Double Chocolate Pavlova with Mascarpone Cream and Raspberries
Created by a hotel chef in the 1920s in honor of the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova during one of her tours to Australia or New Zealand, a pavlova is a cake-shaped meringue with a soft and marshmallowy center and crisp outer shell, usually topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
In this gorgeous chocolate version, cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate are folded into the meringue—which makes it deliciously fudgy—and mascarpone cheese (Italian cream cheese) is added to the whipped topping. It’s a wonderfully light, gluten-free dessert. I make it for Passover, and it’s always a huge hit. The nice thing about pavlovas is that even though they look fancy, they are incredibly easy to make—even kids can do it. Mine love separating the eggs and whipping the meringue.
Note: The meringue portion of this recipe was adapted from Nigella Lawson on FoodNetwork.com.
- 6 large egg whites
- Pinch salt
- 1¾ cups superfine sugar*
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Mascarpone Cream
- 8 ounces (1 cup) mascarpone cheese, cold
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream, cold
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups fresh raspberries
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, grated or shaved into curls (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a dark marker, draw a 9-inch-diameter circle on the parchment paper by tracing around a 9-inch cake pan or plate. Flip the paper over so your meringue won't touch the marker.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy soft peaks form, about a minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form, 8 to 9 minutes. (The meringue will be glossy.)
- Pass the cocoa powder through a sieve or sifter and add to the meringue. Add the vinegar and chopped chocolate. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the mixture until well combined. It should be a light mocha color with no white or brown streaks.
- Secure the parchment paper to the baking sheet by adding a dab of meringue under each corner. Mound the meringue onto the parchment inside the circle. Using the spatula or a butter knife, spread the meringue to fill the circle. Even the top and sides just slightly—it shouldn’t be perfectly smooth or overworked. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the meringue is puffed and crisp all over, yet still a bit wobbly underneath if you touch the center. Don't worry if the top is cracked—that's normal and it all gets covered with whipped cream in the end. Turn off the oven, prop the oven door open and leave the meringue in the oven to cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes. (The meringue won’t collapse as much if it cools gradually.)
- Before serving, carefully peel the meringue off of the parchment paper and place it on a serving platter. In a medium bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream and vanilla until combined. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until it holds soft, pillowy peaks. Do not overbeat; it should not be too stiff or grainy. Mound the mascarpone cream onto the meringue and gently spread it out about an inch from the edge (don't worry if the meringue cracks in the process). Top the pavlova with the raspberries and sprinkle the shaved chocolate over top. Cut the pavlova into wedges, wiping the knife in between slices and serve. Note: This pavlova can be made ahead and assembled up to 12 hours ahead of time. Keep in the refrigerator, and slice just before serving.
- * If you don't have superfine sugar, place regular granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse until fine, about 30 seconds.