This dessert needed extra "c"s in its title for emphasis on its cappuccino accent of the Pavlovian variety. Usually Pavlova's are mounded with cream and berries, but I wanted something more sleek and refined but still robust in flavour. The outer crunch of the meringue is the safest shell for its soft gooey interior - and aren't we all this way after all. (Have I just managed to personify Pavlova? Oh dear...) Always an inspiration to those sweetly and culinarily (but not necessarily) inclined, Nigella has inspired this recipe.
(Note this is gluten and nut free!)
1 cup caster sugar (extra fine sugar)
4 tsps instant espresso powder (not instant coffee)
4 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tsp meringue powder (or 2 tsp corn starch)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
170g Devonshire double cream
125mL half & half cream
2 tsp cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 180C/360F. Like a baking tray with parchment paper and on it, draw a circle with pencil approx 9inch/22cm using a cake pan.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar with espresso powder and set aside.
In a grease free metal bowl (important it is clean and grease free otherwise meringue will fall), with an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat 4 egg whites and salt on high speed until they form soft peaks.
While continuing to whisk, slowly add the sugar-espresso mixture a tablespoon at a time until all combined.
When the mixture has turned ecru in colour, and stiff peaks have formed, turn off your mixers, and fold in the meringue powder and white wine vinegar with a metal spoon. (Metal spoons help keep the air in the fluffed egg white so that they don't fall.)
Dollop the mixture onto the baking sheet in the circle, forming a round mound (that sounds nice on the tongue doesn't it) and making sure it is more or less flat on top.
Carefully put it into the oven, and immediately turn the temperature down to 150C/300F. Cook for approx an hour, then switch off the oven and allow to cool inside the oven.
Once cooled, flip top-side down onto a serving plate and peel off the parchment paper.
I didn't have whipping cream at hand, so instead I mixed thick Devonshire double cream with half and half. With beaters, whip the double cream, and slowly add the half and half until you have light and fluffy cream to spread over the Pavlova! *This is a good trick if you don't have whipping cream handy.
Spread cream over the meringue and dust with cocoa powder through a fine sieve. I preferred to use less cream, to make a more delicate Pav, but certainly add as much cream as you can handle!
With autumn on the way, fall into cappuccino colours with blue accents as seen on the streets of Paris. Besides there is something about the volume of this skirt-jumper duo that echo the structure of a good meringue...
|Pic courtesy harpersbazaar.com|