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Strawberry Pavlova with Chocolate

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© 2011 Helana Brigman
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(Although it’s not spring (not by a long shot!), I wanted to share with Clearly Delicious readers a sampling of recipes from a larger project I’m working on.  Today, I bring you Strawberry Pavlova with Chocolate in all of its excellence!)

- Helana

Every spring, The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival proudly displays local crops of the most beautiful red fruits our state has to offer.  After a long winter, strawberry crops represent a welcome, long-awaited friend, suggesting both the oncoming of summer and the fruit dishes local chefs will be imagining for the next few months.There is a certain taken-for-grantedness of Pavlova.  It looks so elegant, so fancy, so very bistro-like that many chefs avoid such fancy desserts if only for fear of ruining the dish in all of its grandeur.  But the best part about Pavlova is it’s relatively easy to make—a bed of egg white meringue topped with whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and dark chocolate demand little time in preparation (although you will have to wait a couple of hours while your meringue sets in the oven).  But the result is worth all of the confectionary grandeur.

I was inspired to recreate this Strawberry Pavlova with Chocolate after having lunch with my friend Melanie in downtown Baton Rouge.  A local business named “Strand’s” offers small menus with major culinary punch.  Strand’s is a family business, and two of the restaurant’s chefs—Blanchard and Mon—studied at the patisserie res from Le Cordon Bleu Sydney, Australia.  If you’re looking for a proper English tea, or yes, even this Strawberry Pavlova, Strand’s is a must for the hungry seasonal chef.

Strawberry Pavlova with Chocolate

Spring is also a great time for locally laid organic eggs.  For the spring cook, try meringue made from this fantastic resource.  If using organic, expect for an even tastier meringue.

Ingredients:

* 4 organic large egg whites

* pinch of salt

* 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

* 3/4 cup sugar

* 1 tablespoon cornstarch (can use cream of tartar)

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I prefer a combination of half vanilla, half almond)

* 1 – 2 cups fresh Louisiana strawberries, stemmed & sliced thin

* 3 ounces dark chocolate

* 2 tablespoons heavy cream

* whipped cream

1.) Preheat oven to 350F.  Place egg whites, salt, and vinegar in a standing mixer and beat on high until soft peaks form.  In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar with the cornstarch and add to egg whites mixture in three separate installments, beating after each addition to integrate fully.  Slowly add vanilla and almond extract and beat on high until stiff peaks form.

2.) Line baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent meringue from sticking and spoon into 8 big mounds with 1 inch between spoonfuls.  Bake for 10 minutes, lower heat to 200F, and bake for one hour.  Turn off oven and prop open slightly allowing meringues to cool in the oven for another hour.

3.) Right before serving, melt 3 ounces dark chocolate with 2 tablespoons heavy cream.  Plate meringue and dress with whipped cream, melted chocolate, and sliced strawberries.

Enjoy! Makes 8 servings.
Pavlova

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Strawberry Pavlova with Chocolate, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
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