I’ve got a confession to make – I really don’t mind that Black Forest cake has been around for about 100 years. Done right, it’s still a sexy af dessert and one I wouldn’t kick off my table ever.
For Christmas though, this gorgeous classic deserves a tiny weenie facelift in the form of a Black Forest Pavlova.
First off, there’s no cake. There’s meringue however, and plenty of it, shaped in a festive wreath. Also because there’s no cake but also because hey, are those kids that need to be fed on Christmas? – there’s no booze. Worry not, espresso flavoured filling, juicy cherries and a kick of chocolate still feature heavily from this point onwards. You can have the booze on the side. Think of the kids!
To make the pavlova, you’ll need:
5 egg whites
Double weight of egg whites in sugar (i.e. my egg whites weighed 160g, so I used 320g granulated sugar)
Preheat oven at 100C.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Beat egg whites on their own, starting on a lower speed to create airy bubbles.
Gradually increase the mixer speed until egg whites start forming stiff peaks.
Start adding sugar, one tablespoon at a time, mixing in well before adding more.
Once all sugar has been incorporated, continue beating for another 5 minutes.
To test if meringue mixture is done, pick a little of the mixture between thumb and finger – if you can still feel the texture as grainy, the sugar hasn’t dissolved yet and you’ll have to keep mixing. A stand mixer definitely comes in handy here.
Spoon the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and place in oven.
If shaping a wreath or a large pavlova, you’ll need to bake for approx 3 hours. For optimum results, leave to cool in the oven – it’ll dry out properly.
(If you’re baking little kisses, then 35 – 45 mins should do the trick; similarly, meringue nests will need approx 2 hours.)
To top up the Black Forest Pavlova, you’ll need:
200g double cream
2 tablespoons strong espresso coffee, freshly made and cooled
30g granulated sugar
200g morello cherries / sour cherries (found usually in a jar or tin on most supermarket shelves)
A few shavings of chocolate
A few hazelnuts, roasted and chopped
Drain cherries in a bowl. They may need 15 – 20 minutes to be on the dry side.
Warm up the drained cherry juice over low heat, for 5 – 10 minutes, until it reduces slightly. Leave to cool.
Beat the double cream with the sugar, then add the coffee. Do not over-beat as it’ll make spooning on top of the pavlova tricky.
Place pavlova on a cake stand or large round platter.
Spoon coffee double cream mixture over the pavlova, then top with half of the cherries.
Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts, then a few more cherries, then more hazelnuts.
Finish off with shavings of chocolate and a good drizzle of cherry syrup.
Pavlova will hold for a few days if kept in air tight container or dry environment, which makes this dessert a great make-ahead option. 20 minutes of work on Christmas day and then you just have to sit back and watch jaws falling open. (No, don’t watch Jaws on Christmas, just no!)