chocolate-pavlova Recipes

chocolate pavlova

Look, no one is ever going to marry me for my pavlova. (I mean, talking about dodging a bullet…) This one was particularly underachieving. First, I thought I’d be clever and try to add the cocoa at the start, mixed with the sugar, so that it would mix the best. Nope! It never fully whipped. With this in the trash, I began my next one, breaking an egg yolk right into the white. I can usually get it all out (tip! use the empty shell as a scooper/skimmer) but not this time. I started a new bowl and, yup, did it again. Finally, with six uncompromised egg whites and cocoa stirred in only at the very end, ensuring a respectably thick, shiny plume of meringue, I began piling my chocolate plumes on a 9-inch round parchment circle, only to realize this wasn’t very bright, as the meringue would spread. I cut a new, larger square of parchment and used the old one as a sling/tube-of-a-pastry bag to land the new one in a great, elegant swirl and then fell over laughing (and texting everyone I know with the picture because: all grownup here!) because it looked precisely like everyone’s favorite emoji. Smoothed into more of a mound, I baked it at the wrong temperature and it got too crispy and riddled with cracks. Anyone left reading from New Zealand just is doing this right now. (Don’t worry, I retested it — woe is me — to confirm that the correct temperature and times are indeed correct.)


setting up

But I have one thing going for us, and that’s that this pavlova is the most chocolaty I’ve ever had. The apartment air was steeped with eau de brownies, the very best perfume. Even a day later, this cake of a meringue is decadent but not heavy, basically dessert magic. Do not be deceived, as I have been in the past, by the pale beige shade of the outer shell — inside, it’s like a truffle with the impact of and the texture of a pillow.

sugar-cocoa blend: did not work
add sugar slowly
three tries later, a shiny meringue
folding in cocoa
so good at this food styling thing
messy = good

One of the reasons I think pavlovas can be a hard sell outside, say, the Pavlova Motherlands of Australia and New Zealand, is that I hear from most people that they find them to be too sweet. But I was able to reduce the sugar a bit from the norm here and didn’t miss it; adding salt also helps as does chocolate, not just because things with chocolate > things without chocolate but because the bitterness of cocoa and chopped chocolate here really kept the sugar in check, as does a plume of barely sweetened whipped cream and a cascade of berries. Let’s not even pretend that we don’t want to swan dive in.

chocolate pavlova with berries
chocolate pavlova with berries

Previously

One year ago: Caponata
Two years ago: Chocolate and Toasted Hazelnut Milk and Herbed Tomato and Roasted Garlic Tart
Three years ago: Baked Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
Four years ago: Fig Olive Oil and Sea Salt Challah
Five years ago: Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Mint and Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Six years ago: Grape Foccacia with Rosemary
Seven years ago: Chocolate Pudding Pie and Roasted Tomatoes and Cipollini
Eight years ago: Braised Romano Beans
Nine years ago: Tortilla de Patatas

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
1.5 Years Ago: Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie
2.5 Years Ago: Broccoli Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole
3.5 Years Ago: Coconut Bread
4.5 Years Ago: Potato Knish, Two Ways

Chocolate Pavlova with Berries

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 1 3/4 to 2 hours
  • Print

This was adapted from Nigella Lawson — I use a little more chocolate , added salt and use less sugar but it’s otherwise as delightful as we’d expect from her. It makes a big, pillowy and very chocolaty pavlova. I’ve shown it here with 1-cup-of-heavy-cream level of whipped cream because I was almost out but would have preferred it with a thicker layer and have suggested more below.

    Meringue
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 (300 grams) cups granulated sugar
  • A couple pinches of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (20 to 25 grams) cocoa powder, the best you have, sifted
  • 2 ounces (55 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • To finish
  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 4 cups mixed fresh berries
  • 1 ounce (30 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, to finish

Prepare your pan: Heat your oven to 350 °F. Line your largest baking sheet — it needs to hold at least a 12-inch round because these can spread; I used a pizza pan — with a sheet of parchment paper. Draw a 9-inch circle on it with a pencil and flip the paper over so that you can see the line but it won’t get into the pavlova.

Make the meringue: Beat the egg whites with a mixer until satiny peaks form and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle the sea salt, cocoa, vinegar and then the chopped chocolate over the egg whites and gently fold everything with a rubber spatula. I intentionally left mine a little swirly/undermixed.

Shape the pavlova: You can secure the parchment to the baking sheet with a dab of meringue underneath it. Mound the meringue into the 9-inch circle, smoothing the sides and top if you desire.

