Chestnut and cherry pavlova
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- FOR THE MERINGUE
- 14 medium egg whites
- 700g caster sugar
- 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), melted then set aside to cool for10 mins
- FOR THE TOPPING
- 100g frozen black cherries, thawed
- 1tbsp cornflour
- 20g caster sugar
- FOR THE FILLING
- 180g pack Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts, puréed
- 600ml whipping cream
- 3tbsp icing sugar
- TO DECORATE
- 100g dark chocolate (50% cocoa), chopped
- 100g fresh cherries
- 30g blanched hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
Preheat the oven to 120C/ 100C Fan/Gas 1. In pencil, draw 3 circles on 3 separate pieces of baking paper: 25cm, 20cm and 15cm in diameter. Turn over and put on 3 baking sheets (the circles will still be visible).
Mix the meringue in 2 batches; use ½ the egg whites and ½ the sugar at a time. In a very large, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Beat in the sugar 1tbsp at a time. Gently fold through the melted chocolate until marbled.
Spread the mixture on the baking paper, using the circles as a guide. Bake for 2 hrs. Turn off the heat; cool in the oven.
Simmer 50ml water and all the topping ingredients in a pan for 2 mins until thickened. Allow to cool.
Whisk the chestnut purée, cream and icing sugar until soft peaks form.
Microwave the chopped chocolate in 30-sec bursts to melt. Stir, then dip the base of each fresh cherry; put on baking paper to set.
Put the large meringue on a serving plate; spread with ⅓ of the chestnut cream. Add the middle meringue, more cream, then the small meringue. Top with the rest of the cream.
Drizzle the cherry mixture over the pavlova. Top with the chocolate cherries and hazelnuts.