Chocolate Cherry Pavlova
Preparation time 20 Minutes
Cooking time 1 Hour
1 Preheat the oven to Gas 2/150°C/130°C fan. Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle in the centre. To make the meringue, put the egg whites into a large, grease-free mixing bowl. Using an electric hand whisk on a low speed, start to whisk the egg whites and when foamy (after about 2 minutes), switch the whisk to medium. Continue to whisk for 1 minute, then turn to high and whisk until stiff peaks form and the mixture is light and fluffy.
2 Still on a high speed, whisk in the cornflour and then the sugar, a dessertspoon at a time, until the mixture looks stiff and glossy. (Adding the sugar slowly prevents the meringue weeping when cooked.) Lightly fold in the sifted cocoa powder using a metal spoon to make a swirly pattern – it shouldn’t be mixed in too thoroughly.
3 Spoon the mixture onto the circle marked out on the baking paper then, using the back of the spoon, make a crater in the centre, so that the sides are higher than the middle. Put in the oven, immediately turn the heat down to Gas 1/140°C/120°C fan, and bake for 1 hour until the outside of the meringue is crisp and the centre is slightly soft. Turn off the heat and leave the meringue in the oven until cold.
4 To make the topping, put the cherries in a small saucepan with the vanilla, cinnamon, caster sugar and a splash of water. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes until the cherries are tender and juicy. Leave to cool.
5 To assemble the pavlova, place the meringue on a serving stand or plate. Mix together the crème fraîche and yogurt and spoon on top of the meringue, followed by the cherries and a little of the sauce; serve any surplus cherries and sauce in a bowl by the side. Grate the chocolate over just before serving.