Bake the meringue: Place in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 300 degrees. The pavlova will bake for 60 to 90 minutes, but most likely in the middle. When it’s ready it should look crisp on top and feel dry, but when you prod the center you should feel, in the delightful words of Nigella, “the promise of squidginess” beneath your fingers. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely inside. You can leave it overnight. It can also be kept at room temperature until needed.

To serve: When you’re ready to serve, invert the cooled pavlova onto a big plate and peel off the parchment. Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Pile it onto the meringue. Scatter with berries and shave chocolate over with a vegetable peeler. Serve in wedges and keep leftovers in fridge.


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135 comments on chocolate pavlova

  1. SallyT

    Your pavlova from years ago is one of my all-time favorite desserts – we make it for easter (and Passover!)

    Two quick questions – one, no vanilla? two, does it make what kind of cocoa? Thanks!

    (also, the formatting is off for the whipped cream ingredients…)

    1. deb

      No vanilla necessary in the pavlova, in my opinion, you can always add it if you don’t like chocolate without it. Cocoa powder type doesn’t matter chemistry-wise, so use your darkest best stuff. Will add Passover tag — thanks. Formatting now fixed, thanks.

  2. Anna

    Even a day layer, this cake of a meringue decadent but not heavy, basically dessert magic. <<< This sentence from the second paragraph is a bit confusing. I think it should be "Even a day *later*, this cake of a meringue *is* decadent but not heavy, basically dessert magic."

    This sounds very tasty though, and pavlovas have been a topic of conversation in my household recently. And you've countered my skepticism that it would be too sweet with chocolate, so…

  3. Sandy Radeke

    Yolk in the whites is why I first separate the yolk & white over a small cup, put the yolk in a separate container, and then if all is well and I didn’t break the yolk into the white, put the white into the bowl with all the whites. It saves me more times than not.

    Also, do you have some good recipes to use up all the yolks? After I make something that uses lots of egg whites, I never know what to do with the yolks.

    1. Gabbie

      Zabaglione!
      Most efficient way I know to complement recipes using egg whites only. Also, you don’t have to flavor with wine; the idea is a great base– yolks & sugar with flavoring double-boiled while whisking. (Lemon juice makes a lemon-curd-like sauce. Over berries? Yum! Could probably even go *on* the pavlova, but mine never lasts that long.)

  4. Sandy Kay

    Not related to this recipe but I noticed the recipe from 3.5 years ago — if you like coconut, that Coconut Bread is really really good. Just seeing the link made me want to bake it again.

  5. Caroline

    I made Nigella’s recipe a few years ago and I’m not sure what happened, but I don’t think it turned out right! I had never had a pavlova at the time, but I saw the episode of her show where she made this and it seemed easy enough so I gave it a shot. The result was a chewy deflated mess (yummy flavor but looked horrible) and I’ve never attempted again mainly because I live in south Louisiana and the humidity is what I conjectured to be the issue. Do you think it could have been something else? Would love some feedback because I dream about making it again!

    1. Penny

      It would have been the humidity. I live in a humid part of Australia and no way would I attempt a pavlova in summer without an air conditioned kitchen.
      The moisture just makes for a chewy sticky mess.

  6. Leslie

    Today is my husband’s birthday and I noticed this post just an hour or so too late to make it for him (your chocolate stout cake is cooling on the counter). He’s from (not New Zealand) and understands Pavlovas, and whipped creams that is barely (or not even) sweetened. A chocolate Pavlova with berries would be a winner, I’m sure. To be made soon!

  7. Virginia

    My husband is Australian and his birthday is at the end of July. I baked him a Pav, but it was a nightmare. The heat and humidity of this summer (in DC!) made it practically impossible to have that dry-on-the-outside-squidgy-inside. But your promise of chocolate flavor and richness is making me consider doing it again next year…

  8. staceydebra

    Deb, thought you might like to know that when I was in Russia last month I ordered a pavlova (which ended up being the most delicious dessert of my life) and they topped it with mascarpone instead of whipped cream. Divine. Thought you might enjoy the variation!

  9. Jessica HZ

    You have no idea how much I needed this right now, I need to surprise my daughter with a birthday cake and this will do it. Thank you!
    BTW: I ordered pavlova in a restaurant recently and my dinner companion was from Australia. When I mentioned that the Kiwis claim pavlova as their invention, he said, “Rubbish!!” And then the “pavlova” that we ordered was just a hard cooked meringue with fruit on top. No creamy center, no cream on top. Very disappointing.

