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PJ's and Pavlova

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Growing up my favorite part of each birthday was making a special cake for the day with my mom. I remember each year I would pick out the same cherry chip box cake. I've carried on the same birthday tradition with my girls and it's also one of their favorite parts of the special day! 

When visiting my SIL over the summer in the midwest she showed us the decadent treat called Pavlova. I couldn't believe I've never heard of it or tried it before. Bentley was obsessed with the sweet and savory dish and wanted Pavlova to be this years birthday treat! Below I have copied the recipe we've used from foodnetwork.com. It seems like such a fancy dessert but its actually very easy when you follow the simple steps. My added tips would be to

1. Don't skimp on the dark chocolate, spend the extra dollar to get the good stuff!

2. No need to buy superfine sugar, simply get the normal sugar you've got in the cupboard and put it in your food processor for a few minutes. The consistency is between a powdered sugar and normal sugar, basically superfine sugar.

3. Make sure you add a sprinkle of powdered sugar to your whipped cream when whisking it, I even add a dash of vanilla!

Ingredients

For the Meringue Base:
For the Toppings:

Directions

Prepare the pan: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Draw a 9-inch-diameter circle on the paper with a pencil, tracing a round cake tin that size.

Flip the paper over so your meringue doesn't touch the pencil marks - you'll still be able to see the circle.

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.

Add the chocolate: Sprinkle the cocoa, vinegar and then the chopped chocolate over the egg whites. Gently fold everything with a rubber spatula until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in.

Shape the meringue: Secure the parchment to the baking sheet with a dab of meringue under each corner. Mound the meringue onto the parchment within the circle, smoothing the sides and the top with a spatula.

Bake the meringue: Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 300 degrees F and cook for one to one and a quarter hours. When it's ready, it should look crisp and dry on top, but when you prod the center you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers.

Let it cool: Turn off the oven and open the door slightly; let the chocolate meringue disk cool completely in the oven. When you'reready to serve, invert onto a big flatbottomed plate and peel off the parchment. (*watch out for little fingers in your home, I like to do this part during nap-time so I don't worry about fingers being burned!)

Decorate the Pavlova: Whisk the cream till thick but still soft (*add a sprinkle of powdered sugar so its a tad sweet but not as sweet as you would for normal whipped cream-theres already plenty of sweetness in this dish it just needs a dash!) and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter the raspberries on top. Coarsely grate the chocolate haphazardly over the top so that you get curls of chocolate rather than rubble, as you don't want the raspberries' luscious color and form to be obscured. (*don't worry if the meringue starts to fall, this is normal! You want the Pavlova to look like a frosted cake. (*add sprinkles if you'd like, we did!)

Recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson for Food Network Magazine