I was trying to conceive a new form of the traditional Black Forest cake for the summer. Then it occurred to me that I could try a pavlova version. I was surprised to find that there already are several chocolate pavlova recipes. But I hope that my version will be original with this interpretation. On my first try, I used too much cherry juice to color the cream.It became runny and darker than I thought (see photo of the slice cut wide open). So I reverted to a traditional white cream which I prefer. That led me to suggest a more traditional take on the Black Forest. So although I offer the variety of fruit partners as an option, I suggest using only sweet cherries with a variety of chocolate partners. I just made my last experiment that showcases the dusting of cocoa, shaved chocolate, and broken up truffles dancing around the cherries. You can make a double decker pavlova with more layers of fruit and cream in between for increased decadence. Since one of my mounds was smaller (4 "), it made a great second layer. I like to organize all the fruit and the chocolates as a color palette for the assembly. Texture and taste contrasts are also important. With this version I wanted everything to revolve around the cherries. —Sagegreen
Dutch unsweetened cocoa
1-1 1/2 cups
or less of kirsch
sweet dark red cherries
If you are going to restrict the pavlova to a traditional take off on the Black Forest, then use only cherries and more chocolate. Otherwise, feel free to use the other fruits.
dark or milk chocolate, shaved,and also use truffle pieces
Using a copper bowl beat egg whites (best at room temperature) until they begin stiffening. If you don't have a copper bowl then you may want to add a tsp. of cream of tartar. Some also suggest a tps. of vinegar. But I have not had to use either.
Mix the sugar and cocoa together and begin to add this mixture to the egg whites. I want this to be rich in cocoa. Beat until the mixture holds peaks.
Add the vanilla.
Ladle the meringue onto parchment paper on a baking sheet to create four or five individual nests or mounds about 5 inches in diameter. If you do decide to create the concave nest feature these may cook more quickly. I made 5 mounds which took 45 minutes in my oven.
Bake for about 30-45 minutes or so, or until lightly browned and let cool completely. If these are not brown enough, you can turn off your oven and let them rest there for another 15 minutes (as dymnymo helpfully suggested). Check yours after 25 minutes to see how they are doing in your oven. Dust with some additional cocoa if you like.
When you are getting close to serving time, whip the cream with the sugar. Squeeze the juice out of a few cherries if you want to transform the cream to an inviting pink color. But I prefer the white traditional. Add the kirsch.
Prepare the fruit: Pit and halve the cherries. If you are going to make the traditional version, then only use cherries. But if you prefer a variety of fruit, then also peel, if desired, and slice the peaches; slice the strawberries. Use the blueberries whole.
Using half the fruit, create an arrangement of fruit on top of each of the meringue mounds (or nests). I tend to like plenty of selection.
Slather the whipped cream upon each nest. Cover each one up completely with the pink or white cream. Consider making a two layer version layering fruit and also cream. End with a cream-covered form.
Add a cocoa dusting to the cream covered meringue form. Add the chocolate shavings and truffle pieces. Use the rest of the fruit on top to create a pattern that pleases you.Add the mint garnish. Chill until serving time.
Allow some time (@1/2-1 hour) for all the fruits to co-mingle with the cream and meringue before serving. Although you are supposed to eat this all up at once, I have been known to enjoy leftover Pavlova a few days later. Have uploaded a number of photos to illustrate my adventures along the way. It is so nice to have a break from work to explore cherries!