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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Chocolate and Berry Pavlova

Doesn't that look fabulous?  I can confirm that not only was it totally delicious, it wasn't difficult to make.  The recipe comes from a new book 'Make it Easy' by Jane Lovett published by New Holland Publishers.

Jane describes Make it Easy as "A book for the home cook with the emphasis on get-ahead, easy, seasonal recipes with a contemporary twist"  The  book starts with useful top tips, notes on presentation, do's and don'ts and some general notes.

There are nine chapters: soups and starters, fish & shellfish, meat, poultry, weekend lunches, vegetables and salads, desserts, quick nibbles & drinks, bits, bobs & basics.  There are so many great dishes in this book and they come with 'Get Ahead' tips showing you how far you can prepare before the meal.  This is an ideal book for anyone who new to  entertaining or is concerned about which dishes to make and getting their dishes to the table on time!  You can wow your guests with Vietnamese Herby Chicken with Nutty Green Rice Salad or Salmon en Croute with Lime and Coriander Sauce

Even if you don't do much entertaining, there are some great recipes to eat with the family, like the Quick Creamy Smoked Haddock Saffron and Chive Risotto and Spicy Sausage, Lamb and Bean Bake.

However, I was drawn to one particular dessert, not only because it contains some of my favourite flavours, but also because it fits perfectly with the July 'We should Cocoa' challenge which requires a combination of Blackcurrants and Chocolate.

Chocolate and Berry Pavlova

Serves 8-10

4 egg whites
a pinch of salt
280g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp cocoa powder plus extra for dusting
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp white wine vinegar
500g frozen mixed berries (I used frozen blackcurrants and redcurrants and fresh raspberries)
50g good quality plain or white chocolate
425ml double cream
Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 140C (275F), gas 1 and line a flat baking sheet with foil or baking parchment.  Whisk the eff whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, then add 225g of the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking it in well between each addition.  The mixture will be very thick and shiny.  When all the sugar is incorporated add the cornflour, cocoa powder, vanilla essence and vinegar and whisk well again.

Pile the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and mould it into a flattish round shape, roughly 20-25cm across and 4cm deep.  Make a dip in the middle using a metal spoon.  Cook for 45 minutes, then turn the oven off leaving the pavlova inside until cold, without opening the door.   Carefully peel off the foil.

Put the frozen berries into a non-reactive pan with the rest of the sugar.  Warm gently over a low heat, just until the fruit has thawed, trying not to break it up.  Tip into a sieve over a bowl and leave to drain for 15 minutes or so.  Pour the juice back into the pan and boil fast, giving it the odd stir, until it has reduced to a syrupy consistency and just coats the back of the wooden spoon.  Leave to cool.  It will thicken up much more when cold.

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl suspended over a pan of hot water or in a microwave and carefully brush over the inside of the pavlova.  Dust the outside with cocoa powder, then icing sugar (I forgot to do this!)

Whip the cream lightly into soft peaks and spoon into the centre of the pavlova.  Mix the berries and the sauce together (this is when I added the fresh raspberries) and spoon over the top.

Get Ahead

The pavlova can be made several weeks in advance,wrapped tightly in clingfilm and kept somewhere cool and dry.  The chocolate can be brushed over a few days in advance.  Make the fruit compote several days in advance and keep the fruit and sauce covered separately in the fridge, or freeze.  Only mix together just before using.  The cream can be whipped as early as you like on the day but should be under whipped as it will thicken up whist in the fridge. 

Hints and Tips
Leave out the cocoa if you prefer and the chocolate too.
Cracks don't matter at all and most of them can be concealed by the filling if you so wish

I've never brushed chocolate on my pavlovas before, but it is absolutely brilliant and really adds to the rich, earthy flavours of the berries without overpowering them.  I would highly recommend this recipe and will be bookmarking more recipes in Make it Easy  which is available through a popular on line bookshop for £14.99.

As I said earlier, this is my entry for the July 'We should Cocoa':   Chocolate and Blackcurrants which is hosted this month by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog

 Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinion expressed is my own.

