Though this may be the season for diets, cleanses, and new years resolutions, you’ve still got to make a little room to eat and entertain. This Chocolate Raspberry Pavolva is by no means a diet food, but next to most bakery cakes, it looks practically healthy. The dark chocolate and cocoa powder provide heart-healthy antioxidants and polyphenols (just like the ones present in red wine- so drink up!) and the absence of any flour keeps this dessert gluten-free for those with allergies. If you really want to make this healthy, you can omit the whipped cream and just top with extra fruit and shaved dark chocolate. Either way, this Pavlova always proves to be a crowd pleaser, and serves as the perfect end to a dinner party with friends. Whether you serve a Paleo-approved salad with fish or a no-holds-barred juicy steak with mashed potatoes- this dessert fits the bill!
- Six large egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3-4 tbs. dark cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2-3 oz. dark chocolate, chopped finely (shoot for around 70% cocoa)
- 8 oz. heavy whipping cream
- Fruit (such as raspberries or strawberries) for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat six large egg whites until they become satiny and marshmallow-y, like the consistency of marshmallow fluff. If you have trouble getting egg whites to cooperate, make sure they are right out of the fridge, and try sticking your bowl and beater in the fridge for a bit before you use it.
- With the mixer running, add one cup of granulated sugar spoonful by spoonful, and beat until the egg whites have transformed into into a big glossy pouf that sticks to the whisk and holds firm peaks.
- Sprinkle over three or four tablespoons of good cocoa powder, a splash (around a teaspoon) balsamic vinegar, the same amount of vanilla extract, and the dark chocolate.
- Gently fold all that chocolate into the egg whites, working under and over with a rubber spatula so you don’t deflate the egg whites. Don’t be too timid though, you want everything well mixed.
- Pile the mixture onto the prepared pan, and form into a big fat disk. Don’t smooth it out too much though- you want some peaks to get a balance of crisped and soft meringue. Place your in the middle of the oven, and then immediately lower the temperature to 300 degrees. This gives you the crispy crust while still keeping the middle soft and delicious.
- Bake for around an hour. It will look crisp around the edges and the center will be soft-set.
- Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, allowing the meringue to cool completely before taking it out (give it 30 minutes if you can). When you’re ready to serve, plate the meringue and top with some heavy cream (about 8 ounces) whipped with a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of sugar.
- Pile the whipped cream into the sunken crater that formed as the meringue cooled, and then top with any combination of berries you have on hand. Raspberries are beautiful, but strawberries work nicely as well.
*Recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson