Pavlova is always a show-stopping dessert. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it gives you the sensation of eating a sweet cloud, with pockets of cold raspberry, rich, creamy chocolate, and toothsome toasted pecans.
6egg whites, room temperature
1 ½tspcream of tartar
1 ¾ccaster sugar
⅓ctoasted pecans, roughly chopped, plus 8-10 whole to garnish
4oz70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
Maple Sugar Whipped Cream:
½tspvanilla extract, optional
4ozraspberries to serve
Make the pavlova:
Prepare 1 large 16x22’’ baking sheet; trace two 9 or 10’’ circles onto a sheet of parchment. Flip the paper so that the markings are against the pan (not cooked into your pavlova).
In a glass or metal mixing bowl, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, add the egg whites and begin to beat on medium speed. After 3-4 minutes, add the salt and cream of tartar. Mix on medium speed until soft peaks form, 5-6 minutes. Add the sugar to the egg whites slowly, 1 Tbsp at a time, on medium speed for 10 minutes. Once the sugar is added, sift in the cornstarch. Continue mixing until the sugar dissolves, stiff peaks form, and the meringue turns glossy, 6-8 minutes. To check that the sugar has dissolved, grab a pinch of meringue and rub it in between your fingers, to ensure there are no grains left. When you take out the whisk, the peaks should stand straight, with a slight curl at the end.
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Spoon the meringue into the traced circles, making the outer rim a bit higher than the center. Bake for 1 hour, then turn off the oven, and let sit for at least 90 minutes more, up to 24 hours, with the door closed to further dry out the pavlova. If you want a chewier, marshmallow center, don’t let it sit overnight.
Make the whipping cream:
While the pavlova bakes, make your whipped cream and ganache—these can be made the day before serving as well. In a mixing bowl, combine the whipping cream, brown sugar, maple extract, and a pinch of salt. Whip on medium-high, just until stiff peaks form—5-6 minutes—then fold in the sour cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the ganache:
For the ganache, add the heavy cream to a sauce pot over medium-low heat, until it just begins to simmer (not boil!). In a medium mixing bowl, add the finely chopped chocolate. Pour over the hot heavy cream and mix together until chocolate has melted. Set aside and allow to cool. If you make this the day before serving the pavlova, place on a double boiler with a tablespoon more of whipped cream and mix until melted.
Assemble the cake:
To assemble pavlova, scoop half of the whipped cream onto the center of a pavlova, and spread out within a few inches of the pavlova’s edge. Drizzle with ganache, sprinkle with chopped pecans and flattened raspberries, then top with the second pavlova. Finish with dollops of the remaining whipped cream and drizzle of ganache. Sprinkle with the remaining pecans and raspberries and serve cold. To store, keep in the refrigerator, uncovered, to preserve crispness.
Make sure no water comes in contact with the chocolate, or it will seize and not melt.