Chocolate pavlovas with ice cream

It's that time of year again when I'm preoccupied with thoughts of ice cream, and different ways of eating and presenting it.  Ice cream and frozen treats are one of the best things about summer!
Remember how I've been boasting about being more productive and timely lately in cooking/baking recipes that catch my eye thanks to a little organization and menu-planning that I started doing this year?  Well, for all that, there are plenty of old recipes ripped out from magazines or bookmarked from websites that still await.  You could say these chocolate pavlovas were five years in the making.  The recipe that inspired this comes from an old Jan. 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living that I kept.  I don't know if I used to be more sentimental or if past content was better than it is now but I have a handful of old magazines I can't seem to part with...and that's unlike me since I love throwing things out!
The gorgeous chocolate pavlova in the Jan. 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living that inspired my far-less-gorgeous mini ones for ice cream
Once in a blue moon, I take out one of those old magazines and remember why I kept them.  With ice cream on my mind, I decided to make a few small pavlovas inspired by the one in the magazine and use them as a base for some ice cream instead of the chocolate and whipped cream featured in the original.

I didn't want/need a giant pavlova so I divided the recipe in half and "stretched" it into three 4-inch chocolate pavlovas, just what I needed for an afternoon summer treat for the three of us.  I was thinking of them as little serving plates or saucers for the ice cream.
I stretched a bit too much (or maybe I should say "too thin")...I tend to forget that lofty mounds of meringue spread and thin out after baking.  So my pavlovas were flatter than I envisioned.  I probably baked them a bit longer than I should have, too.  The very centers were still nice and chewy - with chocolate flavor that's distinctive yet light - but the edges were drier and harder than I was aiming for.  This is what I get for messing with recipes sometimes, but no regrets.  

A few minutes into eating this, we were breaking the pavlovas up with our hands and making a mess of it.  It was a tasty mess though so no one complained.  If you're a fan of contrasting textures like I am, you might enjoy your ice cream this way too.   
On the general subject of pavlovas and meringuesFrancois Payard makes a roule cake with these meringue curls on top that are soft as pillows!  My pavlova and meringue-making (and even eating) experience is very limited but I'd sure love to know how to make those...they literally melt in your mouth.  Every time I see, make, or eat any kind of meringue, I talk about those and I just may be holding all others against that standard.

If you make homemade custard-base ice cream and have egg whites leftover, this is ideal!  I hardly need ways to use up extra egg whites; I like bulking up my morning egg sandwiches with an extra white, and I absolutely love using them to make financiers, or French tea cakes made with ground almonds and brown butter.  So I actually had to plan ahead and save a couple of egg whites for this project, another reason I went with these smaller versions.  
I used 2 egg whites.  The recipe uses the swiss meringue method - you start by first whisking the whites and sugar over a pot of simmering water before transferring it to a stand mixer to continue to stiff peaks.  This is intended to help build volume and stabilize the whites.    

I always think of a little vinegar in pavlovas to help create that chewiness within but this recipe for chocolate pavlova uses dark brown sugar and a little cocoa powder for that affect.  
Spread the meringue onto parchment paper where you've drawn circles with pencil on the underside to guide you.  Make a bit of an indentation in the center and try to resist over-working it so you don't deflate the whites too much.  I have a suspicion I over-work my meringues more than I realize.

For thicker pavlovas, I would make 2 instead of 3 rounds.  I really stretched to make three 4-inch rounds here.  The mounds look pleasantly abundant going into the oven but once I took them out, I was reminded by how much they spread after baking!
Bake the pavlovas in a 300 degree oven until they are dry to the touch, roughly 40-45 minutes.  As you can see, once they're done, I had a saucer or plate-like disc for my ice cream.  They spread to about 4 1/2 inches after baking.  Next time around, I think a thicker pavlova would give a better contrast in texture between crisp edges and chewy center.  As I mentioned, mine were rather hard around the edges though the center was chewy (and I definitely like chewy).   
The fun part comes with adding the ice cream and serving it up!  I topped one with homemade vanilla bean ice cream (and some fudge sauce), and the others with store-bought coffee chocolate-chip and neapolitan ice creams.  We just dug in and made a mess of ourselves! 
Here's to summer and lots and lots of ice cream treats, in all the ways you like to enjoy it!


Recipe:

Chocolate Pavlovas with Ice Cream
Adapted from Martha Stewart (recipe appeared in Jan. 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living)

- For three, relatively thin, 4 1/2-inch round pavlovas (for thicker pavlovas than the ones I made in this post, make two instead of three) - 

2 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tablespoons packed dark-brown sugar
6 tablespoons superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
Ice cream of your choice

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  On a piece of parchment paper, draw three 4-inch rounds, spacing them about two inches apart.  Line baking sheet with the parchment paper, pencil marking side down.

