I know it's been a while since I've posted. I've been to France to celebrate my grandmother's 100th birthday and I've been busy juggling my various work commitments. The latter I'm hoping to be able to sort out this year, but more of that when it's the right time. When I was thinking about what to share with you, I had some thoughts about what I wanted to write as I have been doing a lot of thinking about blogging, social media, success and people. However, it didn't feel right and so I went back to something lighter. Baking.
On Sunday - between editing what seemed like hundreds of images - I wanted to bake something to spoil the family with. As it's berry time and I had bought a whole lot, I decided on a pavlova. And as I love the classic (possibly boring?) combination of berries and chocolate, it just had to be a chocolate pavlova. Light and crunchy on the outside and just slightly sticky and gooey on the inside with a taste of chocolate that perfectly compliments the sharp berries. Add a vanilla crème fraîche and you're set for a big treat. So, read on for the recipe.
You will need the following ingredients:
- 6 large egg whites
- 300g caster sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp good quality cocoa
- 400ml good quality crème fraîche (none of that half-fat malarkey)
- 150g redcurrants
- 250g blueberries
- 300g raspberries
- 1 vanilla pod
And here's how it's done:
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof baking paper and (with the help of a baking tin or plate) draw a circle onto the paper of around 21cm diameter.
- Preheat your oven to 150C.
- To make the meringue, separate the eggs and beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff.
- Whilst still beating the whites, add the sugar one tablespoon after another.
- Keep beating until thick and glossy.
- Sieve in the cocoa and fold in with a spatula.
- Now put the mixture onto the baking sheet starting with a thin layer from the middle.
- Making sure you're staying within the circle, build up the edges so that you have a mould in the middle.
- Put into the oven for 1 hour.
- The meringue should now be light and crispy on the outside and still slightly gooey on the inside. If the outside isn't crisp yet, leave for another 10 minutes in the oven.
- Now take the meringue out and leave to cool completely.
Now comes the really easy bit:
- Cut open the vanilla pod along its length and scrape the seeds into the crème fraîche.
- Give it a good mix until combined.
- Now pour the vanilla cream onto the meringue, pile the berries on top and serve.
- If you can resists, leave it for half an hour for the cream to just soak in a little and make the meringue in the middle to get a little more moist.