Chocolate Pavlova with Amaretto Cherry Compote & Cocoa Nibs

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Recipe type: Dessert

For the chocolate pavlova:

  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted

For the amaretto cherry compote:

  • 16 oz. (1 bag) frozen cherries, pitted and halved
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup amaretto liqueur
  • Juice of ½ lemon

For assembly:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Cocoa nibs, for garnish
  • Fresh cherries, for garnish

For the pavlova:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and trace an 8-inch circle in the middle. Flip the parchment over; you should still be able to see the outline.
  2. In a heatproof bowl (I prefer metal) whisk together the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 5-7 minutes, or until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks.
  4. Sift the cocoa powder over the meringue and gently fold it in using a spatula. Be careful not to deflate the meringue; it’s okay of a few streaks remain.
  5. Spoon half of the meringue onto the parchment circle, spreading to meet the edges but not going over as it will spread in the oven. Top with the second half of the meringue (don’t be afraid of height), and create a well in the middle to hold the filling.
  6. Place in the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 300F and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the meringue is dry and firm to the touch. When it reaches this point, turn off the oven, crack the door a bit and let the pavlova cool completely in the oven. This will help it continue to dry out.

For the amaretto cherry compote:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. The cherries will begin to release their juices. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the juices have reduced down and become syrupy.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.

To assemble:

  1. Combine the cream and confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat until fluffy.
  2. Spoon the whipped cream into the well of the pavlova. Top with cooled cherry compote and garnish with fresh cherries and cocoa nibs. Serve immediately with some Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Anderson Valley Pinot Noir.