My aunt makes the BEST dark chocolate pavlova. She tops it with raspberries and sometimes sprinkles it with powdered sugar or coconut flakes. My first experience of it was something out of this world. The flaky, crispy outside crumbled at the touch of my lips and the chocolatey center melted at the tip of my tongue--making my heart drop into my stomach. I only wish to bake one as amazing as hers (one day;)!
With my habit of researching and tweaking recipes, I'm not sure if pavlova was something I should have messed around with. I guess with a dessert so delicate as a cake named after a ballerina, I should have been more careful. It left me in the kitchen for a couple of hours simmering from the frustration of the chaos. Regardless of my poor efforts, what I produced was not all that bad. I'll definitely give it another chance--and actually mean it next time.
This pavlova is heavy with the flavor of vanilla. I gathered the fresh vanilla bean from the co-op and extracted its pulp. This was my first time utilizing the potent fruit and it won't be my last! The whipped cream was not too sweet--a nice balance to have against the pavlova, which tasted like a toasty, roasted marshmallow. The white chocolate chunks in the pavlova failed to have melted all the way --which is fine if you're into crunchy chunks of chocolate in between bites. It was more like a chocolate chip pavlova. Finally, the spiced persimmon and blackberry made everything come together. Spiced persimmon definitely did the trick.
6 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp fresh vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS powdered sugar
1 fuyu persimmon, sliced
1 cup fresh black berries
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 350*. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Some people prefer to trace circles onto their parchment paper to use as a guide for where to place the meringue. I did not do it this way, but if you choose to, draw about 6 circles with 3-inch diameters on each parchment sheet and make sure that the sheet is flipped over so that the pencil marks are faced down and not able to touch the meringue.
In a mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until satiny peaks form. Lower the beater to medium-low and beat in one tablespoon of sugar at a time until well combined. At low speed, add vanilla extract, vanilla bean, and vinegar until combined. Fold in white chocolate.
Scoop the meringues into the circles--working from the center, spread the mixture outwards towards the edge, building edge slightly. The small depression in the center creates a space for the whipped topping to sit. Place them in the oven and lower the temperature to 300*. Cook for 45-50 minutes. You will be able to tell when it is done when the outside is crispy and the inside is not longer soupy. DO NOT take it out of the oven when it is done. Turn the oven off and crack the oven door but leave the cake in there for at least another hour to cool.
In a small bowl, mix a pinch of sugar and several dashes of cinnamon with the sliced persimmons. In a separate bowl, do the same thing for to the blackberries. Set them both in the fridge to cool.
Add cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to the mixer bowl. Whip cream on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped topping onto the pavlova immediately before serving and top with the chilled, spiced fruit.