Black Forest Pavlova


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Heston Blumenthal did his best to bring back the Black Forest Gateau with his poshed up version at The Fat Duck in recent years, but I thought I’d attempt my own, more modest, revival of this classic.

It’s hard to beat a Pavlova in the summer months. They’re a cinch to make, gloriously moreish to eat and naturally wheat-free; which means all the gluten dodgers in your life and mine needn’t miss out. This can also be made well ahead of time, so there won’t be any last minute pudding panics and you don’t need to bung it in the fridge until after you’ve smothered it in cream - which is extremely useful when your fridge is as micro-sized as mine.

The only relatively laborious process to this recipe is stoning the cherries. You’ll have to have a very dishy dentist to risk skipping this stage for, but I rather like the mindless repetition of sitting down with a large bowl of cherries, catching up on taped telly, and getting to work using my new fancy gadget. Be warned, you will end up looking like your hands have been marinating in Ribena for the last fortnight, but what are a few stains between friends? You can always pop on some latex gloves if you’re precious about your pinkies. Besides, cherries aren’t in season for much longer and I, for one, will miss them when they’re gone.

I will be dishing up this decadent dessert over the weekend and I can promise you won’t regret it if you follow suit. This Black Forest Pavlova makes a stunning centrepiece to any celebration, no matter the occasion, or the decade.




  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 225g of caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 50g of dark chocolate, grated (you can simply blitz it in the food processor if you’re feeling lazy)
  • 300ml of double cream, or whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp of kirsch, optional
  • 450g of cherries, stoned (you can macerate them in more kirsch with a tablespoon of sugar if you like)
  • 25g of dark chocolate, grated
Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas Mark 2 and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment
Whisk the egg whites and salt together until stiff, then gradually add the sugar, whisking well between each addition. You should have a thick, glossy meringue. Whisk in the cocoa and vinegar and fold the chopped chocolate in with a large metal spoon
Dollop the meringue into a round on the lined baking sheet, making it slightly higher on the outer edges. Pop it in the oven to bake for 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until the meringue is crisp on the outside but marshmallowy on the inside. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool completely inside, with the oven door shut. It’s easiest to make it in the evening and leave it to cool overnight
Once you are ready to serve, Whip the cream until stiff but not dry and add the kirsch and whisk in again. Pile the cream on top of the meringue and spread it out a little. Scatter over the stoned cherries and top with the grated chocolate
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