Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mini Cocoa Pavlova

In my attempts to make sweets from Southeast Asia and Oceania, I would be remiss to overlook Australia! Pavlova is a standard Australian and New Zealand dessert, one I've made several times. There was the time I went searching for a cloud-themed dessert and made a pavlova topped with passion fruit, whipped cream, and fresh fruit. Then there was the time that I had to make the cover recipe from the amazing Wintersweet cookbook - the Cocoa Pomegranate Pavlova. Pavlova isn't new, but I had egg whites to use and an Australian book on the horizon - something by Richard Flanagan, most recently awarded the Man Booker Prize.

This recipe is a mashup of the cocoa pomegranate pavlova, Nigella Lawson's mini pavlovas, and an attempt to use a sugar replacement to make this lower in sugar and carbs.  It was very tasty but the texture wasn't quite right. Perhaps I could have baked them longer or left them out to dry a bit overnight. Sugar really is integral in establishing the structure of a pavlova; I should be applauded for not including it.  Ha.

<b>Lower Sugar Cocoa Mini Pavlova</b>

6 egg whites, room temperature
pinch salt
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup Brown Sugar Splenda
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Sugar free whipped cream
Fresh fruit, raspberries ideal
  1. Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt until they start to hold a bit of shape.
  3. Mix the splenda and corn start together. You can even whiz it in a grinder to make it finer, but I just mashed it until it was powdery. Add the mixture 1 tbsp at a time to the egg whites, letting it incorporate.
  4. Beat whites until stiff peaks form. In the last minute, add Balsamic vinegar and vanilla.
  5. Take off beater. Sift cocoa powder over surface and gently fold in.
  6. Spoon circles, 8-10, onto cookie sheet. Make well with back of spoon.
  7. Bake 60-75 minutes, until outer shell has a bit of a crunch. Turn off oven and leave an additional hour.
  8. Remove and let cool completely.
  9. If you put in an air tight container, they may soften. This is not what you want!
  10.  Serve with whipped cream and berries. If you're feeling extra special, melt down some sugar free dark chocolate and coat the bottom of each pavlova first - outside or inside.

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