Oh where do I begin on this one? Lets start with the official title – Chocolate Pavlova Deconstructed 4 Ways: Zabaglione & Cherries; Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears & Chocolate Pudding; Caramel Bananas & Coconut Cream; Yogurt & Berries. And then I died.
A few weeks back I was chatting on Twitter with a some fellow Aussie Food Bloggers… next thing we knew the Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop was born. Just a few days after that we re-badged as Sweet Adventures. Our first adventure is Australian Pavlova.
We will be choosing iconic desserts from around the world, a different one each month, for future hops. Each of us – Delicieux – this month’s hostess, The Hungry Australian, Dining With a Stud, The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader and myself – will alternate hosting. I hope you can join us. If you want to be notified about the next adventure, or have ideas for desserts to add to the list, leave a note in the comments below!
Now you may know about my whole not eating sugar thing… and you would be correct if you think that it is slightly at odds with the essence of Pavlova. But I am nothing if not persistent so off I went to try and make a Pav using, at the very least, no white sugar. First I tried my good old Apple Juice Concentrate stand by – yeah, um, no. It was sticky at best and well, just as sticky at worst. Straight into the bin.
Then I tried using Coconut Sugar – high in fructose but low-GI, sustainable and full of minerals. It went ok… you can see the fun over at the 84th tumblr if you are interested, but the essence is that it was very promising – even pretending to dry out in the oven – until it sunk and turned sticky as it cooled, and had a consistency more like a sponge than a Pav. I did only use about 1/3 of the usual amount of sugar required and I do think that if more were used it may well work. However the patience and persistence ended there, for now, and here we are back at white sugar. It happens.
Once I decided to make a more traditional Pav I immediately wanted to make the finished product un-traditional [welcome to my brain, best to duck and cover]. First up, flavour… chocolate of course – check. Next came form… deconstructed into individual servings – check.
I was finally left with the toppings to content with. I am not a cream fan, never have been, and all the cream and fruit usually found in this creation tend to only amplify the sugar coma of Pavlova to me.
Left with 4 egg yolks from the Pav I needed to use them up. Creme Anglaise is lovely but too thin for a Pav topping. Inspiration struck in the form of Zabaglione with Tawny Port but I wasn’t sure what to match with it until a visit to the grocery store where the new season Cherries waved and called out to me. Zabaglione & Cherries – check.
Next came pears and cinnamon and orange juice and red wine. A quick chocolate pudding and voila – rich and not too sweet, this is one for the adults and would be brilliant at a posh dinner party. Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears & Chocolate Pudding – check.
Bananas came to mind as a second pairing with the Chocolate Pudding, but I couldn’t repeat a filling [horrors]. Good thing there was some whipped Coconut Cream in the fridge – left over from Pumpkin Pie the other day – filling sorted. Some of the Bourbon from my recent celebration French Toast may have made it’s way into the bananas [definitely did]. Caramel Bananas & Coconut Cream – check.
But I needed one more – two for each shell shape of course [that brain thing again, see I told you, duck and cover]. In an attempt to do something slightly traditional, mixed berries were transformed into a luscious sticky sauce and poured over natural greek yogurt. Yogurt & Berries – check.
And there we have it. Un-traditionally flavoured, un-traditionally deconstructed, un-traditionally topped. Traditionally delicious.
My favourite? Easy. Chocolate Pavlova with Caramel Bananas & Coconut Cream. No competition – absolutely heavenly. I’ve already got an idea for the next one – and it may have something to do with my Pumpkin obsession – who wants a Pav for Christmas?
Chocolate Pavlova – Deconstructed
4 egg whites
1 c minus 1 Tbsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp cornflour
2 tsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
Extra corn flour and cocoa for baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 150 C [300 F]. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with baking [parchment] paper and dusting lightly with extra corn flour then cocoa powder.
Separate 4 cold eggs and set aside yolks for another use. Place whites in a large bowl and allow to come to room temp – about 20 minutes.
Beat egg whiles to foamy soft peaks, add cream of tartar and salt and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in sugar gradually – about a Tbsp at a time – until thick and glossy. You should be able to rub a bit of the mixture between your fingers and not feel any grains of sugar.
Sift over corn flour and pour in vinegar, beat briefly until combined. Sift over cocoa powder and gently fold through with a spatula or large spoon – a marbled effect looks lovely on the end product.
Spoon heaped 1/4 cup measures of the meringue mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and form small nests. Or place mixture into a piping bag and pipe out thick batons. You could also spoon all the mixture out and create one large Pavlova approximately 18-20 cm [8 inches] in diameter. The Pavs will come out of the oven pretty much exactly as they went in so take the time to make them pretty now!
Turn down oven to 120 C [250 F] and put pans in oven. Bake small shells / batons for 1 hr until dry to the touch. Bake full size Pav for 1 hr 20 mins. Turn oven off, prop door open and allow shells to cool completely in the oven.
Carefully remove from baking paper and top immediately or keep in a container in a cool place for up to 2 days.
*Notes: UPDATED with links to Toppings!
- Chocolate Pudding
- Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears
- Caramel Bourbon Bananas
- Whipped Coconut Cream
Click on the pictures below and check out some of the other lovely pavs in the link-up. Hope to see you for next months Sweet Adventures Blog Hop!