Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert (named after Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova) that requires little more than turning on your mixer and opening your oven door. This version is made with a chocolate-flavored base and topped with chocolate ganache and a healthy dollop of whipped cream. The result looks as swanky as a cake, but without all that decorating fuss.
START TO FINISH: 3 1/2 HOURS
5 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1¼ cups heavy cream
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely chopped chocolate, as garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 275°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Make the meringue: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until thick and foamy.
3. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder. Gradually add this mixture to the whipping egg whites and increase the speed to high. Whip until the egg whites are thick and glossy and can hold a peak when the whip is dipped into the meringue.
4. Use a spatula to mound the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it into a circle the size of your intended serving plate. Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringue is dried out and crisp. Cool completely.
5. Make the ganache: In a small pot, bring the cream to a boil over medium heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate in a small bowl. Mix until the ganache is smooth. Pour the ganache over the cooled meringue base and spread gently with the back of a spoon. Let set for 15 minutes.
6. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the cream to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff. Mound the whipped cream on top of the ganache and spread to the edge with a spatula. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate.
7. The meringue base can be made one day ahead and stored in an airtight container. The finished pavlova can be stored, refrigerated, for up to 4 hours.
You can also check out another great take on the Über famous Pavlova at the Little Figgy website that I adore.