A widely popular dessert in Australia and New Zealand, the Pavlova plays on texture and flavor in the most dynamic ways. Using just a piece of parchment paper and a spatula, the airy meringue base is piled high and shaped into a shallow bowl. After baking, the shell of our Black Forest Pavlova, with its crispy exterior and chewy marshmallow-like interior, receives a silky Chocolate Pastry Cream that is ultimately scattered with juicy cherries and dolloped with pillows of Whipped Cream.
Black Forest Pavlova
- ½ cup (120 grams) egg whites, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (200 grams) castor sugar
- 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon (3.75 grams) distilled white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) vanilla extract
- 1 (13.5-ounce) jar (383 grams) cherries (stem on)
- Chocolate Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
- Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
- Garnish: chocolate curls
- Position oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium-low speed until soft peaks form, 5 to 6 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add castor sugar in a slow, steady stream, beating until combined. (This should take about 3 minutes.) Increase mixer speed to medium-high, and beat until thick and shiny, 10 to 12 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl halfway through mixing. Rub meringue between 2 fingers to make sure it is smooth and no sugar granules can be felt.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla. Add to meringue, and beat at high speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Using a permanent marker, draw a 7-inch circle on a 16½×12-inch sheet of parchment paper. Turn parchment over, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon meringue inside drawn circle. Using a spatula, shape meringue until it fills drawn circle, with straight sides and a flat top. (Try to do this quickly—the more you work with it, the harder it will be to shape later on.) Place tip of a small offset spatula at base of meringue, and pull up to create a long groove. Repeat around outside edge. Place meringue in oven.
- Immediately reduce oven temperature to 225°F (107°C). Bake until dry and firm to the touch, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn oven off, and leave meringue in oven with door closed for 8 hours or up to overnight.
- Measure ½ cup (120 grams) syrup from cherries. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, and let cool completely.
- Spoon Chocolate Pastry Cream in center of meringue; top with Whipped Cream. Top with cooled cherry syrup and cherries. Garnish with chocolate curls, if desired. Serve immediately.
Chocolate Pastry Cream
- ¾ cup (180 grams) whole milk
- 4 tablespoons (48 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) heavy whipping cream
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large egg yolks (37 grams), room temperature
- 1½ tablespoons (12 grams) cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
- 2.5 ounces (71 grams) finely chopped 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate
- In a medium saucepan, heat milk, 2 tablespoons (24 grams) sugar, cream, and salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until steaming. (Do not boil.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 2 tablespoons (24 grams) sugar. Whisk hot milk mixture into egg yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to boil. (Mixture will be thick.) Cook, whisking constantly, until cornstarch flavor has cooked out, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium heatproof bowl. Stir in butter and vanilla until well combined. Gradually add chocolate, stirring until combined. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cooled.
- ¾ cup (180 grams) cold heavy whipping cream
- 1½ tablespoons (18 grams) granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) cherry brandy*
- In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients until medium to stiff peaks form. Use immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use.