This chestnut pavlova recipe is fabulously festive: an exuberant, rich, and luxurious treat for the holidays. The meringue base is crisp on the outside with a soft marshmallowy interior,topped with sweetened chestnut puree (sometimes labeled "chestnut spread;" seek out Clement Faugier brand) followed by swaths of softly whipped cream and splinters of bitter chocolate. This chestnut pavlova is, despite appearances, a relatively easy affair. The only complicated part is the meringue base, and, provided you stash it in a completely airtight container, it can be made 2 days in advance. Handle the baked meringue carefully,as it is quite fragile.

December 2021 / January 2022

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Credit: Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Recipe Summary test

active:
35 mins
total:
3 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
10
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Ingredients

Pavlova
Topping

Directions

Make the pavlova:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; draw an 8-inch circle on center of paper. Flip paper over; set aside.

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  • If desired, rub the inside of a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer with cut side of lemon half to ensure that the bowl is grease-free. Add egg whites and a pinch of salt to bowl. Beat with an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until mixture forms firm but not stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition (about 30 seconds per addition) until mixture is stiff and glossy, about 10 minutes. Be patient: The trick to making a pavlova base is to whisk fast and add the sugar slowly.

  • Add cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla to egg white mixture. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold and incorporate the ingredients.

  • Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet, and form a mound in center of hand-drawn circle. Using an offset spatula, shape meringue into an 8-inch round, about 1 1/2 inches tall, with a flat top and straight sides, using the circle as your guide.

  • Place baking sheet in preheated oven,and immediately reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake until pavlova is puffed, beginning to crack on top, and feels crisp when gently tapped, about 1 hour. Transfer pavlova on baking sheet to a wire rack, and let cool completely, at least 2 hours or upto 6 hours. (Pavlova will deflate and crack as it cools.)

  • Just before serving, carefully invert pavlova base onto a platter so that cracked side is now on the bottom. Peel off and discard parchment paper.

Make the topping:
  • Stir together chestnut spread and salt in a medium bowl until smooth and spreadable, about 1 minute. Gently spread mixture over top of pavlova base, spreading all the way to edges, forming a thicker border that will be visible after topping with whipped cream.

  • Beat cream with electric mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Gently spread whipped cream on chestnut mixture, leaving a thin border (1/4 to 1/2 inch) of chestnut mixture visible. Using a large Microplane shaver, shave some chocolate into long splinters over whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Make ahead

The cooked pavlova base can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

Note

Find Clement Faugier chestnut spread at yummybazaar.com.

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