Place egg white, sugars, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugars dissolve and mixture has thickened and feels warm, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, attach the bowl to the mixer, and whisk on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla.

Sift cocoa powder over the meringue and gently fold until just incorporated.  Take a large spoon and place dollops onto the parchment paper on top of the drawn circles.  Gently spread the meringue using the drawn circles as a guide.  Lightly flatten the center to create a well in the middle.  Avoid over-working the meringue or spreading the meringue too thin.

Bake meringue until dry to the touch, about 40-45 minutes.  They will spread a bit during baking. Let cool on baking sheet set over a wire rack.  Once cooled, remove from parchment paper.  They can be stored, covered, for 1 day.  Otherwise, place pavlova on plates and top with scoops of your preferred ice cream.  










28 comments:

  1. Frozen treats galore is definitely the best part about summer!! Especilly when they look this nice!
    I've never made or even eaten a pavlova, but they sound super delish! And yours came out beautifully anyway! Flatter or not, I'm sure they're super delish!
    Happy Friday Monica!

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    1. I really got that "plate" or "sauce" I was thinking of when I started this! haha. Thanks and you stay cool, Consuelo.

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  2. These are so pretty, Monica! And they sound soooo good!

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    1. Thanks, Marie. Ice cream is good with anything or nothing so no brainer. :)

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  3. These pavlovas are so gorgeous. I love how you topped them with ice cream!

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    1. Ice cream is the perfect way to make anything 'gorgeous'. ; )

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  4. I have never ever made a pavlova before. They look wonderful and I love the big scoop of ice cream. I have tons of recipes I have ripped out from magazines and it sometimes takes me 5 years or more to make them.

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has grand plans to try a ton of recipes and sometimes never get to it! : )

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  5. I love those gorgeous chocolate pavlova with ice cream, Monica. A perfect summer treat.

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    1. I love summer for all the ice cream and frozen treat indulgences...

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  6. Oh my! This looks amazingly delicious! I am allll about the frozen treats right now and with the chocolate pavlovas???

    I need to be better about trying recipes that I mark in magazines, etc. I have some that have been sitting for years as well!

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    1. So happy to know I'm not alone, Ashley. Here's to lots of frozen treats in the next couple of months...gotta get it in before we have no "excuse" to consume copious amounts of ice cream. ; )

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  7. This is really a showstopper Monica, perfect for entertaining!

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    1. It's fun to take something simple and put a little spin on it.

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  8. I actually have some egg whites in the fridge right now that need to be used up...and plans to make ice cream today! I see chocolate pavlova nests in my near future.

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    1. That would be awesome. Enjoy your homemade ice cream...I wonder which flavor you decided on...

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  9. Less gorgeous?! Forget about Martha, yours looks fantastic, Monica! Great job.

    ela h.
    Gray Apron

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  10. I've only had pavlovas a few times at restaurants. This chocolate pavlova looks delicious with the ice cream!

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    1. Thanks, Nami. Hope you're having a great weekend!

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  11. Simply lovely and elegant dessert!!!
    i had it only twice in restaurant and i guess i;m gonna making it later on...

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  12. These pavlovas are gorgeous! I have never made them before and yours looks so delicious with the scoop of ice cream and drizzled fudge sauce!
    I still have recipes from really old magazines that I have been meaning to make and you are inspiring me to get on it :) Hope you had a wonderful weekend, Monica!

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    1. haha - I have so many recipes that I ripped from magazines or have "saved" to try...I doubt I'll ever get to most of them but sometimes it's fun to pull one out and try. :) Hope you had a good weekend...ours was very productive.

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  13. These look great, Monica! The crunch of pavlova with ice cream sounds perfect. Do you think you could use two thin pavlovas and make an ice cream sandwich or would it be too messy? It sounds really good to me. I stopped getting magazines because the backlog of saved recipes was making me look like a hoarder! Now I pin recipes online, instead. But being old school, I often print them out. Then I am back to where I started with piles of recipes!

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    1. I find that with thin pavlovas they tend to dry out and be too crisp and you just can't take a smooth bite out of it in a sandwich form. You know what really works well? Ice cream sandwiches made with macaron shells! I've done that and it's good. : )
      I do pin recipes as well these days but can't resist the print stuff either!

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  14. Very impressive that you finally made a recipe you'd been saving so long. I have yet to attempt meringue or pavolovas, but I really need to get on that. Making them chocolate is such a yummy idea :)

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    1. I may not have done a very good job (see what happens when I break rules!) but I'm glad I put the old, old recipe to use finally. : )

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