Daring Bakers June – Pavlova

Daring Bakers pavlova on eatlivetravelwrite.com[donotprint]

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

I was pretty excited to see the word “pavlova” in the Daring Bakers recipe this month. It’s been years since I have made a pavlova and, in fact, I have never made one from scratch (the shame!) – I always used Pavlova Magic:

According to Wikipedia, Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna pavlova Colloquially referred to as “pav”, it is a cake similar to meringue with a crispy crust and soft, light inner.  The dessert is believed to have been created to honour the dancer during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Where it was created and the nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but research indicates New Zealand as the source.

The “soft, light inner” part is the sticking point. Much like macarons, a pav is tricky to get just right.  You don’t want it to be a total marshmallow but you don’t want it to be a rock hard meringue.  Upon further inspection of the recipe, I saw it was more like a hard meringue and since I don’t like them, I took it upon myself to make an Australian pavlova – crispy on the outside, marshmallowey on the inside.

I had heard from Jamie at Life’s a Feast that Nigella does a good chocolate pav so this recipe comes from Nigella.com.  I chose to make individual portions as I had company coming and read up as to how long these should cook for. I had them in the oven for around 40 minutes and, as I had read to, left them there until completely cook. I reckon they could have done with just 30 minutes as, whilst they were a bit marshmallowey, they could have been even more so.  Next time I will try less time at heat.  I chose to serve it with fresh rasberrry and blueberry coulis atop a dollop of coeur à la crème. It was messy but delicious (the pav top is supposed to give way and crack when you eat it so it’s not necessarily going to be the prettiest dessert but it will be tasty!

The recipe below is for one large pavlova.



Nigella’s chocolate pavlovas


For the chocolate meringue:

6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
50g dark chocolate, finely chopped

Serving Size : Serves 8–10.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound on to a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23cm in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/gas mark 2 and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it’s ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disc cool completely.

Don’t you just LOVE how Nigella writes????


Coeur à la crème

Blend 1 8 ounce package cream cheese (at room temperature) with 1/2 cup cottage cheese (I used ricotta since that’s what I had) until creamy. Mix in 1/2 cup caster sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence.

Whip 1 1/2 cups cream until stiff, then mix into cream cheese mix. Blend until smooth.  You can either set these in heart shaped molds in damp cheesecloth and turn out onto a bed of raspberry coulis, or serve in ramekins. Or if you are my sister, you eat it straight from the big bowl!


I will definitely be trying these again in an attempt to get them right and proper like a good Aussie pav!


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69 Responses to Daring Bakers June – Pavlova

  1. Jamie June 27, 2010 at 05:30 #

    Ah, lovely and delicious and so summery light! I also changed my pavlova to a lighter one flavoring it with pistachios. I have 5 or 6 recipes open all over my kitchen table until I had concocted the perfect recipe. I loved them. But next time I am doing like you and making a more summery topping too. Your dessert is perfect!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 29, 2010 at 16:09 #

      Thanks Jamie – I found so much discrepancy with all the recipes it was kind of hard to know what to do…

  2. Emma @CakeMistress June 27, 2010 at 05:37 #

    Sterling effort on the Aussie Pav. Blueberries and raspberries would be such a refreshing change from the same old Kiwifruit & Passionfruit mess that goes on the local version 🙂 Great idea!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 29, 2010 at 16:09 #

      Funny – I wanted to to a traditional pav with kiwi and passionfruit but couldn’t find them 😉

  3. Audax Artifex June 27, 2010 at 06:32 #

    WOW that is one marvellous looking pav – I haven’t seen pavlova magic for years I never have made pav that way LOL LOL. I just love the look of the topping and the fruit. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  4. Suzie the Foodie June 27, 2010 at 06:56 #

    I am still amazed at that pavlova magic stuff, what the? Weird!

    Your homemade pavlova turned out great. I have been meaning to make that chocolate Nigella one forever. It’s in this month’s issue of TFN magazine. It’s been very humid here which can screw up egg whites so nicely done!

