Black Forest Meringue Pavlova
Serves 6, easily doubled or trebled
Easy to make and impressive to serve.
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder and a little more for dusting
600ml whipping or double cream or 600g creme fraiche
A tin of black cherries in juice or syrup
50g dark chocolate, grated or dark chocolate curls
Chocolate syrup or sauce for drizzling (optional)
A large baking tray (the AGA cold plain shelf is ideal), lined with greaseproof paper.
A serving platter - the small AGA portmerion flat baking dishes are perfect
Draw 2 rectangles 25cms x15 cms on one piece of greaseproof paper in pencil, leaving a gap approx 5 cms between them. Turn the paper over and place on the baking tray. Whisk the eggs whites in a very clean bowl until quite stiff then gradually add the sugar one teaspoon at a time and whisk until stiff. Place the meringue to make rectangle shapes on the lined baking tray using the pencil lines as a guide.
Sprinkle the cocoa powder over the edges of the meringue and using a cocktail stick, swirl it into the meringue, using a figure of eight motion all the way round the edges.
Bake either in the AGA warming oven for a 2-3 hours, or in the AGA simmering oven for an hour. For a conventional/fan oven, cook at 100/80C for an hour or two. The
meringues are cooked when they lift easily off the paper. Cool and store in an airtight container until needed.
Make the boozy black cherries by straining out the cherries from the tin. Put the juices into the small pan with the brandy and heat on the boiling plate for several minutes until the juices reduce right down to just a spoonful of syrup. Set aside.
To assemble, whip the cream. Put one meringue layer on to a serving dish and top with half the cream, spreading out almost to the edges. Spoon over half the cherries and some of the syrupy juices. Carefully place the second meringue on top, repeat with the rest of the cream, cherries and finish with the grated or chocolate curls and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Here’s the really clever bit - the whole finished dish can be frozen (including the AGA Portmerion baking dish) until needed, simply defrost for 4 hours in the fridge or 1hr at room temperature.