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Karen Martini's pavlovas with chocolate cream and balsamic cherries - Tue, 18th Nov 2008
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Pavlovas with chocolate cream and balsamic cherries
By Karen Martini, found in the Sunday Life suplement of The Age newspaper a few weeks ago.

A few things worth mentioning on this one. First of all, when a recipe says room temperature egg whites and caster sugar, you sure as hell better be using room temperature egg whites and caster sugar. The idea is that once the eggs froth up you have to get the sugar to disolve as quickly as possible, so use fine grain caster sugar and add it a little at a time. The first time I made this dish I didn't follow that advice and using an electric hand whisk I simply could not get the meringue mix to form the peaks required and so the base turned from being an impressive looking tower into flat, sad looking mirangue cookies. The second (and sucessful) time around I used caster sugar and room temperature egg whites, and had a kenwood mixer at my disposal. It came off without a hitch.

4 room temperature egg whites
pinch of salt
370g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
2tsp white vinegar
125g good quality dark chocolate buttons
30 unsalted butter
250mL cream (35% fat)
650g cherries, pitted
80mL aged balsamic vinegar
2 drops of bitter almond essence


Preheat overn to 150C fan forced (170C conventional).
Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl until frothy. Gradually add 250g sugar, whisking continuously until firm glossy peaks form. Fold in vanilla essence and white vinegar, then cornflour.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Spoon mixture into high cylinders around 6cm in diameter. Flatten top and smooth sides. Bake for 1 hour or until a firm crust forms. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Melt chocolate and butter in a large bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Whip cream in a separate bowl to form firm peaks, then fold in cooled chocolate mixture and refrigerate.

Place cherries, remaining sugar (120g) and balsamic vinegar in a large pot over high heat and cook for about 4 minutes or until sugar disolves. Remove cherries from pot and place in a bowl. Increase heat and reduce syrup by half. Pour syrup over cherries, add almond essence and chill until ready to use.

To serve, pile chocolate cream onto pavlovas, top with cherries and drizzle over syrup.

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