  10. STEPH

    tip for separating the yolk from the white if you accidentally drop the yolk in the bowl: use an empty soda bottle! just squeeze the bottle over the yolk, and when you release, the spout sucks the yolk right up! plus, it’s fun!

  11. Courtney

    Deb, have you found a good pavlova recipe that incorporates nutella? Do you think it can be subbed in for finely chopped chocolate, with perhaps a slightly longer baking time?

  12. I have looked at making a chocolate pavlova before but been put off by the exact pale colour you talk about, thinking it wouldn’t be chocolate-y enough. However, now that you have allayed by fears all I can think about is how dream like that chocolate cloud centre could be – this is now top of the dessert list.

  13. I’ve been reduced to tears after one too many pavlova fails, and I commend you for your persistence. My usual way of dealing with the sweetness of pavlovas is to pair it with super bitter things (coffee and grapefruit have both been used, though not together). I think I like your idea better.

  14. I also learned the lesson the hard way about adding cocoa powder too early while I was attempting to perfect a recipe for Triple Chocolate Meringue Cookies. It’s the fat in the cocoa powder the deflates the egg whites. In addition to the cocoa powder, for an extra chocolaty dimension, I like to add chocolate chips to the meringue.

  15. deb

    Hey Deb– I have loved some of the chocolate-pear treats you have shared here. Berry season is just about over where I am. Do you think some pear diced small (not too ripe)could stand in? Or not tart enough? Thoughts? Persimmon? Thanks! Love a good meringue. Hate that blasted emoji though.

  16. Yum! It worked! I had a big giggle at the snapchat story of the first test – so great. I am from NZ and strongly believe that the reason pavs are topped with cream and fruit, aside from them being delicious, is that 99% of them collapse. If you ever manage to get your hands on some passionfruit (slash if you know a good place to get them in NYC pleeease tell me because I miss them and can’t bring myself to buy them from whole foods) it is AMAZING on top of a non chocolate pavlova. My goodness. I would also be curious to see how this turned out not in the middle of a humid summer – Mum swears by never making pavlova when its raining!

    1. ALB

      I make whipped cream with granulated sugar only and it is always perfectly mixed in. I just add it at the very beginning. If I add it later when it is already thickening, that’s when I get the granulation/crunchiness. My husband loves freshly made whipped cream, so I make it quite often.

  17. I adore making chocolate meringues, usually I make individual ones, this was without doubt my go to easy dessert this summer. Meringues are sweet and I do always lower the sugar levels. I also combat this by never adding sugar to the cream, I find it really doesn’t need it. plain whipped cream and a big bowl of fresh strawberries to go with the meringues, it was a favourite with the children and adults alike and it is so so easy and always manages to impress! When I make individual ones, after I have spooned them all onto the baking tray I sprinkle some cocoa powder over the top, so that there is some extra colour definition after they have cooked.

  18. As an Aussie this sounds like a must — now can I just modify my tried and trusted recipe for plain pav or follow yours to a tee? Also whipped cream covers all sorts of ills (and I’ve never inverted a pavlova because I leave a hollow for MOAR cream :)

  19. Longhorn Blonde

    Mom of toddler here (2 at Thanksgiving). How do you keep the little one away from your oven while it’s cooling? How long does it need to cool with the oven ajar? We have an oven lock because the open floor plan means we can’t gate off the kitchen. He’s fascinated with the oven though and I’m not sure if he will nap long enough to let it cool.

    Looks delicious!

    1. I haven’t tried it, but one of the other commenters said that what they do is put the pavlova in at full heat, close the door, and then immediately turn the oven OFF. Don’t open it again until it’s cold. You could try that.

    2. Brianna

      I am Australian and love making pavlova. You dont need to leave the door ajar. The door can be closed, the pavlova just needs to stay in the oven and cool down as the oven temperature drops. Otherwise it contracts and you end up with lots of cracks. Also make sure you whip very well between the additions of sugar, if the sugar doesnt mix in well, you can end up with a sugar syrup leaking out after the pavlova cools. Have fun making baking!

    3. Saeriu

      As a mom of 3 I’ve made mine before bed time and when it comes time to open the oven they’re sleeping. I don’t have to babysit the oven once the door is open so it’s fine for me to go to bed too. And the pavlova, I’ve found, will hold until potluck at lunch the next day or even for a dessert for the family after supper.

