Love is in the air. Chocolate is in your future! That special day full of pink hearts and candy boxes is rising on the horizon. I know what I’m making this 14th! A stunning heart-shaped chocolate confection.
Are you familiar with Pavlova? IMHO, it’s one of the best things the Aussie’s have given the world… which says a lot as I’m ranking it above Hugh Jackman 😉
A light, pillowy meringue — crunchy on the outside, soft and ethereal on the inside — and topped with sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruit… it’s at once sophisticated and playful.
And YES, to make this classic even more Valentine’s Day-worthy, I’ve developed my recipe to include CHOCOLATE. But wait, there’s EVEN more! I’ve also formed it into a cute heart shape, and topped it with festive red berries.
Tying it all together, whipped cream with a gingery kick (but NOT in an obnoxious Red Hot kind of way) lends a subtle, fiery note that is a perfect match to the chocolate and berries.
My hubby and I haven’t gone out for V-Day in FOREVER! And neither of us miss it one bit. After one too many holidays fighting the crowds for an over-priced, poorly-done preset menu, we decided no thanks!
We’re much happier at home, cooking together, sharing a bottle of bubbles, and indulging in a chocolaty plate of heaven (last year we made these Mini Chocolate Pudding Cakes).
No judgments here though if you have a special spot lined up for a night on the town! (We will be slightly envious of you, not having to clean up dishes! ; -)
Just be sure you bookmark this one for your next homemade treat. Trust me! You’re going to fall head over heels ?
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Can I Make this Pavlova Ahead?
Yes absolutely! All three parts can be made ahead; the meringue, whipped cream, and berries. Don’t assemble until just before serving however, as the meringue will absorb the moisture from the cream and can get soggy.
Isn’t Meringue Tricky?
Not at all! I don’t suggest you whip the egg whites by hand unless you’re in need of a GOOD workout, but with a stand mixer or hand held beaters it comes together in no time.
If your meringue falls in the oven, never fear. It will still be delicious. A tip to keep it light and puffy is to keep the oven door closed the entire cooking time – only opening it after the 40 minutes of cook time as instructed.
Are There Substitutions?
- Not making this for Valentine’s Day? Skip the heart shape and make one large circle instead (about 2 inches high and 8-9 inches in diameter).
- You can use any combination of berries or fruit that you love.
- If you don’t love ginger, substitute with ground cinnamon. About ½ teaspoon should do it.
Chocolate Pavlova with Gingered Cream & Berries
- 3 egg whites
- ¾ cup fine sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder preferably Dutch process
- ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 325. Draw one large heart about 9 inches in diameter on a sheet of parchment paper. Over-exaggerate the shape of the heart as it will spread as it bakes. Flip it over so the pencil is on the bottom and place on a baking sheet.
- In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with a pinch of salt until soft peaks, which should take a few minutes. Begin adding in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until you have incorporated the ¾ cup. Beat the meringue at high speed until the sugar is dissolved. You should not see the grains of sugar in the egg whites.
- Add the cocoa powder to the egg whites, and using a rubber spatula gently fold it in. It’s ok if there are some streaks. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Dollop the meringue gently onto the prepared parchment, and using an offset spatula or spoon, fill in the shape of the heart.
- Place in the oven and turn the temperature down to 275. Cook for 40 minutes, then turn the oven off and open the door. Let it cool completely.
- Meanwhile, beat the cream with the sugar just until soft peaks form. Do not over beat. Grate the ginger and squeeze it over the cream. You are looking for just the juice, not the shredded ginger. If you have a small mesh strainer, you can place the grated ginger in that and press on it to release the juice. Discard the solids. Add the ground ginger and vanilla,to the cream, then beat again just to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To serve, place the baked meringue on a serving plate and dollop with the whipped cream, spreading it out almost to the edges, then top with the berries in a heart shape. Serve right away, or you can refrigerate this for 1-2 hours.
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