So, I set to work, separating 6 egg whites from their yolks, and whisking them into a frenzy. I love the way egg whites transform from a gooey, runny mess, into an enormous white mountain of fluff that looks good enough to bounce on, in just a matter of minutes.
6 egg whites
3 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp corn flour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
450g caster sugar
for the topping
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
250 ml double cream / whipping cream
any other soft fruits that take your fancy
50g dark chocolate
1) Pre-heat the oven to 120C / gas mark 1/2 / 250f
2) Draw a 12 inch circle on a piece of baking parchment to serve as a size guide for the meringue, and place on a large baking tray.
3) In a large bowl (stainless steel is preferable), beat the egg whites until they become foamy (about 30 seconds).
4) Add the white wine vinegar, then continue to whisk the whites until soft peaks form.
5) Very gradually, add the sugar while whisking. It is important to give the sugar crystals enough time to disperse, as this affects the final consistency of the meringue.
6) After about 3 minutes, glossy peaks should form. Next, beat in the vanilla extract.
7) Very gently, fold the cocoa and cornflour into the meringue mixture until combined or marbled, depending on how you would like your meringue to look.
8) Gently fold in the chocolate chunks.
9) Pour the meringue mix onto the parchment paper, and use the back of a metal spoon to make a nest in the middle, creating an edge that will contain the cream and fruit.
10) Bake in the preheated oven for an hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off, but leave the pavlova inside with the door of the oven ajar, so that the meringue can continue gently cooking as it cools. Leave for about 3 hours.
11) Now comes the fun part of adding whatever toppings you would like! I melted 50g chocolate and drizzled it over the meringue, then added whipped cream, grapes and strawberries. Feel free to ad lib at this point and add raspberries, white chocolate, yoghurt, or anything you fancy.