birthday pavlova


i had meringue recently, made by my friend toby, which sent me into raptures. it was golden, chewy and full of flavour. sadly we managed to demolish everything that he presented us with so there was no doggie bag full of (meringuey) leftovers to take home. not that anything it contained would have lasted long.

it was my birthday last friday and pavlova was my obvious choice of celebration. this is also my choice for meeta’s big birthday bang, not least as she and i celebrate our birthdays on consecutive days. happy birthday meeta!

this pavlova was a bit special. the chocolate meringue was flavoured using rococo jasmine chocolate, which was gift from toby’s wife julia. i also used valsamica instead of normal vinegar. both the jasmine and vanilla flavours added depth and complexity to the chocolateyness.

the fruit on top could be anything – choose what’s in season. or, if it’s your birthday, choose whatever your favourite fruit is. and then serve yourself an ample portion...


jasmine chocolate pavlova with berries (serves 8-10)

for the meringue:

6 egg whites

300g caster sugar

1 tablespoon valsamica (or balsamic vinegar)

3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved

50g jasmine chocolate, finely chopped

for the topping:

500ml double cream, whipped until thick

500g mixed berries – i used blueberries, raspberries and blackberries

preheat the oven to 180c. line a baking tray with parchment.

beat the egg whites, in a food processor until peaks form. beat in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time until the mix is stiff and shiny. place the mixture in a large bowl and fold in the valsamica, cocoa powder and chocolate.

pile the mix onto the baking tray, making a circle in shape, smoothing it as you go. place in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 150c. cook for 65-75 minutes, until it looks crispy and dry but is squidgy in the middle in prodded. turn off the oven, leave the door open and leave to cool completely.

put the meringue on a serving plate. place the whipped cream over the top of it, smooth and scatter with the berries. serve.