Chocolate Strawberry ‘Pavlyuchenkova’
I made this dessert for a fellow blogger friend. Her name is C Note and she is da bomb. She has a tennis blog which is ranked no.1 in my humble opinion. C Note is from the US and made the trip to the UK for a well deserved holiday as well as having a guided tour around Wimbledon AELTC, you know that little grass court slam. I had to make something special for her because she’s such a cool person. Now I didn’t have to rack my brain for long because I had an instant eureka moment – PAVLOVA! Ironically enough she wanted me to make her cinnamon buns in her podcast but I didn’t feel it was worthy of the occasion. The unique name comes from the silly simple fact C Note thought I wrote Pavlyuchenkova – the surname of a young Russian tennis player who is too cool for school when in reality I meant Pavlova 😉 Tennis and cooking merging seamlessly there.
I first made it for a Food Tech class back in secondary school [high school]years ago and it came out PERFECT. This dish is 100% foolproof. You just can’t go wrong even if you tried. It’s incredibly delicious. The crisp outer shell and the mallow-y insides contrast perfectly with the whipped cream and sharp tangy strawberries. I got the recipe from a Nigella Lawson recipe book and it originally calls for raspberry but seeing as I would meet C Note at Wimbledon, it begged for Strawberries 😉
Here’s the recipe online
|6 egg whites|
|300g/ 1 1/3 c caster/granulated sugar|
|3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved|
|1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar|
|50g/ 3 rows of dark chocolate, finely chopped|
500ml/ 2 c double/heavy cream
A punnet/ 10 oz of strawberries
2 tablespoons of grated dark chocolate
Makes two medium sized pavlovas.
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350°F/176°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment/greaseproof paper.
- Beat the egg whites in a bowl until satiny peaks appear, bring the whisk up to form a peak that should hold its shape.
- Most important step is to add the sugar a TABLESPOON at a time. Sprinkle it while whisking [We, females like multi-tasking, no? ;)] During this slow but worthwhile process, the texture should dramatically change. It should become stiff and shiny. It should also be a little harder to whisk. The appearance reminded me of Fluff 😀
- Sift the cocoa powder, add the vinegar and roughly chopped chocolate to the mixture and fold very GENTLY until the cocoa powder is mixed in. Don’t blend it fully. It shouldn’t look remotely chocolatey just yet.
- Carefully spoon the mixture onto the paper and shape it so it looks like a circular, flat-ish disk. Make sure to make a slight well in the centre so the cream and fruit can fill it.
[I always forget to cut baking parchment with scissors, I end up using a knife instead! Don’t do this :P]
- Place in the oven and IMMEDIATELY turn it down to gas mark 2/300°F / 149°C and cook for a minimum of 1 hour. Max 1 hour and15 minutes. To check it’s cooked, it should be crisp on the outside with cracks. I like mine squishy so you can press the top to make sure it’s gives way a little if that suits your taste.
- Turn off the oven and open the door to let it cool down.
- During this time whip the cream. [I hand whipped it just because of many things and partly because when it became whipped, the pavlova cooled down! :p] Make sure not to overwhip it. Slice the strawberries in half and grate the chocolate.
- Add the cream in the middle, arrange the strawberries in a nice haphazard manner and sprinkle the chocolate on top. Glitter bowl is optional but as a WTA fan any JJ references are a must.
Et voila! A mighty impressive dessert that doesn’t even involve any skill but gets a lot of happy customers and a chugmug picture! Success!!