Chocolate Pavlova (GF)

This is a great dessert for sharing as it feeds 10-12; perfect for this busy time of year. I think it’s a more interesting take on the classic pavlova as it features chocolate meringue and amazing velvety chocolate creme patissiere.

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I cannot take the credit for this recipe as it’s my gluten-free adaptation of Nigella’s “Gooey Chocolate Stack” that features in her wonderful classic “How to be a Domestic Goddess”.

If you can eat gluten just replace the gluten-free flour with normal plain flour and use 300ml of milk for the creme pat.

A pavlova is a great gluten-free dessert anyway but this is a more luxurious take. When I made this, I just decorated it simply with pistachios as intended, but when I make it again, I will definitely include some fruit – most probably banana and strawberrys or banana and mango.

The meringues can be made a few days in advance and the creme patissiere the night before, but you do need to assemble it just before eating as the creme pat loses its gloss (some of these pics were taken the day after making it and are not as good as I would like):

Recipe:

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For the meringues:

6 large egg whites

300g golden caster sugar

3 tbsps cocoa powder

1 tsp red wine vinegar

3 baking sheets

For the creme patissiere:

6 large egg yolks

100g golden caster sugar

2 tbsps cocoa powder

2 level tbsps gluten-free plain flour (I use Doves Farm)

300ml full-fat milk (plus 3-4 tbsps more)

300ml double cream

100g dark choc (at least 70% cocoa)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pistachios and/or fruit of your choice (bananas work really well with this)

Single cream for serving (or you could be indulgent and have brandy or Baileys cream).

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C.

Draw a 20cm circle on three sheets of grease-proof paper/baking sheets.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then add the sugar a spoonful at a time:

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Sieve over the cocoa powder, add the vinegar and fold in.

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Divide the meringue between the three baking sheets…

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…and cook for one hour before turning off the oven, leaving the meringues in until completely cool (you can leave them in the switched-off oven overnight if easier).

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As you can see, mine cracked (I may have peeked in the oven whilst they were cooling) but it really doesn’t matter.

Once the meringues are cool you can make the creme patissiere. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together, then add the sieved cocoa and flour:

 

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Break the chocolate up into small pieces (I put it in a zip-lock bag and bash it with a rolling pin).

Warm the milk and cream in a saucepan before pouring into the cocoa/egg mixture and pouring everything back into the pan.

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Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring it constantly. When it has thickened to the consistency of thick custard (remember it well get even thicker once cool) take it off the heat and stir in the broken-up chocolate and vanilla until it melts:

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Cover it with grease-proof paper to avoid it forming a skin:

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Allow it to completely cool. (Don’t put it in the fridge as it will become too solid.)

Leave the final assembly to just before serving: divide the creme patissiere between the 3 meringues and slice the fruit (if using). Stack the meringues and fruit on top before finishing with a final layer of creme pat and chopped pistachios.

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Enjoy with some cold single cream and good company!

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