Chocolate Pavlova with Summer Berries and Smoked Cocoa Nibs
Serves 8-10 for dessert
For the meringue layer:
6 large egg whites
1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/3 cup (50 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons Bourbon Smoked Cocoa Nibs
For the whipped cream layer:
2 cups heavy cream, cold
2 teaspoons Bourbon Barrel Aged Madagascar Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon Bourbon Smoked Sugar
2 pints summer berries (blackberries, raspberries or your choice)
2 teaspoons Bourbon Smoked Cocoa Nibs
1 bar of dark chocolate, chilled, for shaving
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a ruler and pencil, lightly draw a 9 inch circle onto the parchment paper. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites and whip until foamy and peaks just start to hold. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time and whip until stiff, shiny peaks form. Sprinkle in the cocoa powder, vinegar, chopped chocolate and cocoa nibs and gently fold in with a rubber spatula until incorporated.
2) Mound meringue onto the parchment paper in a large circle, using the circle you drew as a guide. Smooth the tops and the sides with the rubber spatula. Place into the center rack of the oven and turn the temperature down to 300 degrees. Bake for about 1 hour or until meringue looks dry on top. The center should still feel soft when poked. Do not be alarmed if there are large cracks in it. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly open and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven.
3) Right before assembly, whip the cream with the vanilla and the smoked sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside in the refrigerator until needed. Using two large spatulas, remove the cooled meringue from the baking sheet and place onto a serving platter. Mound the whipped cream on top of the meringue and top with all of the berries. Scatter the cocoa nibs on top. Make chocolate shavings with the chocolate bar and a sharp knife, vegetable peeler or course grater. Garnish the top of the pavlova with chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.
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