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At 8 July 2012 at 20:21 , Blogger Susan said...

Looks very nice indeed, would never thought of putting chocolate on a pavlova before but you got me thinking. x

At 8 July 2012 at 21:30 , Blogger Cakeyboi said...

This looks lovely - individual ones would be great to methinks and look very cute!!

At 8 July 2012 at 22:23 , Anonymous Petra08 said...

I just had a massive lunch but would always make room for your Pavlova! It makes me hungry all over again

At 9 July 2012 at 02:15 , Anonymous Spencer said...

Looks absolutely delicious! I would so love to try some.

At 9 July 2012 at 08:23 , Blogger Karen S Booth said...

LOOKS LUSH! I did brush chocolate on my Pavlova for the Forman and Field Jubilee Bake Off, and it was lovely....and I adore berries with meringue, so this is a winner! Karen

At 9 July 2012 at 13:32 , Blogger Baking Addict said...

Fab looking and a little reminder that it's summer (supposedly). The book sounds like a keeper too - my wish list is growing longer by the day!

At 9 July 2012 at 13:40 , Anonymous laura@howtocookgoodfood said...

This does look so tempting and the colours together are beautiful. I love the fruits you have chosen to use and think chocolate pavlova is a fine idea!

At 9 July 2012 at 18:55 , Blogger Unknown said...

Jesus H Christ! What a stunner! You had me at meringue... then chocolate... then berries.... Oy oy oy! This a thing of beauty to be sure!

At 9 July 2012 at 19:39 , Anonymous Fishfingers for tea said...

Delicious! I so rarely make meringue, which is a shame as we all love them, especially pavlova. I think the whole combination sounds lovely!

At 9 July 2012 at 20:39 , Blogger Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup said...

Can I come for dinner please

At 10 July 2012 at 06:50 , Blogger Homemade by Fleur said...

Brushing of chocolate on a chocolate meringue with berries = my idea of heaven. You are right, it does look fabulous. Must try :)

At 10 July 2012 at 16:18 , Blogger Caroline Taylor said...

This looks amazing! Chocolate and berries are a great combination.

At 10 July 2012 at 17:11 , Blogger Choclette said...

What a marvellous entry to WSC Janice. Why haven't I ever thought of brushing chocolate onto meringues before! The berries look scrumptious as does the whole thing.

At 11 July 2012 at 13:30 , Anonymous thelittleloaf said...

This does look utterly delicious. My mum always used to make my brother chocolate and raspberry meringues for his birthday, but this looks even more indulgent and delicious :-)

At 13 July 2012 at 05:58 , Blogger Javelin Warrior said...

I love the We Should Cocoa series and what a beautiful and creative entry! This looks awesome and I'm featuring this post in Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and it's always a pleasure following you…

At 13 July 2012 at 06:19 , Blogger Kelly Koya said...

I used to love picking wild rhubarb - as a child I would eat it straight from the ground! Would love to be able to find that again.

At 13 July 2012 at 08:24 , Anonymous Adele Leek said...

We have a rhubarb plant that keeps growing in our garden which is great, and recently we have discovered a Gooseberry bush at the bottom of the garden.
Oh and I have some herbs that the bees love too, so win win.

At 29 July 2012 at 22:15 , Blogger Unknown said...

gorgeous concoction. Meringue and berries are always a winner!

At 30 July 2012 at 04:39 , Anonymous Chris said...

Very delicious looking! I have to put it on my bookmark list ...

At 30 July 2012 at 17:22 , Blogger Unknown said...

Oh my!!! This looks amazing! I am pinning this to make it very very soon :)

At 1 August 2012 at 13:07 , Anonymous Felia said...

Wow, I love pavlovas but only know them in white. This chocolate pavlova looks amazing, I can imagine the perfect taste and combo of sweet and sour...


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I love to read your comments and try to reply when I can. I have had to enable comment moderation due to high levels of spam, so it may take a little time before your comment is visible. Please let me know if you make one of my recipes or if you have any questions I will try to answer them. Janice

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