  5. bunkycooks June 27, 2010 at 07:09 #

    Your pavlova is just beautiful. That is the way that I have seen them before. Congrats on a great challenge!

  6. deeba June 27, 2010 at 08:44 #

    Oh they are gorgeous Mardi. I know what you mean when you say ‘ kind of usual’ to change a recipe. I’m like that a lot too, but this time was really short on time. Must try Nigella’s recipe one day… does look good!

  7. penny aka jeroxie June 27, 2010 at 08:49 #

    It has been ages since Ive made one too. Oh I change recipes all the time.

  8. Ken June 27, 2010 at 10:21 #

    Deliciously seductive. Love the ‘Anatomy of a Pavlova’. I think you should throw out the Pavlova Magic and make it from scratch from now on. You’ve got your own magic.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 29, 2010 at 16:07 #

      Thanks. I can’t actually get that here in Canada and haven’t used it since the early 1990s. Never fear, it will be from scratch from now on!

  9. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz June 27, 2010 at 10:58 #

    It looks like a lovely could I would eat up in no time. Great personal take on the challenge!

  10. RJ Flamingo June 27, 2010 at 11:01 #

    I love Pavlovas! In the earlier years of our marriage, we used to host a Christmas Day dinner party for MJ’s parents & friends who had nowhere to be for the holiday. Pavlova (with or without cocoa powder), loaded up with strawberries & kiwi slices was my FIL’s favorite, since he could eat as much as he wanted (fat-free & only 100 cals. a piece) and feel like he got a decadent holiday dessert. Love this version!

  11. Lori Lynn June 27, 2010 at 11:12 #

    Great choice! It’s a favorite around here.

    I think your topping sounds perfect – cream and fruit, I bet it tasted awesome!

  12. Laura June 27, 2010 at 12:09 #

    That pavlova in a plastic egg is fascinating.

    Nice job on the from scratch version!

  13. The Cilantropist June 27, 2010 at 12:34 #

    I am with you, I don’t enjoy pavlovas that are overly hard (more like a shell), and the australian ones are heavenly. I had my first one in Sydney and I fell in love! Yours looks delicious, and a perfect summer dessert. 🙂

  14. Brad June 27, 2010 at 12:58 #

    I wish I could take a bite right now…thanks for the interesting history about the recipe, she must have been quite the ballerina to have inspired such a tasty treat!

  15. Belinda @zomppa June 27, 2010 at 15:00 #

    I can see why they named it such – so graceful and daintly and robust!

  16. Pam M June 27, 2010 at 19:09 #

    I’m sitting here in a freezing Aussie winter and your Pavlova makes me long for the summer. And by the way, the Pavlova is definitely
    Australian!!! I have never made a pavlova, not even with the EGG.

  17. Baking Barrister June 27, 2010 at 20:02 #

    ohh pretty! i think i accidentally and happily came out with a more australian version of the pavs–they were light and fluffy and a little crispy. i don’t care for american pavs either.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 29, 2010 at 16:03 #

      No I was so disappointed to see the hard meringue imposters in the recipe. Glad I went my own way!

  18. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle June 27, 2010 at 20:17 #

    Ah…now this is a meringue dessert I could love. I love making desserts with meringue and unlike some other whipped egg white treats we know only too well…have success with them! Looks beautiful too…great picture.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 29, 2010 at 16:02 #

      Thanks Barb 🙂 These are not super easy but they are much easier than the other desserts with whipped egg whites of which you speak…

  19. Joy June 27, 2010 at 22:10 #

    I loved you recipe. I liked that it included balsamic vinegar. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Maranda June 27, 2010 at 22:10 #

    Yum! The raspberry and blueberry coulis must have taken this dessert over the edge. It looks delicious! Great job on this challenge

  21. Barbara Bakes June 27, 2010 at 23:13 #

    Messy and delicious sounds perfect to me!

  22. Meeta June 28, 2010 at 04:42 #

    a gorgeous summery pav! looks fantastic mardi!