  20. Lindsey Back

    A plain pavlova (ie no chocolate) with a dash of rose water in the meringue and finished with strawberries is really nice. My mother used to make a chocolate and coffee pavlova which cuts the sweetness no end. You can also roll pavlova’s up in to a log if cooked in a swiss roll tin. I guess you’ve guessed…..I live in Brisbane, Australia!!!

  21. jan

    While I will never make a chocolate Pavlova, I enjoyed reading about your trials and tribulations. I try to keep such things in mind when I have the inevitable failures in the kitchen from time to time. It’s heart breaking to have to throw good ingredients away- but I try to remember that I won’t ever cook anything new if I don’t try things that don’t come with a guarantee. Thank you for telling this story

  22. Christina

    I know this is an odd question but would duck eggs work with this? We just got ducks this spring and are expecting our first eggs. I’ve heard they are great for baking but wondered if anyone has used them in a pav or meringue before. If so, this will certainly be a great way to use them up!

    1. We used to have ducks (the filth eventually became too much for us to bear, haha!) and the eggs were awesome for baking! The whites seem extra firm (vs chicken eggs) and are easier to fluff up in recipes like this so I bet this would be an amazing recipe to try with duck eggs. :)

  23. Gill

    Looks delicious!! Any high altitude tips for a New Zealander making it in Colorado? Mine always go flat with the altitude but I keep on trying! Thanks! Gill

    1. Kathleen

      I”m a kiwi living at 9000′ in CO and have had some spectacular pav failures – swimming in a sea of liquid sugar when serving, opening the oven door to a 1 cm high burnt sugar disk, etc. While I feel I’m still very much experimenting, I have found that adding the sugar in small intervals can be helpful, as can avoiding rainy or humid days and mounding the meringue as high as possible before baking. I also troll NZ and AUS websites for advice and when all else fails, rely on my good friend whipped cream to save the day. My neighbours all think I’m brilliant so there’s that. Good luck!

  24. neurula

    ^^ New Zealander here, and I had to laugh out loud at the gif you posted, and yeah – you pretty much nailed the sentiment. Deb, I love you through and through, sing your praises to strangers, served two of your cakes to my work mates this week, but I’m sorry to say that chocolate has no place in a pavlova. Period. ;)
    This does look quite delicious, but I think I would call it a meringue cake instead of a pav. We Kiwi’s tone down the heavy sugar content in a pavlova by always serving with mountains of unsweetened whipped cream, and tart fruit – summer berries and kiwifruit are the mainstays.

  25. Libby

    I separate eggs by cracking them into a bowl and pulling the yolks out by hand. Easier than you think. And if you crack them on a flat surface instead of the edge of your bowl you’re less likely to have a broken yolk from the get-go.

  26. Julie

    Wow, I have never made a pavlova like this before – I am tempted to try the chocolate flavour, but the faffing around with the temperature sounds hard. My tried and true method is always put it in at the top temperature, then IMMEDIATELY turn off the oven. Do not open the oven until completely cold. As a New Zealander I agree with the other person that said home made ones always look a wee bit cracked and often collapsed in places. Just put more cream on top! Mmm

  27. Janae

    This was really good, thanks! Pretty sure I baked it too long but it was still wonderful. I’ve never made a pavlova before but I saw this today and decided to go for it; it was joyously received by my guests.

    1. Janae

      Also, I will add that when I was whipping the eggs and sugar the mixture never got stiff. Had a runny texture, and I thought it was ruined. I guess I was just expecting a firmer texture in the bowl and kept whipping until I finally gave up. Luckily when I put it on the baking pan it was fine and I was able to shape it. Hopefully this helps someone else who encounters this.

  28. Tos

    This is also great with vanilla poached pears, if you want to make this for christmas and don’t want to use berries flewn in from the tropics

  29. JLG

    I’m reading from New Zealand and am definitely empathetic with your issues with pavlovas. I’m not that crazy about them myself but am growing to like them more; perhaps a chocolate version is what I need!

