Black Forest Pavlova combines soft billowy meringue, topped with chocolate swirled cream, juicy fresh cherries and a sweet cherry sauce. This delectable dessert will become a firm favourite on your dessert table.
Pavlova has always been a popular dessert in our house. Having lived for 15 years in Sydney, Australia I soon cottoned on that Pavlova is a national treasure!
On par with Lamingtons, you’ll find a pavlova at any and every celebratory occasion in Australia. It’s as Australian as backyard cricket, sausages on the barbie, and thongs at the beach. Could you get more stereo typically Aussie?!! And trust me, I’m not complaining.
Read on to find out how to combine the classic pavlova with the primary flavours of Black Forest Gateaux. I’ll also give you some great tips on how to nail your meringue!
What is Black Forest Pavlova?
Meringue is one of my favourite desserts to eat. That thin crispy outer shell with light airy and at best, chewy centre ... seriously, so good! I’m always looking at combining new flavours within a dessert.
Black Forest Gateaux , as shown here by top chef Eric Lanard is layered cake that combines the ingredients of bitter chocolate, rich cream, sour cherries and boozy kirsch.
Its named Black Forest Gateaus, not because of the Black Forest region in Germany but because of the Kirsh from the region that’s distilled from tart cherries.
So me being me wanted to combine the main ingredients of the gateaux with a traditional aussie pavlova. Hence the Black Forest Pavlova was born!!
By adding dark chocolate to the cream and creating cherry syrup to top the fresh cherries you can get that chocolate / cherry flavour pairing that tastes divine.
I haven’t included the kirsch into my recipe as I knew that little kids would be eating this, but a couple of tablespoons added to the cherry syrup will add to the authentic taste
Tips on succeeding with your pavlova
Over the years I’ve had some hits and many more misses with meringue where it goes in the oven looking billowy, light and spectacular and two hours later it's spread and hasn’t maintained its shape. But if this is the case as long as it tastes good then crumbling it into individual glasses and topping with cream and fruit - gets you out of trouble every time!!! (A take on eton mess if you think about it!).
After many attempts I finally have a recipe that works for me and as long as you follow my main tips then you'll come out with a beautiful looking pavlova too.
The main tips that I can give you are:
- Ensure your bowl is clean and dry before whipping your egg whites. Any residual moisture or grease will prevent your egg whites from whipping.
- When mixing your egg whites and sugar, start the mixer on low and whip the meringue for three minutes before turning up the mixer to medium speed.
- Ensure all the caster sugar has been incorporated and the egg mixture and has no grit when rubbing some between your fingers.
- Turn your oven down to recommended temp the minute the meringue goes in the oven. Low and slow is key to keeping the meringue pure white and crisp.
- Don’t, whatever you do, open the oven door as any moisture in the air can soften the meringues crisp shell.
- Leave the meringue in the oven until it has completely cooled (minimum 2 hours cooling time, but better to leave it for 4 hours)
If you fancy making another great pavlova then try out my fresh fig and roasted plum Fruit Pavlova, found here. You’ll also find out how this beautiful dessert came about.
Black Forest Pavlova
- 6 large eggs whites
- 440 g caster sugar (superfine)
- 1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar
- 225 g fresh cherries, pitted and halved (or frozen)
- 60 g caster sugar (superfine)
- 60 ml water
- 2 tbsp Kirsch liquor, optional
- 300 ml double cream (heavy cream)
- 120 g dark chocolate 70%
- 225 g fresh cherries
- chocolate shavings, optional
- Heat your oven to 140°C (284°F). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and trace a circle 20cm (8-inches) in diameter. (This circle should be smaller than the plate or cake stand that you are serving your pavlova on.) Turn the parchment paper over so that the pen/pencil line is underneath.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip your egg whites until soft peaks form (about 3 mins).
- Whilst whisking, add the caster sugar one spoonful at a time. (In between each spoon, whisk for 15 seconds before adding the next spoonful). Once all the sugar is added, continue whisking for 6 more minutes.
- Then add the lemon juice or white vinegar and whisk for another 4 minutes. By now, the egg white mixture should be thick and glossy, and the sugar should be fully incorporated. If you rub a bit of mixture between your thumb and finger, there should be no grit as the sugar has fully blended if there is, then continuing whipping for a couple more minutes.
- Scoop the meringue mixture onto your lined baking tray into the circle that you have drawn. Then spread out the meringue with a back of a spoon or spatular to create a large meringue nest with soft peaks rising all around.
- Place the baking tray in the centre of the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 110°C (230°F) and bake for 2 ½ hours. Then turn the oven off and leave it in the oven for a minimum of 2 hours (preferably overnight), to cool completely.
- For the cherry syrup, place sugar and water into a small saucepan and place on a medium to high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and add halved cherries (and kirsch if including), bring back to the boil, then reduce to low heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until cherries are tender. With a fork, mash the cherries into the sugar water until fully squished (!). Then, over a medium bowl, sieve the cherry syrup, save the syrup, and discard the pulp. Set syrup aside.
- Melt dark chocolate in a small bowl, in a microwave in 20-second increments, stirring between each burst, until fully melted. Whip the cream in a medium-size bowl until light and fluffy. Pour the chocolate into the cream slowly and fold into the cream, giving the chocolate a rippled effect.
- To decorate the pavlova, spoon the chocolate cream onto the meringue, drizzle the cherry syrup over the cream and top with the fresh cherries. Now sprinkle with shaved chocolate, cut a slice and enjoy!
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.