres double cream
- 500 grams raspberries – or other berries
- 3 tablespoons dark chocolate (coarsely grated) – I use a knife and scrape it down into raggedly little bits
What you do with it
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan and line a baking tray with baking paper. This might sound weird, but I use a pizza tray for the purpose. It’s exactly the size of my pavlova plate so works a treat.
- 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.
- Fold everything in gently until the cocoa is mixed through. Spoon it on to a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23cm / 9 inches in diameter, smoothing the sides and top.
- Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/130°C Fan 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.
- 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 berries. Sprinkle over the grated chocolate.