  30. Veronica

    Love this account of a pavlova that went overseas and came back with a new image! At home in Australia this is our family’s celebration cake, so I bake about a dozen a year. My grandmother was a champion pavlova maker – her tips included: Bake it on aluminium foil, shiny side up. When you’re forming the meringue mound, it helps to have marked out a circle with a plate on the top of the foil. The shiny surface helps crisp the outside of the pavlova. The recipe doubles and triples well, so when making a bigger version you can also make a foil ‘collar’ that helps keep the mound of meringue upright. Do not be tempted to open that oven after baking — slowest possible cooling is the pathway to fewer cracks. Inverting the pavolva after baking (a controversial issue in the pavlova rivalry between Australia and New Zealand) actually helps cut the sweetness. Works best on a double-quantity batch – after flipping it with a helper, peel off the foil, let it cool a little and then make a shallow cut parallel with the edge, all the way round, about an inch and a half in. Do a shallow cross-hatch inside this circle and carefully scoop out the soft meringue centre with a spoon (careful not to break the crisp bottom). Yes, you are now going to throw this away/feed it to anxiously waiting children. This gives you a lovely hollow for lots of whipped unsweetened cream and fruit – so what you have is a kind of meringue pie-shell effect with just the right amount of soft/hard meringue. My grandmother’s favourite fillings (in a plain pavolva shell) were: home made lemon curd — using the left-over meringue yolks, and folded through whipped cream; strawberries and kirch folded through whipped cream; and crumbled chocolate mints folded through whipped cream. Berries soaked in Cointreau are also good. If your pavolva shell has cracked, you can stabilize the whole thing after you invert by filling with whipped cream and throwing the whole thing in the freezer for an hour or two. Pull it out 30 mins before serving and add the fruit decoration — much easier to slice when it is ‘semi-freddo’ -particularly if it is a double or triple size. Leftover slices also freeze well for a few days — in theory – and if you are trying to hide any leftovers from people like my family, who believe that pavlova also makes the perfect breakfast.

    1. Bazza

      Kiwi living in Aus here (currently abroad); I have never heard of anyone doing this. I have eaten a fair bit of pav in Aus too, nobody I’ve enjoyed it with has even brought this up as something that anyone else does. Maybe it’s a state/regional variation?

      I am *slightly* mortified by the food/energy waste aspect of this approach – could you maybe find another use for it if there are no kids about? Or just make do with meringue?

  31. The Pavlova-ian response-not as researched, but just as real. I salivate every time I see one.
    Bada BING dessert humor. But really, it looks delicious. Thank you Deb, for experimenting with/sacrificing so many eggs in order to deliver us this perfect recipe.

  32. Marion Bloch

    Please tell me what to do with the egg yolks. I rarely make meringues because I don’t know what to do with them and I hate to just throw them out. (Give them to the dog? Use them to shine up my hair?)

    1. Homemade pudding, ice cream, pastry cream. I use yolks more frequently and freeze the whites for when the wife wants angel food cake. Now in going to try this recipe! (You can freeze yolks, too. Just add a pinch of salt or sugar.)

    1. Tomato

      Vinegar, or any other acid like cream of tartar, denatures the egg white proteins and makes them relaxed and easier to to whip up into a fluffy and stabler meringue.

  33. YUM!! I’m Irish and my Mom has made her – now infamous pavlova – for birthdays, engagements, anniversary’s, christenings, graduations, everything really, for almost all of my life! If there’s something going on at my parents house, someone in the family will have requested it be made! But I will be giving your recipe a go for sure as I’ve never tried a chocolate pavlova and it looks fantastic. Can’t wait!

    Rxx

  34. JP

    I have made Nigella’s plain pavlova, individual size. For some reason, although they looked perfect, there was nothing inside. They were just shells and when moved off the cookie sheet, sort of came apart in two pieces, top, and bottom. I served them with lemon curd, whipped cream and buttered, toasted almond slices and they tasted great, but not what I had exactly hoped for. Any idea of what caused this to happen?

  35. grace coop

    I always make it the night before, bake it and then turn oven off and leave in the oven overnight to dry it out completely as instructed by the bible according to Delia Smith

  36. grace coop

    If you add a teaspoon of cornflour (American equiv. cornstarch) for each egg white it will give a lovely chewy centre even if you follow Delia’s instructions and leave it in the oven all night.

  37. Sue from Pleasanton

    Another Navy wife, returned to California after accompanying her US Navy Exchange Officer husband to Australia, introduced me to the Pavlova in the early 1980s. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I suspect that had I made one at home, all that would have greeted my Darling Husband at the end of the day would have been a guilty smile on my face. Had I been in possession of your Chocolate Pavlova recipe, the eau de brownie steeped air definitely would have compounded my crime. Your barely sweetened whipped cream reminds me of the chocolate whipped cream cakes I used to make, though I vaguely remember having added just a teaspoon of sugar to a pint of whipping cream to fill and frost the plain-jane-from-a-box chocolate cake layers. Leaving the whipped cream on the Chocolate Pavlova overnight no doubt would result in a similar alchemy of intermingled flavors between whipped cream and chocolate base. Using mascarpone would undoubtedly result in a similarly divine synergy of flavors. What can I say—this recipe is another winner! I am unworthy. I am unworthy. Bless you!

