Anyone who follows the WKA Facebook page will be aware of the recent somewhat hilarious (to me now, not at the time I can assure you!) fiasco that was my pavlova DISASTER in early January when I tried to assemble a 3 tier pav. in about 47˚C heat in my non-air conditioned kitchen ~ it was a total nightmare!!! The cream melted within seconds and the pavlova imploded when I discovered that I had not cooked them properly... LOL
So thankfully since then, I have redeemed myself on the pav. front and had to do so in time for Aussie Day as it's an essential inclusion on any Aussie Day menu, it's just not the same with a big, monster PAV.
This one has 3 tiers and is very much a special occasion dessert, it'll feed about 10 people. With chocolate pavlovas they meringue discs always spread out when cooking and results in a chewy style pav. as opposed to the classic deep, eggy and sort inner which you get with normal vanilla flavoured versions. This thinner result allows you to stack the meringues easier. To make this as a 1 or 2 tier pav. change the ingredients for the meringue to 6 egg whites/300 g sugar and leave the rest of the ingredients the same. You can reduced the frozen cherries to 400 g and use the juice form half a lime. [print_this]
175g chocolate covered honeycomb
50g almond meal
2 tsp cocoa power
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp cornflower
50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), very finely chopped
1 tsp white vinegar
9 free-range eggs
400g caster sugar
YOU WILL ALSO NEED
600g frozen pitted cherries
Juice 1 lime
650g mascarpone ~ I use good quality, thick, white Italian variety as I find it the best visually too.
1/3 cup cream
1 cup flaked almonds ~ toasted until golden in a frying pan
1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
3 large handfuls fresh black cherries, pitted
Extra icing sugar for dusting
Pre-heat oven to 200˚C/392˚F.
Grease and line 3 flat baking trays.
Using a 20cm (8 inch) bowl as a stencil, draw a circle on each piece of paper to act as a template for the meringue mixture. Set aside.
Sift almond meal, cocoa, cream of tartar and cornflower into a small mixing bowl, add the finely chopped chocolate.
In a food processor whizz up all the honeycomb until the texture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add half the honeycomb to the dry ingredients/chocolate in the bowl and set the remainder aside for later. Stir all dry ingredients together thoroughly.
Wipe the bowl of a stand mixer or large metal mixing bowl (if you are using hand-held beaters) with a little white vinegar or lemon juice to remove any traces of grease. Do the same with the whisk.
Add the 9 egg whites and beat on medium speed until opaque and frothy.
Using a large spoon add the caster sugar in separate additions beating the meringue mixture after each spoonful. Continue until all the sugar is used up and the mixture is thick, holds stiff peaks and is glossy. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the meringue moving.
Add the vinegar and beat for a second or two extra then remove the bowl from the stand mixer and sprinkle in the dry ingredients, fold into the meringue using a large spoon in about 7 or 8 rotations. It doesn't need to be totally combined.
Spoon the meringue out evenly onto the 3 lined trays and from evenly sized round discs. Use a small angled spatula to smooth out the edges if you like.
Bake in the oven at 200˚C/392˚F for exactly 5 minutes before turning the heat down to 150˚C/302˚F. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes before turning off the oven completely and allowing the pavlovas to cool completely in the oven.
While pavlovas are cooling, place frozen cherries in a medium-sized saucepan along with lime juice simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Spoon cherries into a bowl then return the cherry juice to the heat and cook until reduced by over half. Allow to cool and pour into a small serving jug
Combine mascarpone, cream and icing sugar in a bowl and mix until combined and smooth.
To assemble the pavlova, place the first meringue disc on a flat surface top with 1/3 cream, cooked cherry compote and fresh cherries and a sprinkling of crushed honeycomb and toasted flaked almonds. Repeat with the second and third meringue disc and all the ingredients then very carefully stack on top of each other. Drizzle top of assembled pavlova with the reduced cherry juice when ready to serve and dust with a little icing sugar.