Summertime, and we get the chance to enjoy berries, peaches, nectarines and melon in their prime. Want to gild the lily? Pile the fruit onto a meringue base to make an Australian pavlova. My friend Deborah showed me how this can be made even more delicious, by adding dark chocolate. Use any acid fruit to balance the sweet chewiness of the meringue, cloudy cream and intense chocolate. Add candles and you have a beautiful alternative to a birthday cake, especially served on a mirror.
chocolate-drizzled summer fruit pavlova
pinch bicarbonate of soda
1.5 cups plus 1 tbsp of sugar
drop vanilla extract
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
50 gr dark chocolate
250 ml of double cream
4 passion fruit
400 gr fresh fruit such as berries, peaches or nectarines
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Whisk the egg whites with the bicarbonate of soda until stiff.
Add half the sugar and beat until dissolved.
Add the rest of the sugar (except the 1 tbsp), the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and beat until the sugar has dissolved.
Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and pile on the meringue. In terms of shape and size, think about what tray, platter or mirror you will be serving it on. It is useful to build up an edge round the whole thing to hold the filling.
Turn the oven down to 100 degrees C. Bake the meringue for 1 hour, then open the door of the oven and allow to cool completely. Lift the meringue off the baking parchment and onto a serving platter.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or au bain marie and drizzle it all over the meringue with a fork. Allow to cool.
Just before you are ready to serve the pavlova, clean and dry the berries and chop where necessary.
Whip the cream till thick and stir in the tbsp of sugar.
Pile the cream onto the meringue, add the berries and top with the passion fruit pulp.
Serve right away.