Friday 25 November 2016

Chocolate Cheesecake Pavlova.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Basically my new favourite dessert.

I know, I know, I say that to practically everything. But this one is serious. If I didn't have a mile long to-do list, I would go down to the kitchen right now and get it into the oven, ready for the weekend.
Because that's just what this chocolate cheesecake pavlova is. A weekend dessert. A showstopper. The kind of dessert that when you bring it out after dinner, everyone oohs and grabs their phone to take a snapchat.

I've made many pavlovas on the blog before but never really done a chocolate one. Pretty surprising considering my love for all things chocolate. I finally got the chance to whip one of these up a few weekends ago and it was just the perfect gluten-free dessert after a lunch which consisted of roast chicken, mash and purple veg.

We start by baking a chocolate meringue. The chopped dark chocolate makes all the difference here. The little nuggets don't fully melt and will have the same texture in your marshmallowy meringue as those in chocolate chunk cookies. Never a bad thing. We'll let the meringue cool fully (making it the perfect make-ahead pudding) before bringing it to life with a cheesecake topping. I was going to go with simple vanilla whipped cream but at the last minute, decided to pay ode to one of my earliest dessert blog recipes and whisked in some mascarpone. Not a single person complained. 

Pavlova, previously: rippled pavlova with lemon curd whipped cream + berries // cappuccino pavlova // strawberry pavlova

A Simple List of Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Meringue:
1. Egg Whites
2. Caster Sugar
3. Salt
4. Balsamic Vinegar
5. Cocoa Powder
6. Dark Chocolate

For the Cheesecake Topping:
1. Mascarpone Cheese or Cream Cheese
2. Double Cream
3. Icing Sugar
4. Vanilla Essence
5. Blueberries
6. Raspberries
7. Blackberries
8. Dark Chocolate

Bismillah, let's begin!

This meringue will take a few hours to cool so make sure you plan ahead when you make it. I made it on a Friday night, let it cool completely overnight and then topped it to serve at Saturday lunch. First, let's pre-heat the oven and prepare a baking tray. Put the oven on to 180C.

Take a round pizza tray measuring at least 12 inches. For years, I have baked my pavlovas on a rectangle tray and only recently realised that a round pizza tray made more sense. You learn something new everyday!

Place a piece of baking paper over the tray.

Grab a 9 inch cake tin and place on to the paper.

Grab a marker and draw around the tin.

And, you've got yourself a 9 inch circle! We use a bigger tray measuring 12 inches because the meringue will expand as it bakes.

Flip the paper over so that the pen mark is underneath and fit to your tray. Set aside until needed.

Next, it's time to separate 6 large Eggs into whites and yolks. If you're not sure how to do this, google it!

We'll only be using the egg whites for this recipe. With the egg yolks, you could make my vanilla bean semifreddo.

I used a stand mixer for this recipe. To make sure the bowl was extra clean, I wiped it out with some vinegar. Meringues hate grease so the vinegar will ensure that no grease remains. Place the egg whites into the bowl. 

Fit the machine with the whisk attachment. I wiped this with vinegar so that it was super clean. You could also use an electric whisk.

It's time to whisk! Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

They will be all foamy at first.

But keep the machine going on a medium speed ...

... until you have soft peaks! You can't really over-beat a meringue so don't be afraid to keep going!

Once you have soft peaks, it's time to add in 300g Caster Sugar.

Keep the machine on a medium speed and the sugar in, a tablespoon at a time.

Once the sugar is all in, keep whisking ...

... until your meringue is glossy and really stiff.

Next, it's time to make this a chocolate meringue! We'll start with 1/2 teaspoon Salt.

Next, balsamic vinegar. The vinegar will help to strengthen our meringue.

Drizzle in 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar.

Grab the cocoa powder!

Measure out 25g Cocoa Powder and sift it over the meringue.

Make sure you sift the cocoa powder because it's always lumpy!

Next, my favourite bit of the meringue --> 55g Dark Chocolate, finely chopped. 

Throw in the chopped chocolate.

Then, grab a spatula.

And gently, fold in the dry ingredients.

Fold them in until just combined. Don't be too violent with the mixture - we don't want to lose all the air in the egg whites!

Scrape the meringue out on the prepared baking tray. Tip - to keep my baking paper from slipping everywhere, I dabbed on a little bit of the meringue mixture underneath.

Do you see those white spots under the paper? That's some of the meringue mixture!

Smooth the meringue out, using the circle on your baking paper as a guide. It doesn't have to be perfect!

Place the meringue into the oven.

And, immediately turn the temperature down to 160C.

Bake the chocolate meringue for 50-60 minutes or until it's crisp, cracked and squidgy in the middle.

