Crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside, and surprisingly easy to make
Pavlovas are easier than pie to make. The basic meringue, crisp on the outside and marshmallow on the inside, layered with whipped cream, is a dessert which can be manipulated into countless guises. I borrowed the German cherry-chocolate-cream combination from the famous gateau and assigned it to the Australian classic, then turned it into a surprisingly easy and time-friendly roulade—the meringue takes just 17 mins to bake!
For the meringues:
6 free-range egg whites, at room temperature
A pinch of sea salt
360g caster sugar
3 tbsp pure cocoa powder
For the filling and topping:
500ml double cream
6 tbsp cherry liqueur
8 tbsp cherry compote or preserve
450g fresh cherries with stems intact
60g dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a 30cm x 40cm (approximately) oven tray or cookie sheet, and line with baking parchment, letting it extend over the edges.
In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt with an electric whisk until stiff. Start sprinkling in the sugar, a tbsp at a time, and whisk well after each addition. Be patient: the more gradually you add the sugar, the more likely you are to achieve a successful meringue.
Once all the sugar has been incorporated, whisk in the cocoa powder. You should have a very stiff and glossy mixture.
Spread the meringue on the paper and smooth out evenly. Bake for 17 mins or until barely crisp on top. Cool. Place another larger piece of parchment on top and flip over, removing the baking sheet. Peel off paper.
To make the filling, whisk the cream until it holds its shape; be careful not to over-whip it. Whisk in the cherry liqueur. Spread the cream evenly over the meringue. Dribble the cherry conserve over the cream (you can mix it with a little warm water to loosen it if it is too thick).
Roll up the meringue from the wide end, using the paper to guide you. Before you have rolled the roulade completely off the paper, lift it on to a board or large platter. Lodge fresh cherries along the top, and scatter more around the platter.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmer water. Drizzle over the roulade. Slice into segments and serve.
Recipe: Celia Brooks