Black Forest Pavlova Wreath

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.

black forest pavlova wreath

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!

black forest pavlova wreath

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.)

black forest pavlova wreath

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.

black forest pavlova wreath

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!)

black forest pavlova wreath

Enjoy,
Alexis xxx

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