  38. Julia

    HI Deb, I’ve made pavs for a while now since I am dating an Aussie. My only question about this one is that you say to invert the meringue at the end. Don’t you want the indent in the meringue to be right side up so you can put the cream in that indentation? Curious about your method. This recipe looks amazing! Thanks

  39. Hi I’m from NZ and did smile to myself as I read this recipe… may I give a few pointers?

    * separate the eggs into a cup one at a time so that if you have an burst yolk you will only sacrifice one egg and not the whole lot.

    * don’t decrease the sugar, pavlova is just egg white holding together sugar and air, if you change the proportions your pavlova may fail in spectacular fashion.

    * If you have followed the recipe a pavlova will not spread in the oven – you didn’t need the larger parchment :-)

    * In NZ pavlova is served with unsweetened whipped cream and fruit – this balances the sweetness of the meringue

    Thanks for sharing this recipe – I will definitely be stirring some cocoa into my next pavlova

    Arohanui (lots of love) from New Zealand

  40. I made this today and it was DEVINE, all the things you promised and more! I do have one question — mine puffed up huge and the outer shell stayed that way. So I had a big dome of dry merengue and the “squidginess” was at least two inches below that. It was mostly fine — I flipped it over and most of the sides broke off but I just sort of stuffed them back in. Still totally delicious, but I did end up not baking it long enough because of that. Just wondering if that’s a sign of over whipping? Or under whipping? Or who cares as long as it tastes so damn good and just bake it a little longer next time? Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. prosaicism

      I had the same issue. I also wasn’t quite able to get to stiff peaks with the egg whites – I think it might have to do with the fact that the acid (in the vinegar) is added at the end, instead of during the whipping as it normally is with meringues. It’s still cooling in the oven now but I’m just not sure about this recipe… The top meringue part does taste amazing though. It would be great as cookies.

    2. Brianna

      Did you whip for a minute between the addition of 1 tbsp of sugar? The sugar needs to be added slowly and very well mixed before the next spoon of sugar is added. Also make sure the oven temp is correct, if the temp is too high, the shell will set before the middle starts to become marshmellow-y

    3. Kristin

      Same issue here! Mine tasted great but had a lot of airspace between the thin outside crispy edge and the inside bits. I chalked it up to high humidity, but who knows.

  41. Jenna

    I made this today for friends coming over for dinner. It turned out wonderfully, but yours looks like it ended up a little thicker than mine. Perhaps I baked too long, but it was still a winner. Super easy and my 4 year old got to help a ton.

  42. Cheryl

    I’m still giggling over ‘swan dive’. Clever!

    I make Nigella’s version all the time as it’s delicious … but I reckon a little salt might be just the added extra to take it to another level.

    Thanks Deb

  43. You would never know from that gorgeous first photo that you struggled making this. I am an Aussie and it shames me to say that my pavs often cause me grief. Something always goes wrong. And I don’t even like them! They are traditional at Xmas so I make them and everyone – bar me – digs in.

  44. Angela

    Speaking from New Zealand and one of our expert’s 6 egg recipes. (Annabel Langbein)………. The temperature is a bit high. 300 F converts to almost 150 C. AL recommends 130 C for an hour and to use a 16 cm container as this ensures a high pav so you get a marshmallow like centre. I have seen recipes which say 100 C. I like the idea of the chocolate for a change.

  45. This was SO GOOD! Mine was much taller/fatter than your photos looked and the inflated top crumbled a lot over the rest of it as it cooled. I worried I would end up with a very crisp outside and raw inside, but I think the cooling in the oven made all the difference. When I inverted it, it settled down over the gooey (but cooked) interior and was perfect (if still a bit thicker than yours)!

    The level of sweetness (using 60% bittersweet chocolate) was perfect for me — sweet and obviously dessert, but definitely nothing I would call “too sweet,” though I don’t think I’ve had pavlova before, so not sure how it compares to the usual.

  46. This is amazing. It took several tries to get the right squidginess – the first time I over beat the eggs, the next I cooked it for too long – and didn’t turn down the temp (important!)(the “error” is fabulous meringue, just not pavlova.) The third time was a charm – a very small group of people devoured it in one sitting! Yum.