  23. Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops) June 28, 2010 at 05:08 #

    Beautiful !!! Summer on a plate

  24. Juls @ Juls' Kitchen June 28, 2010 at 08:44 #

    Mardi it looks fantastic! And thank you again for explaining me the difference! Gorgeous result!

  25. Nachiketa June 28, 2010 at 10:53 #

    what a welcome to summers… looks lovely…..

  26. Chez Us June 28, 2010 at 11:54 #

    Oh, I love making Palovas. So light, airy and sexy! That was my fall back on dessert last summer. Bummed that I missed this challenge. I would try to make one in France but our apartment does not have an oven. Maybe I should buy a meringue and top with fruit – would that be cheating?

    I think you did a great job and it looks wonderfully delicious!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 29, 2010 at 16:00 #

      Meringue topped with fruit would be acceptable. Then again, you could just head out to any pâtisserie and get something amazing too!

  27. Sarah, Maison Cupcake June 28, 2010 at 15:22 #

    Heh! If there’s one lady who knooooows her meringues, it’s Jamie!!!

    I haven’t posted my DB yet as I did it in a hurry over the weekend but like you suspected, I have ended up with hard biscuit meringues instead of gooey ones, I’m just too much of a chicken to take them out the oven early!

    Your version looks totally luscious with all this fruit! Nigella is one of my heros although sometimes I find her cake recipes a bit inaccurate, it’s good to hear her pavlova is a reliable one and I will look at that next time.

    Funny you say about using Australian pavlova – it was on Neighbours in about 1987 when I first heard of this dessert when Kylie Minogue i.e. Charlene was making one!

  28. Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking June 29, 2010 at 05:42 #

    Adorable! Gorgeous. Mm. Pavlova was a long time ago..I should give it a try again soon!

  29. Sunita June 29, 2010 at 07:19 #

    Mardi, your pavlova looks so fresh and summmery 🙂

  30. Casey Angelova June 29, 2010 at 08:40 #

    Congratulations on the Top 9. My Aussie friend made me pavlovas a few times and they were heavenly clouds.

  31. Lynn June 29, 2010 at 18:31 #

    that looks heavenly! I’ve never made pavlova out of fear I’ll over cook it..

  32. Cristina June 30, 2010 at 00:09 #

    Congrats on a beautiful pavlova and DB challenge this month. It looks amazing and I bet it was delicious too!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 2, 2010 at 10:25 #

      Thanks – I would have liked it to be a little darker brown – should have used a bit of food colouring – but was pretty happy with how it turned out!

  33. Conor @ HoldtheBeef June 30, 2010 at 04:09 #

    I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that there was some evidence that the pav was first created in Perth. I guess we’ll never know the truth, but I refuse to give the credit to the Kiwis 😉

    Oh wow Pavlova Magic, I had forgotten about that stuff. Never used it but it always intrigued me. Let me know if you get a hankering, I can post you an ‘egg’, hehe

  34. Daydreamer Desserts July 1, 2010 at 16:27 #

    Great job with the Pav challenge! I didn’t know there was such a thing as “Pavlova Magic”. 🙂

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 2, 2010 at 08:57 #

      Oh yes, it’s the stuff of my childhood and when I lived in Belgium as an exchange student, my mum would send me packages of it to make for my host families to make sure it would work out!

  35. Magic of Spice July 1, 2010 at 20:45 #

    Excellent job! Looks amazing:)

  36. Megan Gordon July 2, 2010 at 03:30 #

    Pavlova Magic—who knew?! I actually had an incredible pavlova in, of all places, China. It was so light and incredible…vowed to make it upon returning home. And here I am catching up on your blog and voila…awesome! Thanks, Mardi.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 2, 2010 at 08:52 #

      Wow – how interesting that you had pavlova in China! You will love making this – you should definitely try it out!

  37. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction July 2, 2010 at 11:42 #

    I’m sorry to see that you chose not to pipe brown goo on top of hard brown piping. Really a disappointment 😉

  38. tangerine twiss August 29, 2010 at 18:09 #

    where in vancouver can I purchase Pavlova Magic?


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