Chocolate Pavlova Supernova...

>> Sunday, 27 June 2010

Pavlova is a bit of a retro dessert that wont go away. Whilst banana splits and peach melba have been set-aside for future reinvention, unworthy of the dinner table in their age old form, the pavlova has always managed to keep itself en courant.  With toppings, meringue flavours and scented creams to vary, you can take the basic components and create something different and wonderous each time. I was thinking that pavlova is the Madonna of the dessert world....old but attractive, constantly reinvented and a bit of an attention seeker...anyway, I digress...

Created in the 1920s and named after the famed ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, it's billowing white case, topped with thick cream and tart berries is a welcome sight to behold. Also, if you are sparing with the cream (but where's the fun in that?!), it's quite a low fat dessert option. Justification, if you ever required it, to indulge.

This recipe started with the name. Driving along, I thought of Pavlova Supernova and decided I needed to create a Pavlova worthy of such a title. I needed to veer away from the traditional and develop something special. As I would be taking my creation to a chocolate-lovers household, I knew I needed to start there.

Challenge 1 solved - Chocolate meringue base

Then I needed to think through the cream. Options, options...hazelnut cream for a nutty, toblerone inspired cake? Maybe coffee cream with amaretto stirred through for a tiramisu-flavoured pavlova....No, this needed to be sweeter and naughtier. This was not about sophistication but pure, indulgent, calorific pleasure..

Challenge 2 solved - Caramel cream filling

Finally, the topping. No healthy berries for me, something else was required here. Shards of caramel scattered over the top? Maybe crushed peanut brittle spiced with cumin? Crushed, chocolate cookies heaped over the cream., hmmmm, not quite right, and then......

Challenge 3 solved - Crushed Crunchie and Maltesers topping

So, there it was. The three components of my Pavlova Supernova, ready to be created and shared! This recipe is definitely worthy of it's grand title and I think it's suitable evolution of the Pavlova. It's really not hard to make, but it is hard to stop eating (forget calorie counting with this one!). An explosion of chocolate, crispy, creamy naughtiness, coming your way...

Pavlova Supernova

Chocolate Meringue
  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 20g cocoa powder, sieved
  • 2 tsp cider/white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  •  1 tin of carnation caramel
  • 400ml of double cream
  • 1 bag of Maltesers
  • 1 bar of Crunchie

Step 1: Preheat oven to 140°C. Line baking sheet with baking paper. Whisk egg whites until stiff but not dry. Mix sugar and cocoa powder and then whisk, a tablespoon at a time, into the egg whites. Keep whisking until it’s thick and glossy and then fold in the vinegar and cornflour.

Step 2: Spoon mixture onto the baking sheet and spread with the back of a spoon to form a large circle. Bake for about 2 hours or until the meringue is firm and crisp. Cool in the oven for about 2 hours, or until cold (e.g. leave overnight)

Step 3: Whisk the double cream until stiff. Add, a tablespoon at a time, 2/3 of the caramel, whisking after each addition. Spoon the caramel over the meringue, leaving an edge of about 2cm. Take a fork and apply, some of the remaining caramel to the top of the cream to create swirls in the top (think raspberry ripple).

Step 4: Crush the topping ingredients (I use a small food bag and a rolling pin) and scatter generously over the top.

Step 5: Cut into slices and devour!

Top Tips
  • Plan to make the meringue the night before (less hassle and you can leave it in the warm oven overnight after cooking time has finished)
  • Apply the topping as late as possible (moistness will affect the crispiness of the Maltesers) 
  • Have tins of Carnation Caramel on standby - very, very useful for quick desserts (e.g. spread over pastry and top with apples and bake to make a quick tart. spread over a biscuit base, cover with sliced bananas, top with cream and grated chocolate to make a quick banoffee pudding etc....)
Helen x

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