Chestnut Pavlova

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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.

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 35 mins
Servings:
10

Ingredients

Pavlova

  • ½ lemon (optional)

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature

  • Pinch of fine sea salt

  • 1 cup superfine sugar

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1 (8 3/4-ounce) can sweetened chestnut spread (such as Clement Faugier)

  • teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream

  • 1 small bar bittersweet (70% cacao) chocolate, for shaving

Directions

Make the pavlova:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.)

  6. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    Chestnut Pavlova
    Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

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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