This chocolate pavlova has a crisp and chewy chocolate meringue filled with rich pockets of dark chocolate, served with a silky whipped coconut cream, more chocolate and vibrant fresh raspberries. The perfect extra special and decadent twist on this summer classic.
This divine spin on a classic Australian dessert is so incredibly simple to make and is a show stopper that will impress at any event.
Like a lot of the recipes I publish, this one has a lot of personal memories around it as this pav came into my life when I was a teenager. The recipe is based on one by Nigella Lawson and became something my Dad would make for every special occasion.
He had the recipe memorised, and despite not having made it for several years, still remembers the exact quantities of ingredients needed. We ate this chocolate pav quite frequently over the space of a few years and I never got sick of it and I don’t think he ever got sick of making it.
This chocolate pav has become synonymous with special occasions for me, and I can think of nothing better than sharing it with family and friends around the Christmas table.
What is a pavlova
There is a pretty big argument around whether pavlova is a dessert originally from Australia or New Zealand. I’m not really fussed on where it came from first, but what I do know is that for those of us lucky enough to grow up down under, we have eaten our fair share of pavs.
A pavlova is a big meringue disk that’s light and crispy on the outside and soft, chewy and marshmallowy on the inside. It’s then topped with piles of pillowly whipped cream and fresh fruit.
They are a summer staple for special occasions, and represent family get-togethers and eating too much.
This version swaps light and summery passionfruit and mango with tangy raspberries and rich and moody dark chocolate. It turns this classic summertime dessert into something special enough for a night-time dinner party.
How to make chocolate pavlova
To make this pavlova, you have to start with the meringue base. I recommend doing this the day before you plan to serve it so you can let the meringue cool overnight.
Start by separating the eggs, making sure there is no yolk at all contaminating the whites as this will prevent the whites from whipping up. This step is best done with fresh eggs straight from the fridge.
To make the meringue I like to use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment fitted, but the same results can be achieved with an electric handheld mixer as well.
Place the egg whites in the large bowl of the stand mixer, making sure it and the whisk attachment are clean and dry. Any additional moisture will again impact that end result.
Start slowly beating the egg whites until they get white and start to form soft peaks. Be careful in this step not to over whip the eggs so that they split. If this happens, you’ll need to start again.
Add the caster sugar, 1 spoonful at a time to the egg whites as you continue to whip them until all sugar has been added and the egg white mixture is really shiny. Once the sugar has been added to the egg whites you cannot over whip them, so keep beating until stiff peaks form. If you’ve seen cooking shows you’ll know this is when you can turn the bowl upside down over your head and the egg whites don’t move!
Sift the cocoa powder into the bowl with the egg whites along with the chopped chocolate and fold through carefully with a spatula. Once the chocolate has been combined, turn the meringue mixture out onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper and shape into a round, flat disk approx 20-25cm in diameter.
Place the meringue into a hot oven and immediately turn down the temperature and bake for about an hour or until the outside is crisp and firm but the inside remains soft. Once cooked, turn off the oven and leave the oven door slightly ajar and let the meringue cool completely.
Once cool, you can close the oven door and keep your meringue in there until you’re ready to serve – I usually leave it here overnight. The meringue needs a cool, dry place to remain light and crisp, so the oven is perfect. Do not store the meringue in the fridge otherwise you’ll end up with a weeping meringue which is where droplets of moisture will leak out and ruin the texture.
As the meringue cools, it will sink in the centre which is perfect as it means its soft and gooey underneath.
Serve the chocolate meringue with whipped coconut cream, more chopped chocolate and fresh raspberries and eat immediately.
The pavlova won’t keep as the cream will soak into the meringue ruining its light and crispy texture, so it’s best eaten immediately.
If you’re not dairy-free you can use regular whipped cream instead of coconut, however I love the flavour of the coconut combined with the chocolate and raspberries – they are so perfect all together in each bite. For exactly how I make the whipped coconut cream, see the instructions in the recipe card below.
Brighten up your holiday dinners this year with this simple chocolate pavlova and watch people dig back in for seconds. Don’t be surprised if you end up being asked to share the recipe with them – bonus points if you’ve got it memorised!
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
For the chocolate meringue base:
- 6 egg whites
- 300 grams caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 50 grams dark chocolate chopped
For the coconut whipped cream:
- 2 400ml cans coconut milk chilled in the fridge overnight
- ½ cup icing sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 500 grams fresh raspberries
- 50 grams dark chocolate chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment fitted, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. You want the meringue not to move aka hold the bowl over your head without it falling out.
- Sprinkle over the cocoa powder and the chopped chocolate and gently fold through with a spatula until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in.
- Pile the meringue onto a baking sheet and shape into a fat circle approximately 20cm in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C and cook for about an hour. When it's ready it should be crisp and dry around the edges and top, but the centre should still be soft. Turn the oven off and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue cool completely.
- When you're ready to serve, make the coconut whipped cream. Using a spoon, scoop out the thick coconut cream at the top of the can that has separated from the water below. Discard water (or use later in a smoothie). Place coconut cream in a large bowl and begin whipping using an electric mixer. Slowly add in sifted icing sugar, ensuring it is fully combined before adding in more. Add in vanilla, and continue whipping cream until it thickens and peaks begin to form.
- Pile the whipped coconut cream on top of the meringue and top with roughly chopped dark chocolate and fresh raspberries. Serve immediately.
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