Chocolate Pavlova With Cherries and Mulberries

Our month of egg recipes wouldn’t be complete without something sweet, so we’re excited to share a chocolate meringue from Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper. With handfuls of fresh berries, a crisp crust and a soft, chewy inside, this pavlova (named in honor of an elegant Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, in the 1920s) takes the cake for warm-weather desserts. Here’s how to whip it up…

Chocolate Pavlova With Berries
by Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper

When I first set out to make a pavlova, it was daunting. Not because of the complexity, but because of the lack of it. What magic would I need to harness to turn egg whites and sugar into something with such an intriguing texture? The best pavlovas are crisp and airy with irresistibly chewy centers. Happily, all that lay between me and pavlova perfection was just to try.

To make yours, you’ll want to take care at two crucial points. First, the bowl in which you beat the whites needs to be spotless – even a smudge of grease can deflate your eggy peaks. Any speck of yolk is even more disastrous and can prevent egg whites from whipping up at all. Crack eggs into a small dish first just in case a yolk breaks. Next, you’ll want to take care not to overcook the pavlova; keep a close eye toward the end of cook time and off the heat as soon as you think it’s done.

Once you’ve baked your pavlova, top it with a generous dollop of barely sweetened whipped cream (also excellent for masking imperfections) and a pile of ripe cherries, berries, or other seasonal fruits.

Chocolate Pavlova With Berries

Chocolate Pavlova With Berries

You’ll need:

4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/3 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar (you can buy it, or just pulse reguar sugar a few times in a coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp finely ground coffee
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 cups berries and cherries (I used a mix of Bing cherries and mulberries)
1 tbsp plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large, spotlessly clean bowl, beat egg whites on high speed 3-4 minutes, until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in cream of tartar and beat 1 minute more.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, use a fork to combine superfine sugar, coffee and cornstarch.

With beater still on high, slowly add sugar and coffee mixture, beating until the meringue is stiff, pliant and has a nice sheen, about 4-5 minutes more. Finally, fold in the cocoa, followed by the balsamic vinegar.

Spoon onto prepared baking sheet and spread into an 8-10-inch circle, creating a few peaks and valleys as you do.

Gently slide pavlova into oven, turn heat down to 300F and bake 45-50 minutes, or until the edges are the faintest golden and the top is set but still has some spring. Turn off the heat, leave the oven door slightly ajar and allow the pavlova to cool completely inside the oven. The cooked pavlova will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

To serve, toss fruit with 1 tablespoon sugar. Beat cream to soft peaks, folding in 1 teaspoon of sugar right at the end. Spoon the whipped cream onto pavlova and top with berries. Slice and serve immediately.

Chocolate Pavlova With Cherries and Mulberries

Thank you so much, Elizabeth!

P.S. More recipes, including berry cobbler and chocolate mousse.

(Recipe and photos by Elizabeth Stark. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for helping with this series.)