Top tips before you start!
* Use a ratio of approx. 60g caster sugar per egg white (around 30g) if you’d like to scale up the recipe.
A four-egg recipe is plenty for an intimate supper but you may want to extend to a six-egg recipe and an 8in circle when feeding 6-8. Or make miniatures…
*stored in air tight containers they can last up to two weeks or be frozen for a longer shelf life.
* Make sure your eggs are at room temperature as this will help them whisk to good height.
* Your mixing bowl must be scrupulously clean. A drop of fat or grease may affect how well your egg white whips up.
* Adding a tiny amount of cream of tartar will strengthen your egg white if you want extra stability in your pavlova.
*Take your time adding the sugar! You want a silky texture not a gritty one.
For the pavlova:
4 large egg whites, organic and at room temperature
200g white caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or good quality extract)
¾ tbsp cornflour
Chocolate cherry topping
250ml double cream (room temperature)
100g dark chocolate (minimum 50% cocoa), melted
500g black cherries pitted (fresh or frozen)
240ml unsweetened cranberry juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
Between 75-100g sugar (depending on how sweet you like your cherries)
80ml French brandy (optional)
Fresh cherries for decoration
How to make the meringue
1. Preheat oven to 200C fan/220C electric oven. Prepare your baking sheet by drawing out a 6in circle onto greaseproof paper.
2. Whisk egg whites in a bowl with an electric attachment until stiff peaks form.
3. Slowly add the caster sugar one tbsp at a time, keeping the mixer running throughout. Don’t be tempted to cheat this stage! Once glossy and incorporated gradually, fold in the vanilla paste, cornflour and vinegar. You should have a very stiff and glossy meringue at this point.
4. Now spoon the mixture onto your pre-drawn circle and use a spatula to form your pavlova into a bulbous round shape, trying to stay inside the circle. The pavlova will expand as it cooks. Make sure you use the spatula to create a depression in the middle of your pavlova, this will help reduce cracking and will give you an area to place your topping.
5. Wipe away any excess meringue around the base of your meringue and place in the oven.
6. Immediately reduce the temperature to 100C fan/130C electric oven and bake for 1½ hours. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova inside the oven to cool for a couple of hours or overnight.
How to make the pavlova topping
7. Place the cherries, sugar, cranberry juice and brandy (if using) into a saucepan and cook on a medium heat until the juices have formed a thick syrup. Leave to cool.
8. Melt your chocolate in a double boiler and whip your cream into soft peaks. Set to one side.
How to assemble your Valentine’s pavlova
9. Gently peel the pavlova off the paper base and place on a plate or stand. Take the melted chocolate and criss cross the liquid chocolate, using a spoon over the top of the pavlova. Fold in the remaining chocolate to your cream and spoon over the top of the pavlova. Finally spoon over the boozy cherries allowing any juices to run over the side and top with fresh cherries if desired.
Pavlova is a wonderfully versatile dessert and I think this in part accounts for its enduring appeal, not only in Australia and New Zealand but all around the world. Here are some flavour combinations and topping ideas for alternative pavlovas:
Vanilla pavlova with whipped cream, lemon curd and raspberries
Coconut pavlova with coconut cream, lime curd, toasted coconut and pineapple
Chocolate pavlova with coffee cream, Kahlua and grated chocolate
Rosewater pavlova with strawberries, rose petals and pistachios
Mini pavlovas with custard cream and rhubarb
Tutor: Zoë Burmester
Tutor: Zoë BurmesterZoë is the Sugar Street Studios mamma and is best known for her playful cake sculptures and highly realistic illusion cakes. Voted Top 10 Cake Artist, UK in 2019
Tools & supplies
Baking Sheet & Paper