Pavlova and fresh cherries are synonymous with an Australian Christmas. In this black forest pavlova recipe, the two flavours combine.
A more-ish cherry syrup oozes its way down soft meringue peaks, melding with the rich flavours of dark chocolate and whipped cream to form the most decadent festive dessert. It’s an elegant alternative to a summer berry pavlova or passionfruit pavlova that everyone will love.
Preheat oven to 120°C. Using a pencil, trace a 22cm circle on 2 separate pieces of baking paper. Grease 2 oven trays. Place baking paper on prepared trays, drawing-side down.
Put eggwhites in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat until foaming. With motor running, gradually add 2 cups of the caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuously beating until soft, glossy peaks form. This will take about 15-18 minutes. Sift ½ of the cocoa into meringue mixture, add chocolate and stir gently to combine. Sift over most of remaining cocoa, then swirl through to create a marbled effect.
Using a large metal spoon, divide meringue mixture evenly between prepared trays. Sift over remaining cocoa, then spread meringue to edges of circles. Bake for 1½ hours or until crisp. Turn oven off and allow meringues to cool in oven with door slightly ajar, preferably overnight.
Put cherries in a small saucepan with cornflour, cherry brandy, water and remaining sugar. Stir over a medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until cherries become soft and mixture thickens. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely. (This can be done a day ahead. Store in a covered bowl at room temperature until needed.)
To assemble, place 1 meringue disc on a cake stand and spoon over ⅔ of the whipped cream, keeping within 1cm from the edge to allow for spreading. Spoon ½ of the cherry mixture over cream. Top with second meringue, then spread with remaining whipped cream. Spoon over a little of the cherry mixture. Arrange chocolate curls on top. Sprinkle with nut bar pieces, if using. Serve with remaining cherry syrup.