  47. JenS

    My MIL is Australian so pavlova is a favourite dessert of hers and our family. I have never made a chocolate one or seen vinegar in the ingredients. I will have to give this a try. I’m sure it will be a hit!

  48. Kylie

    This was a delightful treat. Whipped it up in no time, exactly per directions, baked 70 minutes (next time I’ll stick with 60 in my convection oven), served just like the pictures. My guests were in heaven.

  49. Jill Baldauf

    This recipe came just in time as I had 12 egg whites left over from making your incredible Buttermilk ice cream! But, for some reason the ice cream didn’t freeze properly in the ice cream maker, so I just slung is in the freezer. It has ice crystals but is still yummy! Can’t wait to try the Pavlova!

  50. Alice

    I had a home economics teach MANY years ago (I doubt they even teach that anymore) and, although she was nice enough, her experience was limited. But, I did learn and retain two things from her. One: make sure you have your recipe in hand. Sounds simple enough, huh? But, our teams of three or four cooks were given the run of the kitchen on certain days to cook certain dishes. One of my friends was in a group assigned to prepare banana pudding and they didn’t bother to bring a recipe because there was ALWAYS one on the vanilla wafer box. Well, not ALWAYS as it turns out and not on the brand of wafers the teacher brought. Needless to say, they didn’t get a good grade. The other thing I learned was when using and separating many eggs for a recipe, you break and separate each egg is a custard cup before adding to the larger bowl. So, if you break the yolk on egg number four, the first three in the bigger bowl are still pristine.

  51. lauren

    This has been one of the greatest posts in recent memory! Great looking dessert, distinct resemblance to the “emoji”, and the somersault queen’s little leggies. Delectable, hilarious, and cute-as-a-button. This is why we love you.

  52. Whoot! This New Zealand reader is very impressed (and extra points of attributing it to the right country ie not Australia).
    My no-fail pav tip? Heat the oven up to 350 degrees F. Pop the pav in, and turn it straight off. Forget for a few hours until you need it. It works amazingly if you’re going out (although it pays to remember the pav before turning the oven on again!)

  53. Emmy

    I saw this in the morning and made it tonight! The only thing I had to buy was a great chocolate bar. I followed the recipe closely and my only problem was waiting for it to cool completely before digging in! Berries are a perfect addition to all the sweetness.

  54. Anne

    Happy news for lazy people who don’t like chopping or grating chocolate – I melted my 2 ounces in the microwave and folded it in at the very end.
    Mine did spread out quite a bit while baking and was a little fragile but I suspect that may also be because I cut the sugar down to 1 cup (I also forgot the vinegar, oops, but I had thrown in a little cream of tartar at the beginning because I always do that when I whip egg whites.) It was a hit, shatteringly crispy on the outside but still chewy-fudgy in the middle!! And I agree, the more whipped cream, the better – I spread 2 cups on top but thought it could have used even more to cut the sweetness!

    long time lurker, first time commenter!

  55. Kara

    I’m not much of a baker, but I’ve made this recipe (via Nigella Lawson) several times with strawberries or red raspberries, and it’ll will wow people every time. The kids think it’s a super-rich brownie with cream with their favorite fruit, and grownups think it’s rustic chic. I have sincere love and affection for it, and so glad you’re spreading the word about it!

  56. Jessica HZ

    I made this on Sunday afternoon, finished with the whipped cream, berries and shaved chocolate on Monday afternoon and served it for my daughter’s birthday that night. She was very happy. It was absolutely delicious. The technique was easy I baked mine about 80 minutes, but could probably have done a few more minutes. I did not want to overbake. The center was so good. The chocolate flavor was perfect. Thank you for posting this recipe!!!!

  57. JustaTech

    I made this a few nights ago and it was fantastic! I halved it because I was just making it for 2 (and I conveniently had 3 egg whites in the freezer).
    I did forget to turn down the temperature (duh!) so the tops got a little over-brown and it’s more on the dry side, but that means that it’s keeping well in the fridge!
    I also love that the chocolate totally covers the egg-white flavor that can be kind of strong in some white meringues.

  58. Saeriu

    This looks great. I’ve made a chocolate pavlova several times–it seems to be a dessert that is highly impressive to people who’ve never made one. The recipe I’ve used in the past was from Gail Gand. I like to make this dessert around Valentine’s day because I can cut the strawberries into heart shapes.