The meringue needs to cool completely before it can be topped. I cooled mine at room temperature overnight.

When the meringue is cool, make the cheesecake topping, starting with mascarpone cheese. You can also use cream cheese.

Into a bowl, place 250g Mascarpone Cheese, at room temperature.

I used a stand mixer with a whisk attachment but an electric hand mixer will do too.

Whisk the cheese for a minute just to break it up.

Then, pour in 300ml Double Cream.

Whisk just to combine.

To sweeten things up, sift in 5 tablespoons Icing Sugar.

And, pour in 2 teaspoons Vanilla Essence.

Then, whisk together until you get soft peaks. I prefer soft but you may whisk to stiff peaks too.

Taste and add more icing sugar, if you prefer.

Let's finish off our pavlova! I served mine straight from its baking tray.

Dollop on the cheesecake topping.

Spread it out but not completely covering the meringue. I love to still be able to see those cracked edges.

Next, scatter over a handful of Blueberries.

Followed by a handful of Raspberries.

Finally, a handful of Blackberries.

You can use any fresh fruit you like! Strawberries would be really good here.

Finally, sprinkle on Dark Chocolate Shavings. I used a potato peeler to shave a bar of dark chocolate.

Isn't it the prettiest? I think the shaved chocolate makes all the difference.

Slice and serve! This pavlova is honestly my new favourite dessert. Enjoy because I promise you it won't last long!

Full Written Recipe:

Chocolate Cheesecake Pavlova.

Prep Time: About 30 minutes + few hours, for cooling.
Bake Time: About 50-60 minutes.
Serves: About 8 people.

For the Chocolate Meringue
6 large Egg Whites
300g Caster Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
25g Cocoa Powder, sifted
55g Dark Chocolate, finely chopped

For the Cheesecake Topping
250g Mascarpone Cheese OR Cream Cheese, at room temperature
300ml Double Cream
5 tablespoons Icing Sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons Vanilla Essence

To Finish
Handful of Blueberries
Handful of Raspberries
Handful of Blackberries
Dark Chocolate, shaved

To bake the Chocolate Meringue:

Pre-heat the oven and prepare a baking tray. Put the oven on to 180C. Take a round pizza tray measuring at least 12 inches. Draw a 9 inch circle on to a piece of baking paper - I traced round a 9 inch cake tin. Turn the paper over and fit in to the pizza tray.

Separate the eggs. Take 6 large eggs and separate them in yolks and whites. Make sure that no yolk gets into the whites. Place the whites into a large mixing bowl. I used a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment for this recipe but an electric hand mixer will do too.

Time to whisk! Whisk the whites over a medium speed until they form soft peaks. Keeping the speed on medium, add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the whites are glossy and super stiff. Do not be afraid to keep whisking even after all the sugar is in - getting the whites super stiff is really important for a good meringue so keep going if they're not quite there.

Let's make this a chocolate meringue. To the whites, add in the salt, balsamic vinegar and sifted cocoa powder. Gently fold in using a spatula until just combined.

Bake the meringue. Scrape the meringue out onto the baking tray. Smooth it out, using the circle on the baking paper as your guide. Once you have rough circle on your hands, put the tray into the oven. Close the door and turn the temperature down to 160C. Bake the meringue for 50-60 minutes or until cracked and crisp with a squidgy middle.

Cool! Cool the meringue completely before topping. You can do this by turning the oven off, opening the door and leaving the meringue inside. Or you can also let it cool completely at room temperature.

To make the Cheesecake Topping:

So easy! Place the mascarpone into a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer for a minute - this is just to break it up slightly. Pour in the double cream and whisk in just to combine the two. Then, add in the sifted icing sugar and vanilla. Whisk until the mixture forms soft peaks. I prefer the cheesecake topping on the soft peak side but you may take it to stiff peaks, if you prefer. Taste and add more icing sugar, if needed.

To assemble the Chocolate Cheesecake Pavlova:

Time for the berries! I like to serve mine straight from the baking tray because it makes life so much easier. Simply scoop the cheesecake topping on to the cold meringue and spread out, leaving the cracked edges exposed. Scatter over the blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Sprinkle over the shaved dark chocolate - I shaved mine with a potato peeler.

To eat and store the Chocolate Cheesecake Pavlova:

Dig in! The pavlova does keep well in the fridge for an hour or two before serving. I like to take it out half an hour before serving because I think it tastes much better at room temperature. Slice the pavlova and enjoy! Any leftovers also keep well in the fridge for a day or two.

{chocolate meringue adapted from smitten kitchen}

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Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your pavlova!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast
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