What comes to mind when you think Valentine’s Day? I dream of strawberries and chocolate. Strawberries – check, Chocolate – check, Heavenly good - check!
Here is my recipe for double-tiered Chocolate Meringue with Strawberries and tangy Greek yogurt-based whipped cream topping! Meringue must have been one of my favorite and easiest desserts to make. It is frailly beautiful in its presentation and otherworldly delicious. Mastering meringue is a very easy task as long as you follow few essential rules. The egg whites should be at room temperature and the whipping utensils as well as the mixing bowl squeaky-clean and spotless. The hallmark of a classic meringue is stiff peaks and that should be the goal of your efforts when making it. Cornstarch and vinegar will stabilize the whites and granulated sugar will add sweetness and a nice shin. For this Valentine’s Day, I simply folded in some melted dark chocolate with currants and almonds into the beaten whites; it came out still heavenly light but with that sexy chocolaty deep flavor and panache! Make the meringue tiers 3 to 5 days in advance and keep them in the airtight container until ready to assemble. Beat Greek yogurt and whipped cream together and smear it on top of each tier, artfully distribute thinly sliced strawberries and voila this dessert is ready to beautify your holiday table!
Ingredients: egg whites, caster (superfine) sugar, cornstarch, white-wine vinegar, pure vanilla extract, dark chocolate, salt, heavy cream, Greek yogurt, confectioners’ (icing sugar) sugar, fresh strawberries, chocolate shavings, coco powder.
To see step-by-step on how to make basic meringue, click here. Then proceed with assembling Chocolate Meringue.
To make the topping, whip together the cream, yogurt and remaining confectioners’ sugar until thick but not stiff.
Swirl the cream mixture over the top of the meringue tier, then top with sliced strawberries.
If desired, sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top of strawberries and place the second tier.
Swirl the rest of the whipped cream on top of the second tier.
Repeat layering sliced strawberries in an artful way.
Make more chocolate shaving on top. I used the same dark chocolate, I folded melted into this meringue, with dried currants and almonds from Chocolove for some extra crunch. But any dark chocolate you like will work.
Sprinkle a generous amount of coco powder and serve immediately!
Chocolate Meringue with Strawberries
recipe detailsServes 6-8
To make Meringue
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces dark chocolate with currants and almonds, melted and cooled
- Pinch of salt
For Whipped Cream
- 2 cup heavy cream, whipped
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 4 tablespoons confectioners’ (icing sugar) sugar
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Chocolate shavings
- Coco powder
- Preheat oven to 300 F. Using an 8 and 7-inch round cake pans (or bowls) as a guide, trace two perimeter of the bowl onto a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer parchment paper, pencil side down, to a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Three bowl method: Using an egg separator, separate one egg white into a small bowl, drop the yolk into a different bowl and transfer the egg white into a large bowl. Repeat with the rest of the eggs, it will help to prevent egg yolk from getting into whites. If you don’t have egg separator, proceed with the old school, use the same three bowl method by cracking eggs one at a time and carefully pouring the yolk from one shell to another until the whites are in the bowl, repeat the process for the rest of your batch.
KITCHEN TIP: It’s easier to break cold eggs, once whites are separated, let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, cover and refrigerate egg yolks for another use. If you are in a rush, put the bowl with egg whites over a large bowl with warm water for 10 minutes.
KITCHEN TIP: Egg separator is an inexpensive kitchen tool, which helps to minimize the spread of any bacteria from the shell. I purchased mine at Sur La Table.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt starting with the low speed and gradually increasing to medium high until the beaters leave stiff glossy peaks when you pull them away from the bowl. Take care not to over whisk the whites at this stage.
- Continue whisking while adding superfine (caster) sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating well between each additional spoon. Once all the sugar is added, whisk for further 6 minutes or until the mixture is stiff and glossy. The meringue will start turning from fluffy to thick, and will have a pearly sheen.
KITCHEN TIP: In the absence of caster sugar, use food processor or spice mill to grind regular granulated sugar to a desired consistency.
- Sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula in a figure-eight motion, keeping the light touch not to break the air bubbles. Pour the melted chocolate down the side of the bowl in three batches and very gently fold it in.
- Mound the meringue in the center of two circles. Using a spatula, evenly spread meringue out towards the edges. Transfer baking sheet to oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the meringue is crisp on the outside. Leave in the closed oven to cool completely. Small cracks will appear.
- To make the topping, whip together the cream, yogurt and remaining confectioners’ sugar until thick but not stiff.
- Swirl the cream mixture over the top of the meringue tier, then top with sliced strawberries. If desert, make some chocolate shavings and top with the second meringue tier. Repeat with the remaining cream and strawberries. Make more chocolate shavings and finish sprinkling with coco powder on top. Serve immediately!
- Make sure that your mixing bowl and whisk are spotlessly clean and free of grease. Never use a plastic bowl, as grease can hide in scratches in the surface, even if the bowl looks clean.
- It is important that the eggs are fresh and brought to room temperature, as this will help the egg whites to become more voluminous when beaten. Carefully separate the egg whites from yolks while still cold, try not to contaminate the clean whites while breaking the eggs. Once separated, cover the egg whites and let them come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).
- When the mixture is thick and glossy the sugar should be completely dissolved. To test, simply rub a little of the mixture between your fingers, if it feels gritty continue to whisk.
- Pavlova will last for up to 5 days when stored at room temperature.