  59. I made this last night for my husband’s birthday, which was really great for both of us. He got to eat it, and I finally got to try my hand at making a pavlova (oh, and eat it too). Your photo looks like mine before I inverted it onto a plate, so much prettier, but once it was covered in whipped cream and berries, it was gorgeous. We invited a friend over whose wife is out of town and the three of us dug right in with forks. No need for separate servings. My husband insisted on taking some with him to work today, and our friend demanded this be made for his own birthday, so… I’d say it was a winner.

  60. Cat

    I don’t understand this portion of the instructions: “The pavlova will bake for 60 to 90 minutes, but most likely in the middle.” So the pavlova will bake the most in the middle? That seems unexpected and I’m confused. Feels like something is missing from this sentence… What exactly is that sentence trying to say?

    Thanks! I normally don’t like meringues, but this looks delicious and I cannot wait until I have enough time to try it…

    1. deb

      It’s hard to get an precise narrower range of baking times for pavlovas because they can be thicker or thinner (the ones that flatten out more will bake faster, mounded higher, slower) and are sensitive to vagaries of oven temperature and even weather. I.e. although the range is big for a recipe, yours is still most likely to be done at the halfway point — 75 minutes.

      1. Cat

        Oooh, I understand now. Most likely a baking time in between 60 and 90 minutes. That sentence feels odd to me written originally. I get it now with the extra description here, but… Yeah.

        Anyways! Thanks for clarifying. I would not have figured that out on my own.

  61. AndMcK

    I followed the directions but my pavlova spread out to almost the size of the pizza pan I baked it in! How high should the egg whites should have been piled up? I turned the heat down as recommended. Any tips? I baked a pavlova years ago but don’t recall it spreading out quite so much :(

    1. ALB

      When I made this, mine spread out quite a bit as well. I was hoping another of the comments would address this. The only reason I could think of was the eggs. When I make Pavlovas I generally follow Ina Garten’s recipe…she suggests allowing the eggs come to room temp. Those instructions were not here, and Didnt fully allow my eggs to come to room temp (I forgot to take them it and was in a rush).

  62. Sarah

    I have been making Chocolate Pavlova for years, the recipe is pretty much identical to yours, but I top it with whipped cream, defrosted frozen raspberries and a generous drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce. It is delicious and I often make it for guests. The tartness of the raspberries offsets the sweetness just a little and it perfect! Just a suggestion in case anyone wants to try a different topping :)

  63. CJ

    I made this yesterday! It was so so good, amazing texture and loads of whipped cream. I reduced the sugar to only 1 cup. My only regret is making on such a hot humid day–having the oven on for 90 minutes was terrible (but worth it!).

  64. Kathleen Clayton

    Thank you, Deb (& Nigella & New Zealanders and/or Aussies!!) I made your Chocolate Pavlova for my mom’s 77th birthday this past weekend. I used one extra egg white because my eggs looked a little on the small side. Lo & behold, I had so much “batter” that I was able to make two whole pavlova cakes that were full-sized & very fluffy, I might add! So I “sandwiched” the whip cream & berries in-between the two rounds & it was gorgeous!! The chocolate pavlova was a HUGE hit with all of my family & has already been requested for upcoming birthdays & holidays. I can’t wait to make it again :D

  65. BK

    I made this all the time! But fold in a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar. It balances all of the sweet/richness out but doesn’t have an overpowering taste or anything.

  66. Leslie

    There are only two of us, and the recipe seemed to yield a lot of Pavlova for us, especially since it doesn’t keep well once the whipped cream is on. So I made half the recipe, creating 5 mini-Pavlovas. I baked them for 30 minutes — I liked the decreased baking time, by the way. They turned out great. We ate two with whipped cream & berries, and have put the remaining three (without whipped cream or berries) in an airtight container to have as dessert tomorrow.

  67. firemedicandy

    In our family we have a recipe that is somewhat similar but bizarre. It is a relative of the “mock apple pie” recipe on the side of old Ritz cracker boxes. It’s basically a meringue (on the sweet side) that you fold in broken up Ritz crackers. Bake it in a glass pie dish and top with whipped cream. It is actually quite delicious.

  68. I made this last night and underbaked it a little more than was recommended; ate it hot from the oven with ice cream and it was like a gooey gluten free chocolate lava cake. It was fantastic. Thank you for this recipe; I have several gluten-intolerant friends I can’t wait to make this for.