Sunday, February 01, 2015

Chocolate Cherry Pavlova - Downton Night 4

I am a bit behind in my blogging.  For last week's episode of Downton Abbey, I made a divine Chocolate Cherry Pavlova.  Here is the story behind it!

There are few foods that seem to call to me.  Chocolate, however, has the loudest voice.  While at the library this fall, I found a beautiful cookbook entitled Wintersweet: Seasonal Desserts to Warm the Home by Tammy Donroe Inman.  I have never borrowed a cookbook from the library but the cover of this book had me.  (Yes, I totally judged this book by its cover.)  Really though, isn't it gorgeous?!

A couple of seasons of Downton Abbey ago, I prepared a Pavlova with fresh raspberry sauce and whipped cream.  It was divine.  Seriously, soo good.  I blogged about it here.  Since that date, I made pavlovas a couple more times, mainly for my father who literally ate an entire pavlova by himself!

With Season 5 in full swing, I made my version of the Chocolate Pomegranate Pavlova from Inman's cookbook.  Chocolatey, crispy, pillowy-soft goodness... check out my Chocolate Cherry Pavlova.

Ingredients:  Pavlovas have very few ingredients.  Yippee!

1 cup superfine sugar
4 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
cherry preserves
whipped cream

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Fit a sheet of parchment paper to a baking sheet and draw a 7" circle onto the underside of the paper using dark pencil.  The circle should be visible through the paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high until they form stiff peaks (about 4 minutes).  Begin to add sugar one tablespoon at a time.  Beat well between applications, until meringue is firm and shines.  Continue beating at medium-high for another 4 - 6 minutes, scraping bowl periodically, until sugary grit disappears.  Remove bowl from mixer.

Sift cocoa and cornstarch into the bowl and add vinegar.  Fold ingredients into the meringue with a spatula until streak-free.

Pile the mixture into the center of the parchment circle.  Carefully spread the meringue to fill the circle, making the center slightly lower than the edges.

Reduce heat on the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 75 to 80 minutes.  Turn off the heat, prop open the oven door, and allow the pavlova to remain in the oven for an additional hour or until it has cooled completely.

Sometimes, finished pavlovas look like this...
 Sometimes, finished pavlovas look like this...

Don't worry, both indicate success.  Cracks on the top are fine since toppings are typically added at serving.  If you are feeding 4 or more people (or just my husband) there will be no leftovers. As in the case of this Chocolate Cherry Pavlova, place onto a serving platter or pedestal cake plate and top with cherry preserves and whipped cream.  However, if you think there might be leftovers, slice and top individually with the preserves and whipped cream.  The remaining pavlova may be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature.

I enjoyed this delicious dessert with a cup of Republic of Tea's Bates' Brambleberry tea.  The tea was a surprise gift from a dear friend.  The perfect compliment.  Soo good!

Yeah, it is really good.

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